Superintendent's Memo #112-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

May 7, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Update to the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia Delay in Implementation

The Board of Education adopted revisions to its Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, which became effective July 31, 2009. The majority of the revisions to these regulations were to be implemented beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. Because of legislation passed by the 2010 General Assembly (HB111, HB196, and SB352), the implementation of most of the provisions has been delayed until the 2011-2012 school year. However, please note that the use of the Graduation and Completion Index in the calculation of accreditation ratings does not have a delayed implementation date, and will be used in the calculation of ratings for the 2011-2012 school year based on data from the 2010-2011 school year.

Delayed Provisions

The regulatory changes included revisions in high school graduation requirements and a new Academic and Career Plan for middle schools. The following elements, which would have been effective beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year, will now become effective beginning in the 2011-2012 academic year:

  1. The requirements of the Standard Technical Diploma and the Advanced Technical Diploma, which were to begin with the 9th grade class of 2010;
  2. The increase in the number of standard units of credit for the Advanced Studies diploma, which was to begin with the 9th grade class of 2010;
  3. Changes to credit requirements related to courses for the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas (which are found in the footnotes to 8 VAC 20-131-50). The credit requirements currently in effect for the 2009-2010 academic year will remain in effect for the 2010-2011 academic year.
  4. The addition of one credit in economics and personal finance as a graduation requirement for the Standard, Standard Technical, Advanced Studies, and Advanced Technical Diplomas, which was to begin with the 9th grade class of 2010; and
  5. The requirement for all students, beginning in middle school, to have an Academic and Career Plan.

Consequently, the graduation requirements currently in effect for the 2009-2010 will remain in effect until the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year.

Provisions Currently in Effect

The following requirements became effective on July 31, 2009, and remain in effect:

  1. Double Testing: This revision clarifies that no student shall take more than one test in any content area in each year.
  2. Student Records: This revision ensures that the State Testing Identifier (STI) for students who transfer into a Virginia public school from another Virginia public school be retained by the receiving school.
  3. Virtual Virginia: This change ensures that credits earned through Virtual Virginia are accepted in Virginia public schools.

Please refer to superintendent’s memorandum #292-09 (http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2009/292-09.shtml), issued on October 16, 2009, for additional information on these changes.

The list of courses approved by the Board to satisfy graduation requirements for students entering the ninth grade in 2010-2011 continues to remain in effect. For more information on these approved courses, please see: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2009/170-09.shtml.

Calculation of Accreditation Ratings

The legislation passed by the 2010 General Assembly also affected the calculation of accreditation ratings:

  1. For tests administered in the 2010-2011 school year that will be the basis for accreditation ratings in the 2011-2012 school year, the benchmarks for full accreditation will be the same benchmarks that were used for ratings in 2008-2009 and in the 2009-2010 school year.
  2. Please note that the use of the Graduation and Completion Index in the calculation of accreditation ratings as required by 8 VAC 20-131-280.B.2 and 8 VAC 20-131-300 of the regulations does not have a delayed implementation date. The Department of Education will begin using the index with the calculation of ratings for the 2011-2012 school year based on data from the 2010-2011 school year.

Within the next few months, the Board of Education will begin the process of revising all of the language in the regulations to comport to the legislative mandates from the 2010 General Assembly. Information on the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia can be found at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/boe/accreditation/index.shtml. Please check this website frequently for updated information.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Office of Policy at (804) 225-2092 or you may send your questions or comments by e-mail to policy@doe.virginia.gov.

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