SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 75
April 9, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Superintendent's Leadership Council|
The Superintendent's Leadership Council 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 March 26, 1999, 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- ment will be sent to the superintendent's office. Meeting of the Superintendent's Leadership Council Friday, March 26, 1999 Present: Superintendent's Council: Dennis W. Kellison, Wayne K. White, Martin J. Loughlin, Oliver A. Watson), and Alfred R. Butler, IV, executive director, VASS. Department of Education: Paul D. Stapleton, Richard W. Layman, M. Kenneth Magill, Jo Lynne DeMary, Daniel S. Timberlake, Cameron Harris, Diane Atkinson, Cynthia Cave, M. Jo Bunce, Gloria Barber, and Harry L. Smith. The state superintendent was delayed at the opening of the meeting and Richard Layman, assistant superintendent for external operations for the Department of Education, welcomed the superintendents. A news release was distributed announcing a broad community plan to help students at Carver Elementary School in the city of Richmond pass the Standards of Learning tests. Mr. Layman asked the superintendents to share public school success stories with the Department of Education and also to provide the information on Mrs. Roxane Gilmore's Web site. The agenda for the meeting included the following topics: SOL Curriculum Materials Update Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary, assistant superintendent for instruction, provided information about instructional materials that are being made available to public school divisions to help with SOL implementation She called attention to an initiative to prepare grade-level resource materials that identify important history and social science knowledge and skills required by the Standards of Learning for that subject. Dr. DeMary emphasized that the resource document does not constitute a revision of the history and social science SOL. Dr. DeMary said committees are working to prepare the material to be used as "a link between what's taught and what's tested." She also distributed information about three modules prepared by the Department of Education to be used for staff development for K-5 teachers and for teachers of middle school geometry. Dr. DeMary noted that there is still work to be done on the modules which are being piloted this spring. She stated that the Department of Education will try to provide training opportunities for teachers to meet local needs and that the Governor's Best Practice Centers will be involved in this effort. Dr. DeMary called attention to a CD-ROM that was prepared to help teachers to score the writing assessment of students. She explained that the CD-ROM may be used with large and small groups of teachers. She also noted that a memorandum is being sent to superintendents announcing the distribution of a CD-ROM containing sample curricula as a resource to support K-8 SOL curricula in English, science, and mathematics. The CD-ROM will be distributed by June 1. At a later date, an additional CD-ROM will be distributed containing history and social science SOL implementation resource documents. The CD- ROMs will be sent to each school, school division, and institutions of higher education that have teacher preparation programs. Report Card Assessment Update Cam Harris, assistant superintendent for assessment and accountability, gave an update of the SOL report card, and she also called attention to concerns about the security of the SOL tests. She distributed the draft of a superintendent's memo listing changes that will be made in the SOL testing program this spring, and expressed her appreciation for the work that school divisions have done in administering the tests. Legislative Update Diane Atkinson, assistant superintendent for policy and planning, distributed a report on public education bills and joint resolutions passed by the 1999 session of the Virginia General Assembly. She reviewed key legislation passed by the General Assembly, and she said that final copies of the legislation and provisions of the state appropriation act will be sent to superintendents as quickly as possible. Dan Timberlake, assistant superintendent for finance, had briefed the superintendents on provisions of the state appropriation act at the February meeting of the council. He said that the Department of Education has not received any information about action that the Governor may take on the 1999 budget amendments adopted by the General Assembly. He promised that superintendents will be kept informed regarding the state budget, especially action involving the distribution of state lottery funds. Other Issues The state superintendent reported that a strategic plan is being developed for the Department of Education for 2000-2002 and 2002-2004 bienniums. The plan, he said, is being developed for the agency by Virginia Commonwealth University. Mr. Stapleton introduced Ms. Barbara Newlin, of VCU, who is working on the plan. She noted that Department of Education teams are drafting information about critical issues confronting the department and reviewed briefly suggestions she had received. Dr. Edwards suggested that attention be given to continuous improvement efforts by public schools to meet state accreditation standards. Mr. Stapleton said emphasis should be on incentives to help school divisions, not on punitive action. He pointed out that he wants the Department of Education to be an agency that serves school divisions, and he encouraged superintendents to submit their comments regarding the strategic plan. Mr. Layman told the council that he is trying to schedule meetings in April of two committees of superintendents to deal with problems related to state SOL assessment and the school performance report card. Mr. Stapleton expressed the opinion that more attention should be given to technical education. He suggested that this may be a way to offer encouragement to students to stay in school. Commonwealth of Knowledge Web, Governor's Natural Resources Initiative Gloria Barber, director of instructional media and training, reported on First Lady Roxane Gilmore's Commonwealth of Knowledge website, an innovative tool to link public school teachers' lesson plans directly to the Standards of Learning and share information with teachers throughout the state. Teachers are encouraged to use the website and share information and become eligible for recertification points. The council also was informed of Governor Gilmore's Natural Resources Initiative that calls for the Governor to host an environmental TV program incorporating the fourth grade science Standards of Learning with Operation Spruce-Up for the state. The program, tentatively planned in April or May, will focus on conservation and use of the state's natural resources and the history of the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries. Best Practice Centers Update Ms. Jo Bunce, assistant superintendent for the Governor's Best Practice Centers, reported that the Department of Education is selecting five additional sites for centers authorized by the 1999 General Assembly. She said decisions on the sites for the centers are expected within the next few weeks. Personnel will be employed after the sites are selected, she said. Ms. Bunce described current activities of the three centers that are operating and discussed steps that may be taken to help teachers working with the SOL. Mr. Stapleton expressed concern about demands on teachers' time and the need for professional development opportunities. Dr. Butler stated that VASS was surprised to find that 15 school divisions were spending only about 1 percent of funds available to them for professional development. Mr. Stapleton asked for reports from superintendents on the Y2K problem. He also said that the Department of Education is trying to develop a talent pool of 100 teachers and principals, primarily mid-career personnel. He asked that this information be given to superintendents in the eight regions, and he stated that a memo about the project is being distributed. He said additional details will be announced later. The state superintendent also asked for reaction regarding leadership institutes for public school principals and for comments about the state's role in this effort and in any effort by the state to work directly with classroom teachers through the Best Practice Centers.