SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 78
November 20, 1998
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Request for data in response to HJR 242 and the Appropriations Act of the 1998 General Assembly|
The 1998 General Assembly directed the Department of Education (Appropriation Act) and the Board of Education (HJR 242) to work with the Commission on Youth to conduct a study regarding services for suspended and expelled students. This study will investigate and report on the availability of state and local programs that provide educational services to expelled and suspended students who cannot be served in public school settings due to their dangerous and/or disruptive behaviors. Additionally, this investigation will identify the number of students serviced, the criteria for placement, and program locations. Also included in the study will be a survey of school districts and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts regarding needs for expansion of programs or services. The findings of the study will result in the development of guidelines for alternative educational settings for middle and high school students. The guidelines will include "the recommended number of alternative settings per 1,000 middle and high school students and average incremental costs thereof." The findings are to be reported to the chairpersons of the Education and Health and Finance Committees of the Virginia Senate, and the Education and Appropriation Committees of the House of Delegates by June 30, 1999. In order to create an accurate picture of the number of students who may require or benefit from placement in alternative education as a result of suspension, expulsion, or other disciplinary action by a school division, the Department of Education and the Commission on Youth have developed the attached survey instrument. This instrument will gather data regarding each student who is long-term suspended or expelled, or placed in an alternative setting in lieu of long-term suspension or expulsion, during the entire 1998-99 school year. The data is to be recorded at the time of the incident for which long-term suspension or expulsion is recommended, increasing the validity of the data. Student demographic information, information about the nature of the incident leading to the suspension or expulsion, and information about the educational placement during suspension or expulsion (e.g., regional and local alternative education, adult education, night school, home-based, CSA-funded services) will assist in describing the type of alternative education programs needed to provide educational services to these students. To minimize the data-collecting requirements imposed on local school divisions, Virginia Department of Education staff members have incorporated the data collection requirements of four other state or federal reporting systems for the 1998-99 school year: Virginia's Crime and Violence data collection (as required by 22.1-280.1), the new data required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 regarding suspension and expulsion of students with disabilities, the data required by the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and the Gun Free Schools Act. Enclosed are: a) instructions for data gathering, including codes to be used in submitting the data; b) a form for paper recording of each incident (to be duplicated for each incident if paper reporting is used); and, c) a diskette with the spreadsheet for this data collection instrument in both Excel and Lotus formats. Cumulative data are to be submitted at the end of each semester. The data will be analyzed by the Commission on Youth. Please send compiled paper reports or a completed spreadsheet to Mr. Paul Raskopf, Special Education Data Manager, at the Department of Education. First semester submissions are due in January 1999, and second semester submissions are due by June 30, 1999. Questions regarding the spread sheet can be directed to Ms. Kim Echelberger, Legislative Analyst, at (804) 371-2481 or The Commission on Youth, General Assembly Building, Suite 517B, Richmond, VA 23219. Questions regarding the data to be gathered may be directed to Mr. Raskopf or Ms. Marsha O. Hubbard, School Safety Specialist in the Office of Special Education and Student Services. Ms. Hubbard can be reached at (804) 225-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Raskopf can be reached at (804) 225-2080 or email@example.com. PDS:oml Enclosures: A hard copy of this memo and its attach- ment will be sent to the superintendent's office.