COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 180
December 4, 1998

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: 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 November 13, 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 attach-
               ments will be sent to the superintendent's
                 office.


           Meeting of the State Superintendent's
               Public Education Study Group
                 Friday, November 13, 1998


  Present:     Superintendents' Group: Mark A. Edwards, Howard
                 E. Wainwright, Russell L. Watson, Dennis W.
                 Kellison, Wayne K. White, Martin J. Laughlin,
                 Oliver A. McBride, Philip L. Worrell, Steven R.
                 Staples, Alfred R. Butler

               Department of Education: Paul D. Stapleton,
                 Kirk T. Schroder, Mark Christie, Richard W.
                 Layman, M. Kenneth Magill, Cam Harris,
                 Charles W. Finley, Dan Timberlake, Diane
                 Atkinson, Cynthia Cave, Harry L.  Smith.


     State Superintendent Paul Stapleton opened the
  meeting at 10:00 a.m. by calling attention to the recent
  action by the Board of Education setting the passing
  scores on Standards of Learning tests.  The
  superintendent said that he had invited Kirk T. Schroder,
  president of the Board of Education, and Mark C.
  Christie, a member of the board, to meet with the study
  group members and provide background information about
  the decisions affecting the SOL passing scores.

     Mr. Schroder briefed the superintendents on the
  board's decisions on the SOL scores when it met on
  October 30 and said it was a very difficult experience. 
  He concluded his remarks by stating that he felt that the
  board "honored its agreement to stay within the ranges
  (recommended by the Standard Setting Committees) and that
  we did the right thing."

     He stated that he is aware that educators and the
  public are looking at the requirement that 70 percent of
  students in grades 5 and 8 and in high school must pass
  each of the four core disciplines--English, mathematics,
  science, and history and social science for a school to
  be accredited.  He added that he was confident the SOL
  tests and standards are in accordance with nationally
  accepted programs.

     For the next several hours, the superintendents
  discussed the SOL cut scores, the impact of the board's
  action on accreditation of public schools, issues related
  to accountability for the performance of public schools,
  the School Report Card to be distributed to parents, time
  in school schedules for vocational education, and other
  topics.

     Mr. Schroder assured the superintendents that the
  Board of Education is going to do all it can do to help
  students improve in their educational programs and to
  deal with public relations issues related to the passing
  scores for students and  school accreditation.  He
  promised that the Board of Education is going to address
  problems that arise as it proceeds to carry out its
  responsibilities.

     Mr. Christie stated that the board wants to work
  with superintendents to make the best decisions possible
  regarding accreditation and other matters of concern.

     Mr. Stapleton reported that the final revisions in
  the School Report Card are scheduled to be made on
  November 30.  He praised Mr. Schroder for the leadership
  he provided for the Board of Education in establishing
  the passing scores for the SOL.

     Ms. Harris reported that a superintendent's memo
  will be distributed to provide information on the second
  phase of the spring 1998 SOL test scores.  She also said,
  in response to a question, that the School Report Card
  will be sent to superintendents for distribution in
  January; the state will pay up to 32 cents for the cost
  of mailing the report card to parents.

     Mr. Layman encouraged the superintendents to
  continue their contacts with the state superintendent and
  the president of the Board of Education about any
  concerns that they may have.  He also announced that a
  survey will be sent to school divisions to obtain
  superintendents' priorities for school construction and
  other needs.

     In the absence of other business, the meeting was
  adjourned.