P. O. BOX 2120
April 24, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Administrative Technology Planning Initiatives 

  As you are aware, our society is experiencing an
  unprecedented rate of growth and change in technology
  development and application.  This era of rapid
  technological advancement is challenging us to constantly
  examine and reevaluate our use of hardware, software and the
  application of these technologies to the business of running
  schools and educating children.  The Department of Education
  received funding from the 1998 Session of the Virginia
  General Assembly to study the associated needs and issues
  and develop recommendations for future development or
  purchase of appropriate technologies for managing student
  information.  This study will undoubtedly result in
  improving our student information collection, maintenance
  and reporting processes, and your involvement in this
  initiative is critical to its success.

  Accordingly, we are asking you to designate one member of
  your staff to serve as our point of contact with regard to
  all aspects of this technology initiative.  We expect to
  brief all school division contacts on our progress
  throughout the course of this study and subsequent
  presentation of findings and recommendations to the 1999
  Session of the Virginia General Assembly.  We will also be
  soliciting your guidance and assistance in this effort as we
  seek to improve our student information systems.

  Enclosed you will find a brief survey instrument which
  should be completed and returned to Mr. Jerry Mathews,
  Division of Management Information Systems, Department of
  Education, via fax (804-371-8978) by May 15, 1998.  Your
  answers to the survey 

  questions, along with input we will be receiving from a
  small steering committee, will assist us in determining the
  scope of the study we are about to undertake.  Please know
  we sincerely appreciate your efforts on behalf of Virginia's
  children and your support of our efforts to apply technology
  to the important business of education.  

  Should you have any questions or need additional
  information, please do not hesitate to contact Jerry Mathews
  at (804) 225-2950, (E-mail:


  Enclosures:  A hard copy of this memo and its enclosures
               will be sent to the superintendent's office


     _______________________  County/City Public Schools

     _______________________  Designated Contact Person

     _______________________  Contact Person's E-mail

     _______________________  Contact Person's Phone Number

  1. Would your schools and school division accept and use a
       new administrative system (a software package) if it
       was provided to you at no cost, and it met all local
       and state needs and requirements?

     _____Yes  _____No   ____ Not sure, but would seriously

  2. As we study the need for and requirements of an
       automated system, what types of information should we
       consider for inclusion in such a system?  Please check
       those that are most important to you.

               grade reporting
               attendance record keeping
               assessment data
               electronic report submission
               library and instructional media
               other _______________________________________
               other _______________________________________
               other _______________________________________
               other _______________________________________

  3. Would your school division support the concept of a
       statewide database containing standard information on
       enrolled students, which the Department of Education
       would access in lieu of requiring school divisions to
       submit certain reports?

     _____Yes  _____No


  4. To the best of your knowledge, are your current
       administrative and instructional computer systems "Year
       2000 compliant?"

     _____Yes  _____No 

     If "no," do you have a plan to repair or replace the
       system(s)?    _____Yes _____No

  5. Is your school division office equipped with a
       "pentium" running "Windows95" with access to the World
       Wide Web, which could be used for administrative
       reporting purposes?

     ___Yes, via modem  ___Yes, direct connection ___No

     If "no," are you planning to have a direct Internet
       connection in the future?

      _____Yes, by                    (date)      _____No

  6. Would you support an amendment to Board of Education
       regulations removing the requirement that automated
       systems replicate the "Virginia Teacher's Register"
       forms and instructions for recording and reporting
       pupil attendance and membership?

     _____Yes  _____No

  7. Any additional comments or suggestions you care to
       offer here will be sincerely appreciated.


  Return by May 15, 1998 to Jerry Mathews via fax at  (804) 371-8978.