SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 165
September 3, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Training Opportunities for Alternate Assessment Performance Indicators|
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1997 Amendments require all students with disabilities to be included in state and district-wide assessment programs, with accommodations and modifications if necessary. For those students who are unable to participate in the general assessment programs, states must develop an "alternate assessment" process and implement the process by July 1, 2000. The Department of Education has been working with individuals from the Mid-South Regional Resource Center, the Virginia Institute for Developmental Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a steering committee of diverse stakeholders across the eight Superintendents' Regions to address the alternate assessment process in Virginia. This past spring local special education directors were given an opportunity, through regional directors' meetings, to review performance indicators and delivery practices that were developed by the statewide steering committee. Their feedback, and that of others in the state, was incorporated into a final set of performance indicators and delivery practices. This document was presented to the Board of Education in July for review and comment. This fall we will sponsor a series of training activities based on the alternate assessment performance indicators and delivery practices. The purpose of these sessions is to provide information about the following: *the development of the alternate assessment system in Virginia, *the content of the performance indicators and delivery practices, and *methods for aligning the school's curriculum (for students who will participate in the alternate assessment process) with the performance indicators and delivery practices. (Please note that this training will not address methods for measuring the performance of students who will participate in the alternate assessment process. The measurement approach will be developed over the coming year.) We have contracted with the Virginia Institute for Developmental Disabilities (VIDD) to organize and conduct this training. The training model will be a "trainer of trainers". The participants will be provided with information, materials, and activities that may be used to train other school personnel and parents. You are invited to send a maximum of five individuals to one of the training sessions. These individuals should be interested in serving as trainers/mentors on the topic to others in your school division. It is suggested that the following individuals attend. *Director of Special Education *Director of Testing *Building Administrator *Teacher of students who are likely to participate in the alternate assessment *Parent A total of 18 training sessions will be offered across the state during September, October, and November. At least two sessions will be provided in each Superintendent's Region. You are strongly encouraged to send a team to one of the training sessions offered in your region. However, your team may register for any session that best meets your needs. The sessions will begin at 9 A.M. and conclude by 4 P.M. Since the training will provide time for teams to work together to develop a plan for disseminating information on the alternate assessment across the school division, all team members are requested to attend the same training session. Please complete the enclosed registration forms at your earliest convenience. You will receive a confirmation letter and directions after your registration is received. If you have questions about the training logistics or need special accommodations, please call Paula Ropelewski at VIDD at 804/828-8243. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the alternate assessment and Virginia's progress toward including all students with disabilities in the state's assessment and accountability system. Questions about the alternate assessment program may be addressed to H. Douglas Cox, director, Office of Special Education and Student Services, at 804/225-2402. PDS/HDC/cp Enclosures: A hard copy of this memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office.