COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 3
December 18, 1998

INTERPRETIVE

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Clarification of Diploma Issues
There appears to be some confusion about diplomas available to
students in Virginia public schools.  The Regulations
Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in
Virginia in 8 VAC 20-131-50, prescribes the requirements for
the standard and advanced studies diplomas that schools must
offer.

Local school boards may request approval of additional
requirements for the standard and advanced studies diplomas in
accordance with the Standards of Quality (SOQ) and the
Guidance Document Re Requests for Additional Graduation Credit
Requirements and Requests to Allocate Electives from Local
School Boards adopted by the Board of Education on June 25,
1998.  Copies of both of the aforementioned documents have
been disseminated to you earlier this year.  Additional copies
are available upon request. 

In addition to the standard and advanced studies diplomas, the
SOQ, in 22.1-253.13:4 of the Code of Virginia, requires that
local school boards award a Special Diploma (often referred to
as an IEP Diploma) to students with disabilities who complete
the requirements of their IEP but do not meet the requirements
for a standard or advanced studies diploma.  This language was
not included in accrediting standards because it would be
repetitious of that which was already in statute.

These are the only three diplomas authorized for issuance by
the Board and the General Assembly.

Questions regarding accreditation issues should be directed to
Charles W. Finley, Director of Accreditation, by phone to 
804-786-9421 or by e-mail to cfinley@pen.k12.va.us.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

PDS/cwf