October 7, 2016
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Co-teaching Demonstration Sites
As part of year three of the "Excellence in Co-teaching Initiative," the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) invites your teachers to visit a co-teaching demonstration site in one of thirty-seven elementary, middle and high schools across the state. They will observe first-hand as general and special educators share responsibility for co-planning, co-instructing and co-assessing using inclusive and research-based practices. The teachers will have an opportunity to shadow their general or special education counterpart and observe the dynamics of an effective collaborative relationship. After the visit, the teachers may maintain contact with the demonstration site co-teaching team through e-mentoring by email or using video chat solutions such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
To determine which sites are open in your region, contact your regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC). The number of site visits will be limited so as not to interfere with the ongoing instructional program. Therefore, priority will be given to schools that are in school improvement and/or divisions that are significantly below the target for Special Education Indicator 5: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), as indicated in the Division's Annual Performance Report. Site visits for these schools will be coordinated and pre-scheduled by your regional TTAC. If division leadership or principals of schools that are not in school improvement, but wish to build more inclusive classrooms by having their staff observe co-teaching in a specific demonstration site, they should contact the principal of the demonstration site directly to arrange visitation.
In addition, for teachers who are unable to visit a demonstration site, the Real Co-Teachers of Virginia Web shops are available. The components of the Web shops include general information about co-instructing, co-planning and co-assessing, with videos of demonstration site co-teachers engaging in these activities. The Standards of Learning (SOL) Enhanced Scope & Sequence Lesson Plans adapted for co-teaching are shared, along with other resources. The newest web shop is Views of Co-Teaching from Multiple Perspectives: Administrators, Co-Teachers & Students. All Web shops can be accessed through TTAC Online at https://ttaconline.org/Online-Training/MLbTE3FyBnEe7Gh-Rcu3kOu-JEI8V_HS/Online-Training-real-co-teachers-of-virginia.
The list of demonstration sites and links to the regional TTACs are attached. For additional information, please contact your regional TTAC or Dr. Teresa Lee, Specialist, Office of Special Education Instructional Services, by email at Teresa.Lee@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at