P. O. BOX 2120

April 14, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Notice of Intent to Survey Teachers

 On February 23, 2000, Kirk T. Schroder, president of the Virginia Board of Education,
and Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary, acting superintendent of public instruction, announced a 
proposed school index (which was later renamed "school profile") to be included on 
the School Performance Report Card. A copy of the press release is attached. The 
release also can be found on our website at:  At the March 23 
meeting of the Board of Education, a teacher survey was approved to be a component 
of the school profile. This memorandum details the purpose, process of development, 
use of the information, and the implementation plans for conducting the Virginia 
Teacher Survey.

Purpose of the Survey: The purpose of the teacher survey component of the school 
profile, which will be reported with student performance data and accreditation 
status on the School Report Card, is to provide patrons with a context for reviewing 
other data on the report card. A critical factor in assessing a school's performance 
is the level of support provided for teachers to implement the Standards of Learning 
(SOL). Teachers' perceptions of this level of support will be measured by a 
statewide survey that will provide teachers in each school with a unique opportunity 
to agree or disagree that certain conditions, confirmed by research as necessary for 
effective instruction, are present.

Development Process: The process used in developing teacher survey items was both 
inclusive and research-based. The potential elements to be included on the teacher 
survey portion of the school profile were generated by members of an Ad Hoc 
committee. The committee was chaired by Ms. Susan Noble, vice president of the 
Board of Education, and consisted of representatives of the commonwealth's teachers, 
principals, superintendents, parents, and colleges. The elements were used to 
develop survey items which have been correlated to the research on effective schools 
as well as to the expectations for principals and teachers outlined in Virginia's 
accreditation standards for schools. The proposed items were developed by department 
staff, reviewed by the committee members, examined and critiqued by the Survey 
Research Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, and field-tested with a pool 
of teachers selected by the Virginia Education Association. The survey will be 
offered to Virginia's 87,000 teachers this spring. The survey will contain a teacher
feedback component regarding the survey.

Implementation Process: In May, each teacher will be provided with a Personal 
Identification Number (PIN) and a password by his/her principal that authorizes the 
teacher's access to a website containing the survey. The PIN numbers and passwords,
one for each teacher, which will be unique to each division, school, and teacher, 
will be generated by a third-party consulting firm. The PIN numbers and passwords 
will help ensure anonymity. The consulting firm will host the survey website and 
will summarize all data before providing the information to the department. 

By mid-May teachers will be able to log on to a designated website that can be 
accessed from an Internet-connected computer with a Web browser such as Netscape. 
Teachers who wish to access the survey via home Internet access through a commercial 
Internet Service Provider (ISP) also will be able to do so.  The survey will consist 
of approximately 20 statements with responses varying from "Strongly Agree" to 
"Strongly Disagree." The survey should take only a few minutes to complete.  

No personal information will be requested on the survey. The website will be open 
to teachers from mid-May to mid-June for their responses. Responses will be 
solicited from all teachers, including itinerant teachers who will respond from the 
school designated as their "home school" or the school where they spend the majority 
of their time.

Use of Results: The individual responses to clusters of survey items will be 
compiled and reported on the School Performance Report Card under broad indicators 
such as "Quality Instructional Practices."  The report card will include the 
percentage of a school's staff who respond to the survey. The data in the school 
profile will not affect a school's accreditation status.

We hope to receive a high rate of response to the survey and thank you in advance 
for your support of this effort.  In order to alert principals that they will soon 
receive a packet of PIN numbers for distribution to their teachers, a copy of this 
memorandum will be sent directly to each school.  Should you have any questions 
regarding the content of the survey or the profile, please contact Kevin Bell 
(,) public relations manager at (804)371-2420.