P. O. BOX 2120

November 3, 2000

TO: Division Superintendents
Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Tuition Assistance for Early Childhood Special Educators

The Department of Education has budgeted a portion of Virginia's Section 619 preschool grant funds to provide tuition assistance of up to $400 per course for no more than three courses per year for early childhood special educators. These funds are available to early childhood special education teachers and certain speech and language pathologists under contract with a school division for the 2000-2001 school year.

Eligible teachers are those enrolled in graduate-level courses directly related to the area in which they are providing instruction. Eligible speech and language pathologists are those for whom preschoolers with disabilities make up at least 50 percent of their caseloads and who are enrolled in graduate-level coursework directly related to the area in which they are providing instruction or in early childhood special education.

Courses may be taken for initial licensure, for renewal of a teaching license, or for professional development. Professional development may include coursework to enhance a preschool teacher's ability to present material supporting Virginia's Standards of Learning, including literacy, phonics, and computer literacy. The teacher is responsible for ensuring that any courses taken for licensure in early childhood special education satisfy state requirements (Licensure Regulations for School Personnel, effective July 1998). Coursework must be reviewed by the local supervisor of special education or the division superintendent. Teachers may combine tuition assistance from Section 619 preschool grant funds with other state and/or local reimbursement sources as long as the amount received by the teacher does not exceed the cost of a course.

The funding period for this activity ends August 31,2001. If the number of applications exceeds funds available, tuition assistance will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the postmark stamped on the application envelope. Priority will be given to unendorsed preschool special education teachers.

Completed applications should be submitted to the Department of Education immediately after the teacher has enrolled in the course and prior to completion of the course. No applications will be considered after the last day on which a course is given.

If you have questions regarding eligibility for the tuition assistance, please contact Mrs. Linda S. Bradford, Office of Special Education and Student Services at ( or(804) 225-2675. The attached application form should be submitted to Ms. Ossie M. Lawrence, Office of Special Education and Student Services, Virginia Department of Education, P. O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218-2120. Please contact Ms. Lawrence at (804) 225-2932 for information about application status or reimbursement.