P. O. BOX 2120
June 25, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Pre-accreditation Eligibility
The Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public 
Schools in Virginia adopted by the State Board of Education in 
1997 prescribe an annual accrediting cycle for schools and 
require that schools certify compliance with certain provisions 
of the standards as a prerequisite to accreditation.  The 
regulations, in 8 VAC 20-131-280 D, include the following 

Pre-accreditation requirements: As a prerequisite to 
the awarding of an accreditation rating as defined in 8 
VAC 20-131-300, Application of the Standards, each new 
or existing school shall document, in a manner 
prescribed by the Board, its compliance with the 
requirements to offer courses that will allow students 
to complete the graduation requirements in 8 VAC 20-
131-50, the ability to offer the instructional program 
prescribed in 8 VAC 20-131-70 through 8 VAC 20-131-100, 
the leadership and staffing requirements of 8 VAC 20-
131-210 through 8 VAC 20-131-240 and the facilities and 
safety provisions of 8 VAC 20-131-260.

Please return one copy of Attachment A (Form UG.002) for each 
school, along with any required corrective action plans, on or 
before July 23, 1999. Instructions for completing the forms are 
attached.  Please make copies to distribute to your schools with 
the forms.

The Board also adopted a policy to identify various educational 
entities in the state that would be recognized as "schools" for 
accreditation purposes.  Only schools that have students in fall 
membership will be held accountable for meeting the standards.  
While schools that do not report fall membership will not be 
accredited independently, facilities that provide instruction to 
students who are reported in fall membership data at their home 
schools are not fully relieved of the responsibility for meeting
other applicable standards. They will share the accreditation 
rating of the schools that serve as their students' home schools.  
A Form UG.002 must be submitted for all schools in the division 
including those with no fall membership.

Some schools have been identified that do not house a grade that 
is tested in the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment program 
or offer courses that require an end-of-course SOL test.  For 
accrediting purposes, that school must be paired with another 
school with which it has a feeder relationship and a grade to be 
tested.  For example, schools with a K-2 grade configuration 
should be paired with a school that houses a third-grade class 
and receives students from the K-2 school (a majority or 
significant number of those students would be preferred).  
Another example is a school that houses only grades 6 and 7.  The 
preferred pairing may be for a school housing the 8th grade to 
receive students in grades 6 and 7.  Where there are such schools 
in a division, they are listed on Attachment B (Form UG.003).  
Please use the form to recommend how these schools should be 
paired or to make changes to last year's pairings.

On July 1, 1995, the Board began accrediting child day care 
programs operated by public schools.  Those programs must meet or 
exceed regulations for private day care providers issued by the 
Child Day Care Council.  The Board of Education promulgated 
regulations that incorporate by reference those of the Child Day 
Care Council.  If schools in your division are operating child 
day care programs (preschool or extended day), please indicate 
that fact on Attachment A where requested.  The regulations 
exempt the following programs:

Instructional programs offered by public schools that 
satisfy compulsory attendance laws or the Individuals 
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and 
extracurricular activities that are focused on single 
interests such as, but not limited to, music, drama, 
art, sports, or foreign languages are exempt from the 
requirements of these regulations.

If you have questions, please contact Charles W. Finley, Director 
of Accreditation, at 804-786-9421 or via e-mail to

Attachments:    A hard copy of this memo and its attachment
                will be sent to the superintendent's office.

                         P. O. BOX 2120
                 RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120



8 VAC 20-131-280 D of the Regulations Establishing Standards for 
Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia requires that schools meet 
pre-accreditation eligibility criteria as a prerequisite to 
receiving an accreditation rating.  8 VAC 20-131-290 B 
establishes the process for certifying compliance with those 
criteria.  A Form UG.002 must be completed for each school that 
is identified by a school number assigned by the Department of 
Education.  The form must be signed by the principal and returned 
to the division superintendent.  The superintendent will also 
sign the form and return all of the forms for schools in the 
division to the Department.  If the school reports that it is not 
in compliance with a requirement of the standards, a corrective 
action plan must be submitted that describes what actions will be 
taken to bring the school into compliance and the time lines for 
the plan.


Each school must report the number of instructional personnel 
assigned to the school.  This number should include all teachers 
including special education, resource, and itinerant teachers but 
should not include principals, assistant principals, counselors 
or librarians/media specialists.  Itinerant teachers should be 
counted as a percent or fraction representing the amount of time 
spent in the school on a weekly basis.

When reporting the number of staff teaching outside their area of 
endorsement, you should report those teachers whose primary 
teaching assignment is in a subject or grade for which they do 
not hold an endorsement.  Primary teaching assignment means that 
the teacher teaches 4 of 6 periods, 5 of 7 periods, or 3 of 4 
blocks or 6 of 8 blocks in block scheduling situations.  Teachers 
who hold provisional licenses should be included in this count 
but teachers who are teaching under a special education 
Conditional License should not.


Each school must report the existence of child day care programs 
operated by the local school board that are housed in the school 
and accredited under the provisions of 8 VAC 20-590-10 et. seq., 
Minimum Standards for the Accreditation of Child Day Programs 
Serving Children of Preschool Age or Younger in the Public 
Schools or 8 VAC 20-600-10 et. seq., Minimum Standards for the 
Accreditation of Child Day Programs Serving School Age Children 
in the Public Schools.  This includes child care and before- and 
after-school programs but does not include vocational child-care 
programs or other programs operated under contract to outside 
agencies and organizations.


8 VAC 20-131-280 A 5 of the accrediting standards requires that 
schools that do not house a grade that is required to be tested 
and/or schools that do not offer courses for which there are SOL 
end-of-course tests be paired for accreditation purposes based on 
the recommendation of the division superintendent.  Form UG.003 
has been pre-printed to reflect pairings from the 1997-98 school 
year.  If there are changes to be made such as no further need to 
pair the schools shown on the form, please make those changes on 
the form itself.  The superintendent should make any changes to 
the information on the form (if necessary), sign it and return it 
with the other pre-accreditation forms for schools in the 
division.  The form must be signed and returned even if there are 
no paired schools or there are no changes.


The instructional staff information on Form UG.002 is used on the 
School Performance Report Card issued in accordance with 8 VAC 
20-131-270 of the accrediting standards as is the school pairing 
information.  Because of time line restrictions for preparing the 
report card, it is critical that the information be reported 
accurately and returned in a timely manner.  The superintendent 
will have an opportunity to verify the data prior to its being 
used for report card purposes.

All completed forms must be returned to the Office of 
Accreditation, Virginia Department of Education, P. O. Box 
2120,  Richmond, VA 23218-2120 no later than July 23, 1999.