COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 297

December 5, 2008

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Patricia I. Wright

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Standards of Quality Resolution from the Board of Education to the Governor and General Assembly

 

On behalf of the Board of Education, I am pleased to transmit the Board's recommendations for the Standards of Quality (SOQ). The attached resolution was approved by the Board at its November 20 meeting and submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly on November 28.

 

Beginning in 2001, the Virginia Board of Education has undertaken a comprehensive, ongoing review of the SOQ. From this ongoing review, a number of the recommendations brought forward by the Board have been incorporated into the SOQ. At this time, seven recommendations have not yet been incorporated in the SOQ. The Board continues to support them and has reaffirmed these recommendations every year since their inception.

 

The Board is keenly aware that state revenues are tenuous and will remain so for a while. Being mindful of fiscal constraints, the Board offered intermediate options to address three of its recommendations which have not yet become part of the SOQ, and offered an alternative related to the instruction of English Language Learners. These options do not expend additional resources but do promote flexibility by integrating and linking existing programs that reside both within the SOQ and outside of it. All options would require an amendment to SOQ language either in the Appropriation Act or in the Code of Virginia.

 

  • Recommendation 1: Data Manager/Test Coordinator. This intermediate option would address the need for a data manager/test coordinator for every 1,000 students. The position would be Board-licensed and would be responsible for analyzing and interpreting data for the improvement of instruction. The SOQ already provides for one instructional technology resource teacher (ITRT) per 1,000 students. With amended language, school divisions could make a choice to employ the ITRT, the data manager/test coordinator, or a position that blends both duties.

 

  • Recommendation 2: Reading Specialist. This option relates to the recommendation for one reading specialist for every 1,000 students in all grades. An intermediate option is to permit school divisions to hire a Board-licensed position to provide the intervention required for the Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI), a Lottery-funded program outside of the SOQ. School divisions could hire a reading specialist within the scope of the EIRI program. The use of the specialist to provide remedial services would allow for efficiency and flexibility for school divisions delivering services to the K-3 population and would integrate the EIRI with the SOQ.

 

  • Recommendation 3: Mathematics Specialist. The third intermediate option relates to the recommendation of one mathematics specialist for every 1,000 students in grades K-8, and is an option similar to that of the reading specialist. This option would link Algebra Readiness Intervention (ARI) initiative to the SOQ by permitting school divisions to hire mathematics specialists as another option to provide the required intervention within the scope of the ARI program, which serves grades 6 to 8. The ARI is another Lottery-funded program that resides outside of the SOQ.

 

  • Recommendation 4: Instruction to English Language Learners (ELL). To supplement the services provided to students identified with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), school divisions should be allowed to use funds from the SOQ Prevention, Intervention, and Remediation account to hire additional ELL teachers to provide instruction. This funding would supplement the instructional services provided by the current SOQ staffing standard of 17 per 1,000 LEP students.

 

These intermediate SOQ options offer mechanisms that promote flexibility while not requiring any additional state or local funding. The Board intends to request approval and full funding of its staffing requirements beginning in the next biennium.

 

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Anne Wescott, assistant superintendent for policy and communications, at Anne.Wescott@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2403.

 

PIW/ADW/kfg

 

Attachment

 

a. Board of Education's Recommendations for the Standards of Quality (PDF)