COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 61
April 4, 1997

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
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.