Superintendent's Memo #066-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

March 13, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Youth Survey

The purpose of this memo is to inform you of a statewide survey of youth in grades nine through twelve which has been developed by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) with the support of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Thirty-seven randomly selected schools, representing twenty-six school divisions, will be asked to participate in the survey during April and May 2009. Between three to five randomly selected classrooms in an identified high school will participate in the ninety-nine item, multiple choice questionnaire. The survey will only require one class period. Classroom teachers or other staff members are being asked to administer the survey. The Virginia Department of Health will provide all materials to administer the survey. The answer sheets and surveys will be picked-up at each school site by a Virginia Department of Health staff member.

Survey administration procedures are designed to protect student privacy and allow for anonymous participation. School divisions, schools and students will not be identified in any published report. Participation in the survey is voluntary. If schools in your division are selected, you and the principals of the selected schools will be contacted by the Virginia Department of Health.

The Virginia Youth Survey has been reviewed by school and community stakeholders. Schools and communities will be able to use aggregated statewide data for program planning, curriculum development, policy development, school improvement plans, wellness policies, and grant applications. The survey focuses on those priority health-risk behaviors established during youth that result in the most significant mortality and morbidity during both youth and adulthood. The survey provides information on behaviors that result in: unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity.

Health district directors will also be notified of this survey. We encourage you to collaborate with your local health department.

Should you have any further questions, please contact Shaneé Harmon, the Virginia Department of Health’s Virginia Youth Survey project coordinator, at 804-864-7671 or Shanee.Harmon@vdh.virginia.gov; Jo Ann Burkholder, safe and drug-free schools coordinator at 804-371-7586 or Joann.Burkholder@doe.virginia.gov; or Caroline Fuller, comprehensive school health specialist, at 804-225-2431 or Caroline.Fuller@doe.virginia.gov.

PIW / ccf