COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
June 19, 2015
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Over the last few years, Virginia school divisions have developed new pathways for student enrollment in high school laboratory science courses prior to matriculation in ninth grade. In providing these opportunities, school divisions have constructed curricula that ensure accelerated preparation in the critical concepts, skills, and practices defined in the middle grades science standards.
In order to ensure a clear bearing to school divisions that may be considering similar programs, the Department of Education provides the following direction.
These requirements are based on the Code of Virginia and education regulations including the following:
Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (SOA)
8 VAC 20-131-30. Student achievement expectations. (page 4)
Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:1. B.
… School boards shall implement the Standards of Learning or objectives specifically designed for their school divisions that are equivalent to or exceed the Board's requirements. Students shall be expected to achieve the educational objectives established by the school division at appropriate age or grade levels. The curriculum adopted by the local school division shall be aligned to the Standards of Learning.
Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:3. C (HB 1714, adopted through Acts of Assembly, Chapter 323, effective July 1, 2015)
The Standards of Learning assessments administered to students in grades three through eight shall not exceed (a) reading and mathematics in grades three and four; (b) reading, mathematics, and science in grade five; (c) reading and mathematics in grades six and seven; (d) reading, writing, and mathematics
, and sciencein grade eight; (e) science after the student receives instruction in the grade six science, life science, and physical science Standards of Learning and before the student completes grade eight; …
If you have questions regarding the middle grades science instructional program, please contact Eric Rhoades, director, Office of Science and Health Education, by e-mail at Eric.Rhoades@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 786-2481.SRS/EMR/rt