Superintendent’s Memo #027-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

January 27, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  House Joint Resolution 646 - Year-Round Schools Study

House Joint Resolution 646 (HJ646), patroned by Delegate R. Steven Landes, was passed last year by the 2011 General Assembly. HJ646 directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to study the efficacy of year-round schools. In conducting its study, JLARC will:

  1. Review the Board of Education’s procedure for approving year-round schools;
  2. Determine which school divisions have implemented year-round schools and evaluate their experience;
  3. Conduct a comprehensive analysis of each year-round school, including scheduling format, offerings of instructional and extracurricular programs, and the enrollment in the year-round school;
  4. Consider the minimum number of required teaching days or hours that should constitute the length of a school term;
  5. Assess factors that may be related to year-round schools, including instructional costs, transportation and special education services, and the need for additional classroom teachers, staff, and support services; and
  6. Evaluate the impact of changing the scheduling format on school functions, length of terms, and school breaks.

Last fall, JLARC staff met with staff at the Department to discuss this study and the steps needed to collect the information necessary to develop findings for the study. The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you of the study and that JLARC will be gathering information from both the Department and from school divisions as it performs the research necessary to complete its work prior to the 2013 General Assembly session. Examples of the research activities JLARC staff plan to conduct include surveys of school division administrators and instructional staff, and cost analyses of schools that have experience with year-round school calendars or expanded learning time programs. JLARC staff also indicated that they would like to visit several school divisions with recent year-round school experience.

Should JLARC contact your division regarding this study, I ask that you please cooperate with them in providing access, assistance, and requested information. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact the Division for Policy and Communications at (804) 225-2403 or by e-mail at policy@doe.virginia.gov.

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