SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 90
October 22, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Follow up to Superintendent's Memorandum #174 Annual Report on Discipline, Crime and Violence: 1999-2000 Year|
The purpose of this memo is to respond to a number of questions that have been received related to Superintendent's Memorandum #174, September 17, 1999, and to provide revised data collection forms and instructions. The Department of Education's intent is to combine and eliminate duplication associated with four reports that require data submission from school divisions (state Crime and Violence report, federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA], federal Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and federal Gun Free Schools Act). Two of these four reports (Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and Gun Free Schools Act) require a level of detail not previously requested. Further, the IDEA data requirements, which were reported last year for the first time through the Commission on Youth survey, will be collected through this process. Members of the DOE staff have reviewed the requirements for data submission and have identified some adjustments to the reporting requirements. In Superintendent's Memorandum #174, September 17, 1999, school divisions were asked to report ". any violation of the local school board code of conduct policy . ." This is to advise you that school divisions are only required to report: a) incidents that include offenses identified on the attached listing as required offense codes, whether or not these incidents resulted in suspension or expulsion; and b) discipline/sanctions resulting in long- or short- term suspensions, expulsions, and placements in alternative education settings. Some suspensions/expulsions may be the result of a violation of the local code of conduct that is not included in the list of required offenses. School divisions should use the ". Other Code of Conduct Violation (OT1) ." to report these suspensions or expulsions. These data are required for the Crime and Violence Report and for IDEA reporting. The offense codes have been revised to provide two levels of detail. School divisions are only obligated to use required codes. The required codes meet state and federal requirements. The optional codes will assist localities with completion of the school safety audit, needs assessment, planning, and potential grant opportunities. For example, alcohol offenses must be reported, but more detailed offenses such as use of alcohol versus possession of alcohol are optional and would be useful in local planning to address alcohol use in the school division. In addition, at school divisions' requests, three characters will be used to report required offense codes, two letters and one numeral. You will note required offense codes have been reduced from 117 to 48. Also, the file descriptions have been reviewed and revised. "In-school suspension" has been deleted from the discipline/sanction reporting options. A final expressed concern was the requirement to submit a unique student identifier. A unique identifier is needed to distinguish between individuals and incidents and to produce unduplicated counts of students involved in incidents. Assignment of the unique identifier is under the control of the school division. School divisions may assign any number or text string which uniquely identifies the student to the school. Unique identifiers need not be the same from year to year. The Department of Education maintains the confidentiality of student information at all times and will not track individual students or join this information with other databases. This memorandum contains the following attachments: Attachment A: Offense Codes Attachment B: Definitions of Offense Codes Attachment C: Excel File Description Attachment D: ASCII File Description Revised attachments will be posted on the DOE website. Reporting requirements, the reporting process, and associated issues will be addressed during a DOE Hour telecast scheduled from 2:00 to 3:00 PM, Tuesday, October 26, 1999. The discipline collection can be completed using either Excel 5.0 or Excel 97. The discipline spreadsheet can be downloaded from the Department of Education's website at www.pen.k12.va.us by selecting "Data and Publications" and then selecting "Discipline, Crime and Violence Data Collection, 1999-2000" from the "Collections" listing. The complete address is www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Publications/ Discipline/datacoll.coll.htm to access the discipline spreadsheet. Questions regarding use of the spreadsheet or ASCII flat file should be directed to Janet Christopher, Management Information Systems, at (804) 786-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The data will be due to the Department of Education on September 15, 2000. Additional information regarding the reporting process will be disseminated in a later memo. We apologize for the challenges presented by this data collection effort and for the timing of this request. The Department of Education recognizes that the data required for these reports are significant. The improved accuracy of the data will assist educators and policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels. If we have erred, we erred on the side of maintaining a safe environment for Virginia's children. Questions regarding this information may be directed to Paul Raskopf, Office of Special Education and Student Services; (804) 225-2080, email@example.com. PDS/pjr Attachments: A hard copy of this memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office. .