SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 61
April 4, 1997
|FROM:||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Superintendent's Advisory Council|
The Superintendent's Advisory Council meets regularly. It is composed of the chairmen of the eight regional study groups, plus the VASS officers and executive director, the superintendent of the Department of Correctional Education, the executive director of the VSBA, and a representative of the Virginia Council for Private Education. We will distribute the minutes of each meeting by means of a Superintendent's Memorandum. The minutes of the meeting of March 21, 1997, are attached. If you have questions regarding this information, please contact Ken Magill at (804) 225-2073. Thank you. RTL/jd Attachment: A hard copy of this memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office Meeting of the State Superintendent's Advisory Council Friday, March 21, 1997 Present: Superintendents' Group--James L. Ruffa, S. Dawn Goldstine, Jane Massey-Wilson, David M. Gangel, Raymond C. Dingledine, N. Wayne Tripp, Oliver A. McBride, James G. Blevins, James M. Anderson, Deanna W. Gordon, Wallace M. Saval (for C. P. Penn), Alfred R. Butler, executive director, VASS, Robin Hegner, staff attorney, VSBA, and George J. McVey, president, Virginia Council of Private Education. Department of Education--Richard T. La Pointe, M. Kenneth Magill, Ida J. Hill, Diane Atkinson, Cameron Harris, James Williams, Charles Finley, Thomas Elliott, Jo Lynne DeMary, and Harry L. Smith. Dr. La Pointe opened the meeting by announcing the appointment of Dan Timberlake as the Department of Education's new assistant superintendent for Finance. The appointment is effective April 1. For the past ten years, Mr. Timberlake has been employed in the Department of Planning and Budget and is currently serving as senior budget analyst for elementary and secondary education, a position he has held for the past six years. Following is a report on topics discussed during the meeting: Revision of Standards of Accreditation Dr. La Pointe informed the council that proposed changes in accreditation standards for public schools have been presented to the Board of Education and seven hearings have been scheduled to receive comments on the recommendations. (On March 27, the Board of Education added public hearings on April 16 in Fairfax County and on April 30 in Abingdon to the seven already scheduled.) Dr. Butler commented on the accreditation proposals, saying that the proposed high school graduation requirements are supported by superintendents, but that some changes in classroom schedules will be necessary if the proposals are adopted. Dr. Butler also stated that the proposed standards would have a financial impact on some school divisions. One member of the council asked Dr. La Pointe to be sure that the Board of Education is aware of the financial impact problem and that it is committed to a program that will not "put public schools and school children in jeopardy." Another member said some superintendents are concerned about what they perceive as a "hurry-up effort" to adopt new standards. Several superintendents pointed out that they must inform students about what they will be expected to achieve to graduate from high school and that they don't have sufficient information to give them at this time. Assessment Update Mrs. Harris reported that the Standard 9 test materials are being delivered to school divisions, and she said the program is moving along satisfactorily. This norm-referenced achievement test will provide information showing how Virginia students compare with students in the nation. The test will be administered in the spring of 1997 and scores will be reported to the public. Mrs. Harris emphasized the importance of security in handling the testing program, and she noted that all test books must be returned to the Department of Education. She also explained that the Literacy Passport testing program has been "a good learning experience" to prepare state testing personnel for the new program. The new state assessment program to assess students' achievement of the Standards of Learning in grades 3, 5, 8, and in high school will be field tested this spring. Workshops are being conducted by Department of Education testing personnel to assist school divisions. General Assembly Follow-Up Mrs. Atkinson reported that 225 bills and resolutions were tracked by the Department of Education during the recent session of the Virginia General Assembly. Fifty-five pieces of legislation were "still alive" at the end of the session. The council was told that the final report on legislation passed is being prepared and will be mailed as quickly as possible. Superintendents also will receive copies of legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. Special Education Litigation Update Mrs. Atkinson informed the council that the state had won its case in the Fourth Circuit Court involving services for special education students who are suspended or expelled from school. She stated that more detailed information about the case will be sent to division superintendents as soon as the court order can be reviewed. In the meantime, she added, the Department of Education has been advised to continue on a "business as usual" basis in providing services to children with disabilities who are suspended or expelled from school. In the event that the federal government appeals the court's decision, she said, services to these students would have to be continued. Dr. DeMary reported that a videotape is being made to assist school divisions with causal hearings for children with disabilities. She also noted that Congress has two bills before it to allow cessation of services in special circumstances. Standards of Learning Implementation Dr. DeMary recalled that SOL implementation surveys of school divisions indicated the need for additional resources for instruction. As a result, she said, three one-day regional Instructional Resources Trade Shows are being sponsored by the Department of Education, the Virginia Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Virginia Education Association. The Trade Shows, which will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., will be held on May 20 at New River Community College; on May 22 at Spotsylvania Vocational Center; and on May 27 at Virginia State University. A Superintendent's Memorandum announcing details of the Trade Shows is being sent to all division superintendents. Technology Initiatives Dr. Hill reported that the Department of Education is preparing an application for Goals 2000 funds which will be submitted to federal officials by June 30. Virginia's allocation for Goals 2000 money is estimated to be $6.2 million which Governor Allen has designated to be used for purchasing computers and related technology. Dr. Hill pointed out that federal eligibility requirements for Goals 2000 funds are based on competition and consideration of students from low-income families. Updated technology plans must be received from school divisions by July 1, 1997, in order for grants to be distributed within thirty days of approval. Dr. Hill also informed the council that the Department of Education has notified federal officials of the state's intent to submit an application for first-year funding available through Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The deadline for Literacy Challenge funding is March 31. Virginia is eligible to receive $2.7 million for this program. Grants to school divisions must be based on students in poverty conditions and must be competitive. Licensure Regulations Update Dr. Elliott reported on proposals by the Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure to revise licensure regulations for school personnel. He pointed out that the public comment period is scheduled from July 1 to October 31 of this year, and a series of public hearings will be held in late September by the Board of Education. Dr. Elliott urged the superintendents to share their comments about the proposals with the Department of Education and he distributed a form to be used for that purpose. He also called attention to six proposals addressed in a minority report by ABTEL members. Dr. Anderson urged members of the council to support the ABTEL recommendations and let the Board of Education know why they support the proposals, which, he said, are aligned with the Standards of Learning and national curriculum guidelines.