COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 161
November 6, 1998

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Superintendent's Study Group Superintendent's Study Group


  The Superintendent's Study Group meets regularly.  It is
  composed of the chairmen of the eight regional study
  groups, plus the VASS officers.  We will distribute the
  minutes of each meeting by means of a Superintendent's
  Memorandum.

  The minutes of the meeting of October 9, 1998, are
  attached.  If you have questions regarding this
  information, please contact Richard Layman at (804) 225-2024.

  Thank you.


  PDS/pg

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



---------------------------------------------------------

         Meeting of the Superintendent's Study Group

                  Friday, October 9, 1998


     Superintendent of Public Instruction Paul D.
  Stapleton opened the meeting by pointing out that a
  decision had been made to limit attendance at the

  Superintendent's Study Group to the executive director of
  VASS and the Regional Study Group chairmen.  It will be a
  superintendents' study group, he said, "where we can talk
  about public school children."  He noted that a large
  group of superintendents and individuals representing
  educational organizations will probably meet three times
  a year to discuss issues related to public education.

     The state superintendent said "We have a lot of
  really tough issues to deal with right now," and he asked
  the members of the Study Group not to hesitate to call
  him if they have problems. He said he is trying to get as
  many staff people as possible to attend the regional
  study group meetings and he emphasized the importance of 
  the cooperation of local superintendents in efforts to
  improve public education. 

     Mr. Stapleton introduced the president of the state
  Board of Education, Kirk Schroder, who said he is making
  a point of visiting around the state, and obtaining
  comments and suggestions that will help him and the Board
  of Education.  He asked the council members to give their
  recommendations on vocational seals on students'
  diplomas.

     In commenting on the new school Report Card, Mr.
  Schroder said that a special letter will be sent with the
  Report Card to explain its contents to parents.  He said
  he would probably appear before House and Senate
  committees to explain the Report Card, and he noted that
  the Board of Education has given him the authority to
  approve the final product.

     Andy Stamp, assistant executive director of VASS,
  asked about any preliminary work that might be done with
  the news media before the Report Card is released.  Mr.
  Schroder indicated that the SOL Advisory Committee will
  be informed of the final version of the Report Card
  before it comes out.  He said there would be no
  surprises.  The committee's feedback and reaction will be
  sought in advance.

     Dr. Mark Edwards expressed his pleasure at the
  approach being used by the Board and the committee, and
  he expressed hope that the teamwork approach will be
  maintained.

     Dr. Deanna Gordon asked how superintendents can
  respond to questions from the media and individuals who
  might feel that the scores are not set high enough.   Mr.
  Schroder responded by stating that  he did not think
  there would be much consensus for bringing the scores
  below 50 percent.  He said he would develop a formula and
  a message for dealing with public concerns about the
  scores.  He stated that he has visited the editorial page
  editors of newspapers through the state and discussed the
  test scores and other issues of importance with them.

     Following further discussion of the test scores, Dr. 
  Edwards said, "You and Paul have been the best support we
  have had and there is the sense that you are listening to
  us."

     Mr. Schroder said that in his opinion the world of
  education and public opinion are two separate but
  parallel worlds.  Setting a score that educators
  understand is not enough, he added; such a decision has
  to have public support and public understanding to be
  successful.

     Following discussion of other topics of concern, the
  meeting was adjourned.