COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 31
June 1, 1998

ADMINISTRATIVE

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Division Graduation Requirement Survey

 
  22.1-253.13:4 of the Standards of Quality contains a
  provision that permits local school boards to prescribe
  additional credit requirements for graduation as approved by
  the Board of Education.  Under the revised Regulations
  Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in
  Virginia (SOA), the Board approved all additional
  requirements for the diploma prescribed by local school
  boards that were in effect as of June 30, 1997 to be
  continued through June 30, 1999. 

  The revised SOA increased the credit requirements for the
  Standard Diploma and Advanced Studies Diploma as follows:

  Requirements for Standard Diploma

  Discipline Area Units of Credit
  English                            4
  Mathematics                        3
  Laboratory Science                 3
  History and Social Sciences        3
  Health and Physical Education      2
  Fine Arts or Practical Arts        1
  Electives                          6
  Total                             22         


  Requirements for Advanced Studies Diploma

  Discipline Area Units of Credit

  English                            4
  Mathematics                        4
  Laboratory Science                 4
  History and Social Sciences        4
  Foreign Language                   3
  Health and Physical Education      2
  Fine Arts or Practical Arts        1
  Electives                          2
  Total                             24

  Many school divisions have adopted local requirements for
  graduation that exceed even the revised requirements
  prescribed by the Board for the Standard and Advanced
  Studies Diplomas.  The Board is currently reviewing issues
  concerning the granting of additional requirements in the
  context of adopting a guidance document for the approval of
  additional local requirements.  This may address the
  "grandfathered requirements" and the potential for them to
  sunset after June 30, 1999.

  At the Board retreat on April 23, 1998, the Superintendent
  recommended that the Board survey all school divisions to
  determine how many currently have local requirements for
  graduation that exceed those prescribed in the SOA.  The
  data from the enclosed survey will be used to provide the
  information necessary to assist the Board in making an
  informed decision, including the potential impact of their
  decision.

  At the retreat, the Board also approved disseminating the
  Guidance Document Concerning Additional Course Credits,
  Allocation of Electives, Vocational Seals on Diplomas, and
  New Types of Diplomas Requested by Local School Divisions
  for the purpose of soliciting public comment.  The Board is
  accepting written comments on this document through June 8th
  and will hold a public hearing on June 4th.  The document
  was disseminated via SUPTS.  MEMO. NO. 69, Informational,
  dated May 8th.  For additional copies of this document,
  please contact Dr. James Laws, Administrative Assistant for
  Board Relations, at (804) 225-2540.

  If your school board has adopted local requirements for
  graduation that exceed the requirements prescribed by the
  Board for the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas as set
  forth in the SOA, and those requirements are covered by the
  grandfather provision, please complete the enclosed survey
  by June 10, 1998.  We intend to provide an analysis of the
  information we gather at the June 25th Board meeting.  If
  you have questions regarding the survey, please contact
  Carole Inge in the Division of Policy and Public Affairs at
  (804) 225-2543.  The due date for the survey is June 10,
  1998.   Please fax the information by this date to 804-371-2099.

  PDS:pfm

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