P. O. BOX 2120
December 4, 1998


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Virginia Implementation of "Building a Presence for Science" - A Science Standards of Learning Leadership, Networking, and Training Support Program

  I am pleased to announce that Virginia has been selected by
  the Exxon Education Foundation and the National Science
  Teachers Association as one of twelve states to participate
  in a privately-funded initiative to help improve the
  delivery of academically challenging K-12 science education
  programs. The initiative, entitled "Building a Presence for
  Science," has as a major goal the formation of a state
  network of division key science leaders and science points
  of contact for all elementary, middle, and high schools.
  This memorandum serves as a formal invitation for your
  division to join the Department of Education, the Virginia
  Association of Science Teachers (VAST), the National Science
  Teachers Association (NSTA), and other public and private
  partners for this exciting opportunity. 

  The initiative will commence with an expense-paid, two-day
  intensive training institute for your division's key science
  leader at the Hotel Roanoke on March 1-2, 1999.
  Registration, meals, and single-occupancy lodging will be
  covered.  Each key science leader will receive a
  comprehensive Science SOL training package and numerous
  science education resources to use with your division's
  school-level science points of contact. The institute will
  feature a division "Share-Fair" session and showcase newly-developed SOL
  training materials and other important science
  education resources, including the National Science
  Education Standards. A selected sampling of commercial
  materials correlated with the Science SOL will be available
  for review during the two-day meeting. 

  As part of this voluntary initiative, the "Building a
  Presence" state coordinator will be asking each central
  office to designate one key science leader for the school
  division.  In turn, each key science leader, working with
  you, principals, and teachers, will name school-level
  science points of contact. After the March 1999 institute,
  key science leaders will be expected to share information
  and training with those points of contact. Copies of free
  science education materials, including the National Science
  Education Standards, will be made available to every
  participating school. The entire Virginia network will be
  linked both electronically with its own webpage and via
  quarterly newsletters to keep points of contact and key
  science leaders fully informed of effective new state and
  national science resources and programs.

  Improving student achievement of Virginia's science
  standards is the ultimate goal of the Virginia
  implementation of "Building a Presence for Science." Working
  cooperatively with our public and private partners, we will
  be able to achieve this goal. The Department of Education is
  looking forward to your participation in this effort, and I
  encourage your division to become a part of this important

  Additional details will follow shortly from the Virginia
  Coordinator for "Building a Presence for Science," Mrs.
  Billie Reid. Please share this memorandum with your key
  instructional leader, your SOL professional development
  initiative coordinator, and your division's science leaders.
  In the meantime, for additional information please contact
  either Jim Firebaugh, Elementary and Middle Science
  Specialist at (804) 225-2651 or Delores Dalton, Secondary
  Science Specialist at (804) 371-0778.


  c:    Key Instructional Leader
        Science Contact Person