P. O. BOX 2120
November 20, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Request for data in response to HJR 242 and the Appropriations Act of the 1998 General Assembly 

  The 1998 General Assembly directed the Department of
  Education (Appropriation Act) and the Board of Education
  (HJR 242) to work with the Commission on Youth to conduct
  a study regarding services for suspended and expelled
  students. This study will investigate and report on the
  availability of state and local programs that provide
  educational services to expelled and suspended students
  who cannot be served in public school settings due to
  their dangerous and/or disruptive behaviors.
  Additionally, this investigation will identify the number
  of students serviced, the criteria for placement, and
  program locations. Also included in the study will be a
  survey of school districts and Juvenile and Domestic
  Relations District Courts regarding needs for expansion
  of programs or services.

  The findings of the study will result in the development
  of guidelines for alternative educational settings for
  middle and high school students.  The guidelines will
  include "the recommended number of alternative settings
  per 1,000 middle and high school students and average
  incremental costs thereof."

  The findings are to be reported to the chairpersons of
  the Education and Health and Finance Committees of the
  Virginia Senate, and the Education and Appropriation
  Committees of the House of Delegates by June 30, 1999.

  In order to create an accurate picture of the number of
  students who may require or benefit from placement in
  alternative education as a result of suspension,
  expulsion, or other disciplinary action by a school
  division, the Department of Education and the Commission
  on Youth have developed the attached survey instrument.  

  This instrument will gather data regarding each student
  who is long-term suspended or expelled, or placed in an
  alternative setting in lieu of long-term suspension or
  expulsion, during the entire 1998-99 school year.  The
  data is to be recorded at the time of the incident for
  which long-term suspension or expulsion is recommended,
  increasing the validity of the data.  Student demographic
  information, information about the nature of the incident
  leading to the suspension or expulsion, and information
  about the educational placement during suspension or
  expulsion (e.g., regional and local alternative
  education, adult education, night school, home-based,
  CSA-funded services) will assist in describing the type
  of alternative education programs needed to provide
  educational services to these students.

  To minimize the data-collecting requirements imposed on
  local school divisions, Virginia Department of Education
  staff members have incorporated the data collection
  requirements of four other state or federal reporting
  systems for the 1998-99 school year: Virginia's Crime and
  Violence data collection (as required by 22.1-280.1),
  the new data required by the Individuals with
  Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 regarding
  suspension and expulsion of students with disabilities,
  the data required by the Safe and Drug Free Schools and
  Communities Act, and the Gun Free Schools Act.

  Enclosed are:  a) instructions for data gathering,
  including codes to be used in submitting the data; b) a
  form for paper recording of each incident (to be
  duplicated for each incident if paper reporting is used);
  and, c) a diskette with the spreadsheet for this data
  collection instrument in both Excel and Lotus formats.  

  Cumulative data are to be submitted at the end of each
  semester.  The data will be analyzed by the Commission on
  Youth.  Please send compiled paper reports or a completed
  spreadsheet to    
  Mr. Paul Raskopf, Special Education Data Manager, at the
  Department of Education.  

  First semester submissions are due in January 1999, and
  second semester submissions are due by June 30, 1999. 
  Questions regarding the spread sheet can be directed to
  Ms. Kim Echelberger, Legislative Analyst, at (804) 371-2481
  or The Commission on Youth, General Assembly
  Building, Suite 517B, Richmond, VA 23219.

  Questions regarding the data to be gathered may be
  directed to Mr. Raskopf or Ms. Marsha O. Hubbard, School
  Safety Specialist in the Office of Special Education and
  Student Services.  Ms. Hubbard can be reached at (804)
  225-2928 or  Mr. Raskopf can be
  reached at (804) 225-2080 or


  Enclosures:  A hard copy of this memo and its attach-
               ment will be sent to the superintendent's