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

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 75
April 9, 1999

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
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.