COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 6
February 6, 1998

ADMINISTRATIVE

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne Demary, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
SUBJECT: Survey: Educational Interpreters for Students Using Sign Language

 
  In 1997, the Department created a data base of persons
  providing educational interpreting services in local school
  divisions and state operated programs.  Local school
  divisions and state operated programs were surveyed to
  provide information regarding qualifications and employment
  dates of all persons providing educational interpreting
  services.  This survey yielded the following information, as
  of April 1997 about 250 persons provide educational
  interpreting services in 52 school divisions:

      49 persons (19%)   fully qualified, holding a VQAS
                           Level III or national certification
     126 persons (51%)   held either a VQAS Level I or II
      25 persons (10%)   passed the Written Assessment
                           component of the VQAS, a
                           prerequisite to obtaining a VQAS
                           Level
      49 persons (20%)   had not passed or participated in
                           the VQAS.

  The Department is gathering the second year of data for this
  data base.  The attached survey is to provide information
  about the number of persons employed in 1997-98 who provide
  educational interpreting services.  In order to ensure the                                   
  person's qualifications are current, qualification status
  should be verified through documentation from the Virginia
  Department from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) or one
  of the organizations offering national certification
  (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf [RID] or the Training
  Evaluation and Certification Unit [TECUnit] for Cued
  Speech).  Certification from another state and from the
  National Association of the Deaf are not recognized in
  Virginia.  Interpreters with such credentials should submit
  those credentials to VDDHH for analysis.

  It should be noted that the Regulations Governing Special
  Education Programs for Special Education Program for
  Children with Disabilities in Virginia (Regulations) specify
  the qualification requirements for persons providing
  educational interpreting services at 3.3(C).

  Persons must hold a VQAS Level III, or any Registry of
  Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Certificate (excluding
  Certificate of Deaf Interpretation) or a national cued
  speech certification.

  The requirements apply to any person who provides
  educational interpreting services, not only to those persons
  whose job title is "educational interpreter."  As such,
  other school personnel may need to meet this qualification
  standard if they provide educational interpreting services. 
  Such persons may be employed as teachers or teacher
  aides/assistants.

  Persons who do not hold this qualification standard may be
  employed, according to the following criteria:

     Hold a VQAS Level I upon hiring date in any local
     school division or state operated program; and,

     Achieve a VQAS LEVEL III (or national certification) by
     the third anniversary date of hiring in any local
     school division or state operated program.

  The Special Education Program Standards include requirements
  for obtaining a waiver of qualification standards at
  3.1(B).                                                    

     A non-renewable waiver may be provided for individuals
     who have not achieved a VQAS Level I, for one year
     after the individual's hiring date.

     A non-renewable one-year waiver may be provided for
     individuals who have not attained a VQAS Level III by
     the third anniversary of their hiring date.  (This also
     applies to persons hired prior to the implementation of
     the new Regulations, January 1994.  These persons must
     have achieved a Level III by September 1997.  They may
     be eligible for a non-renewable one-year waiver until
     September 1998.)

  A high number of persons employed in local school divisions
  need to complete a VQAS Performance Assessment prior to
  September 1997.  As a result, the Department encourages
  local school divisions to ensure that interpreters register
  for the assessment promptly.  In this manner, VDDHH can
  identify the number of assessments it needs to offer. 
  Registration forms may be obtained by contacting:

     VDDHH                              804-662-9502 V/TTY
     Ratcliffe Building, Suite 203      804-662-9718 Fax
     1602 Rolling Hills Drive           1-800-552-7917 V/TTY 
     Richmond, VA 23229-5012

  The Department of Education is continuing to work with VDDHH
  to address the high number of persons who will need to be
  assessed in the coming months.

  Please return the completed survey by February 20 to Ms.
  Ossie Lawrence, Office of Special Education and Student
  Services.  Questions about the survey, qualification
  standards and waivers may be directed to Dr. Lissa Power-deFur
  at (804) 225-2818 or via E-mail at lpower-d@pen.k12.va.us.  
  Thank you for your assistance.


  JLD:lpdf

  Attachment:  A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
               will be sent to the superintendent's office