COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 136
August 29, 2003
Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
2003-2004 Tuition Assistance Program 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 the following staff members who are under contract with a school division for the 2003-2004 school year: early childhood special education teachers, teachers seeking an early childhood special education endorsement, certain speech and language pathologists, and early childhood special education paraprofessionals.
Eligible teachers are those enrolled in graduate-level courses directly related to the area in early childhood special education. 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. Eligible paraprofessionals are those who are employed full-time in an early childhood special education program and are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate-level coursework directly related to 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 Virginias Standards of Learning. The teacher or speech-language pathologist is responsible for ensuring that any courses taken for licensure in special education satisfy state requirements (Licensure Regulations for School Personnel, effective July 1998). The Division of Teacher Education and Licensure will assist with the review of the requested coursework.
The funding period for this activity ends August 31, 2004. 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.
Additionally, all special educators approved for tuition assistance will be required to sign and return an agreement of obligation. This agreement requires individuals who receive tuition assistance or monetary support from projects funded by the Virginia Special Education State Improvement Grant, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or the Virginia General Assembly to complete a service obligation or repay all or part of the costs of such assistance beginning July 1, 2003. For every $1,000 support during the duration of the program, recipients must maintain full-time employment in special education for a period of one semester or repay the Virginia Department of Education for the assistance they received.
Completed applications are to be submitted to the Department of Education immediately after enrollment in the course and prior to completion of the course. No applications will be considered after the last day of a course.
If you have questions regarding eligibility for the tuition assistance, please contact Dr. Patricia Burgess, specialist for special education human resources development, Division of Teacher Education and Licensure, at (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) or (804) 225-2096. The attached application form should be submitted to:
Dr. Patricia D. Burgess
Specialist for Special Education Human Resources Development
Division of Teacher Education and Licensure
Virginia Department of Education
Richmond, VA 23218-2120
Fax (804) 786-6759
Please contact Dr. Burgess for information about the application status or reimbursement.