Prescribing Revised Standards of Quality
Resolution Number 2003-24
June 25, 2003
The Board of Education adopted a motion to prescribe revised Standards of Quality, with the recommendation to the General Assembly that the funding for the revisions be phased in over a time period not to exceed the next two biennia. The motion included a provision to approve the draft bill to include the technical and editorial changes to clarify and update the SOQ language.
The prescribed revisions are as follows:
- require one full-time principal in each elementary school
The SOQ currently requires a half-time principal for elementary schools with fewer than 300 students. The responsibilities of the principal are demanding and present significant challenges for all schools and especially those elementary schools that do not have full- time principals. This change will provide elementary schools with the same staffing levels for principals as is required for middle and high schools.
- require one full-time assistant principal for each 400 students in each school
The SOQ currently requires one half-time assistant principal at an elementary school with between 600 and 899 students and one full- time assistant principal at an elementary school with 900 or more students. The current middle and secondary assistant principal standard in the SOQ is for one full- time assistant principal per 600 students in a school. Changing the SOQ requirement one full-time assistant principal for each 400 students addresses the discrepancy between SOQ requirements and actual staffing practices. The demands and responsibilities of assistant principals have intensified based on the increasing complexity of the principal’s role. Additional assistant principals have become a necessity in this age of test-based accountability, and with mounting concerns about school safety and discipline.
Fund elementary resource teachers in art, music, and physical education
The Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, at 8 VAC 20-131-80, or Standards of Accreditation (SOA), require the provision of instruction in art, music, and physical education and health for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. This proposal would provide three periods per week for art, music, and physical education for students in grades K-5, assuming a 24:1 pupil- teacher ratio. This provision translates to five instructional positions for every 1,000 students.
Reduce the secondary school pupil to teacher funding ratio from 25:1 to 21:1 to support scheduled planning time for secondary teachers
The current Standards of Accreditation require secondary school teachers to have one period per day for instructional planning. In order to fund enough positions to provide secondary school teachers with one period of planning time a day, the ratio used in the formula for state funding of positions would have to be reduced to 21:1.
This would not change SOQ class size or division-wide standards for secondary schools.
Reduce the state required speech language pathologist caseload from 68 to 60 students
Currently, the caseload for speech- language pathologists is mandated by the Board’s Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia, 8 VAC 20-80-45, at 68 students. Speech- language pathologists provide services to students with communication disorders and are valuable assets to schools striving to address the phonology awareness and language skills that support literacy. The high caseloads carried by many speech- language pathologists limit their ability to support improved literacy for children with communication disorders and to serve as resources to teachers. The current statewide average caseload is 54 students.
Fund two technology positions per 1,000 students in grades K-12 division-wide, one to provide technology support, and one to serve as a resource teacher for instructional technology
To integrate technology into instruction, an adeuate system of support in schools is necessary. The technology positions provide school- level technical assistance to teachers and students in the use of technology and maintain school-based technology. Technology support consists mainly of centralized and school-based support for information networks, such as selection, configuration, installation, operation, repair, and maintenance. Assuming a student-to-computer ratio of five to one, one position per 1,000 students provides one technology support position for every 200 computers. The resource teacher for instructional technology helps other teachers integrate technology into classrooms, train teachers to effectively use technology and electronic software, and help with curriculum development that applies educational technology resources.
Revise the funding formula for the SOQ prevention, intervention, and remediation program
The current SOQ remediation funding formula is nine positions per 1,000 students estimated to be in the bottom uartile of the student population taking the Stanford 9 tests, based on scores. The proposed change would fund one hour of additional instruction per day for K-12 students identified as needing services, using the percentage of students eligible for the federal free lunch program as a proxy, with pupil- teacher ratios varying on a sliding scale from 18:1 to 10:1. Combined failure rates for the English and mathematics Standards of Learning tests would determine the pupil-teacher ratio assigned. Those divisions with lower combined failure rates would be assigned a higher pupil-teacher ratio than those divisions with a higher combined failure rate.
Require one full-time instructional position for each 1,000 students to serve as the reading specialist
The Standards of Quality allow, but do not require, one full-time reading specialist in each elementary school, at the discretion of the local school board. Many school divisions already have reading specialists to provide additional resources to assist classroom teachers in instruction of reading skills, and to permit individualized attention for students needing additional time and help. Research indicates that reading deficiencies in many students can be prevented or ameliorated with appropriate intervention.
Make technical and editorial changes to clarify and update the SOQ language
The most significant of these changes include changing the titles of some of the standards to more accurately reflect their subject content; combining Standard 7 with Standard 6; moving sections within the standards or to another more appropriate standard or another section of the Code for clarity; removing requirements that are no longer applicable due to changes in state or federal law, or that are no longer feasible due to a shortage of resources; and updating language.
Mark C. Christie, President
Board of Education
Adopted in the Minutes of the Virginia Board of Education
June 25, 2003