SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 6
March 10, 2000
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
The Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia adopted by the State Board of Education in 1997 prescribe an annual accrediting cycle for schools and require that schools certify compliance with certain provisions of the standards as a prerequisite to accreditation. The regulations, in 8 VAC 20-131-280 D, include the following provision: Pre-accreditation requirements: As a prerequisite to the awarding of an accreditation rating as defined in 8 VAC 20-131-300, Application of the Standards, each new or existing school shall document, in a manner prescribed by the Board, its compliance with the requirements to offer courses that will allow students to complete the graduation requirements in 8 VAC 20-131- 50, the ability to offer the instructional program prescribed in 8 VAC 20-131-70 through 8 VAC 20-131-100, the leadership and staffing requirements of 8 VAC 20-131-210 through 8 VAC 20-131-240 and the facilities and safety provisions of 8 VAC 20-131-260. Please return one copy of Attachment A (Form UG.002) for each school, along with any required corrective action plans, on or before April 14, 2000. Instructions for completing the forms are attached. Please make copies to distribute to your schools with the forms. The Board also adopted a policy to identify various educational entities in the state that would be recognized as "schools" for accreditation purposes. Only schools that have students in fall membership will be held accountable for meeting the standards. While schools that do not report fall membership will not be accredited independently, facilities that provide instruction to students who are reported in fall membership data at their home schools are not fully relieved of the responsibility for meeting other applicable standards. They will share the accreditation rating of the schools that serve as their students' home schools. A Form UG.002 must be submitted for all schools in the division including those with no fall membership. Some schools have been identified that do not house a grade that is tested in the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment program or offer courses that require an end-of-course SOL test. For accrediting purposes, that school must be paired with another school with which it has a feeder relationship and a grade to be tested. For example, schools with a K-2 grade configuration should be paired with a school that houses a third-grade class and receives students from the K-2 school (a majority or significant number of those students would be preferred). Another example is a school that houses only grades 6 and 7. The preferred pairing for such a school would be with the school that receives its students for the eighth grade. Attachment B lists all paired schools for the 1998-1999 school year. Please use the form to make any needed changes to last year's pairings. On July 1, 1995, the Board began accrediting child day care programs operated by public schools. Those programs must meet or exceed regulations for private day care providers issued by the Child Day Care Council. The Board of Education promulgated regulations that incorporate by reference those of the Child Day Care Council. If schools in your division are operating child day care programs (preschool or extended day), please indicate that fact on Attachment A where requested. The regulations exempt the following programs: Instructional programs offered by public schools that satisfy compulsory attendance laws or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and extracurricular activities that are focused on single interests such as, but not limited to, music, drama, art, sports, or foreign languages are exempt from the requirements of these regulations. If you have questions, please contact Charles W. Finley, assistant superintendent for accountability services, at 804-786-9421 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. JLD/CWF/pfm Attachments VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DIVISION OF ACCOUNTABILITY SERVICES P. O. BOX 2120 RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120 INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING FORM UG.002 CERTIFICATION OF PRE-ACCREDITATION ELIGIBILITY STATUS AND FORM UG.003-RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOL PAIRING GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: 8 VAC 20-131-280 D of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia requires that schools meet pre-accreditation eligibility criteria as a prerequisite to receiving an accreditation rating. 8 VAC 20-131-290 B establishes the process for certifying compliance with those criteria. A Form UG.002 must be completed for each school that is identified by a school number assigned by the Department of Education. The form must be signed by the principal and returned to the division superintendent. The superintendent will also sign the form and return all of the forms for schools in the division to the Department. If the school reports that it is not in compliance with a requirement of the standards, a corrective action plan must be submitted that describes what actions will be taken to bring the school into compliance and the time lines for the plan. INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF ITEMS: Each school must report the number of instructional personnel assigned to the school. This number should include all teachers including special education, resource, and itinerant teachers but should not include principals, assistant principals, counselors or librarians/media specialists. Itinerant teachers should be counted as a percent or fraction representing the amount of time spent in the school on a weekly basis. When reporting the number of staff teaching outside their area of endorsement, you should report those teachers whose primary teaching assignment is in a subject or grade for which they do not hold an endorsement. Primary teaching assignment means that the teacher teaches 4 of 6 periods, 5 of 7 periods, or 3 of 4 blocks or 6 of 8 blocks in block scheduling situations. Teachers who hold provisional licenses should be included in this count but teachers who are teaching under a special education Conditional License should not. REPORTING CHILD DAY CARE PROGRAM INFORMATION: Each school must report the existence of child day care programs operated by the local school board that are housed in the school and accredited under the provisions of 8 VAC 20-590-10 et. seq., Minimum Standards for the Accreditation of Child Day Programs Serving Children of Preschool Age or Younger in the Public Schools or 8 VAC 20-600-10 et. seq., Minimum Standards for the Accreditation of Child Day Programs Serving School Age Children in the Public Schools. This includes child care and before- and after-school programs but does not include vocational child-care programs or other programs operated under contract to outside agencies and organizations. INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING FORM UG.003: 8 VAC 20-131-280 A 5 of the accrediting standards requires that schools that do not house a grade that is required to be tested and/or schools that do not offer courses for which there are SOL end-of-course tests be paired for accreditation purposes based on the recommendation of the division superintendent. Form UG.003 has been pre-printed to reflect pairings from the 1997-98 school year. If there are changes to be made such as no further need to pair the schools shown on the form, please make those changes on the form itself. The superintendent should make any changes to the information on the form (if necessary), sign it and return it with the other pre-accreditation forms for schools in the division. The form must be signed and returned even if there are no paired schools or there are no changes. REMINDER: The instructional staff information on Form UG.002 is used on the School Performance Report Card issued in accordance with 8 VAC 20-131-270 of the accrediting standards as is the school pairing information. Because of time line restrictions for preparing the report card, it is critical that the information be reported accurately and returned in a timely manner. The superintendent will have an opportunity to verify the data prior to its being used for report card purposes. All completed forms must be returned to the Office of Accreditation, Virginia Department of Education, P. O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218-2120 no later than April 14, 2000.