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

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 41
March 10, 2000

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Announcement of Smaller Learning Communities Program Competitive Grants


 The United States Department of Education has announced the Smaller Learning 
Communities Program, which will provide competitive grants to local educational 
agencies to plan, develop, implement or expand smaller, more personal learning 
communities in large high schools.  Under the statute, strategies may include, but 
are not limited to "establishing small learning clusters, 'houses,' career academies,
magnet schools, or other approaches to creating schools-within-schools; block 
scheduling; personal adult advocates, teacher-advisory systems and other mentoring 
strategies; and reduced teaching loads."  In addition, there may be other local 
innovations that create more personal learning experiences for students.  Funds may 
be used for planning and/or implementation.  Activities may include:  restructuring 
schools, professional development, building partnerships, soliciting technical 
assistance, building data collection and evaluation systems, and providing extended 
learning time and support services for students.

To build interest and capacity for the Smaller Learning Communities Program, the 
U. S. Department of Education will offer a series of regional outreach sessions.  
These sessions will provide superintendents and other district educators the unique 
opportunity to learn from researchers, experts, practitioners, and senior federal 
staff experienced in developing smaller learning communities.

The regional outreach sessions are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. during March and 
April in various locations across the country.  A meeting is scheduled for March 17 
in Washington, D. C.

Data-based information on the grant program and information on the regional outreach 
sessions can be obtained by accessing the following website: 
http://www.dtiassociates.com/smallschools.  

Enclosed you will find a two-page description of the Smaller Learning Communities 
Program.  If you would like to receive a preliminary packet with more information 
on the program or be placed on the application mailing list, contact Tammy Hollaway 
at (202) 205-3779.  Please note the following deadlines:

	o	Outreach sessions			March 17 - April 26

	o	Final program notice			May 2000
		published in the Federal 
		Register

	o	Closing date for applications	        July 2000

	o	Public announcement and		        August 2000
		awarding of grants

	o	Start date for grants			September 2000


JLD/eh
Enclosure