P. O. BOX 2120
January 8, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Superintendent's Study Group
  The Superintendent's Study Group meets regularly.  It is
  composed of the chairmen of the eight regional study
  groups, plus the VASS officers.  We will distribute the
  minutes of each meeting by means of a Superintendent's

  The minutes of the meeting of December 11, 1998, are
  attached.  If you have questions regarding this
  information, please contact Richard Layman at (804) 225-2024.

  Thank you.


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

                Meeting of the Public Education
               Superintendent's Advisory Council
                 Friday, December 11, 1998

  Present:     Superintendents' Group: Mark A. Edwards, Howard
                 E. Wainwright, Russell L. Watson, Dennis W.
                 Kellison, Wayne K. White, Martin J. Laughlin,
                 Oliver A. McBride, Philip L. Worrell, and
                 Alfred L. Butler, executive director, and Andy
                 Stamp, assistant executive director, VASS.

          Department of Education: Paul D. Stapleton,
            Richard W. Layman, M. Kenneth Magill, Patricia
            Wright, Cameron Harris, Jo Lynne DeMary, Thomas
            Shortt, Diane Atkinson, M. Jo Bunce, Cynthia
            Cave, and Harry L. Smith.

     State Superintendent Paul D. Stapleton welcomed the
  superintendent's group and asked Mrs. Cam Harris to
  provide an update on the Virginia School Report Card that
  is being developed to inform parents about the
  performance of public schools.

     Mrs. Harris distributed copies of a draft of the
  School Report Card that reflected changes that were
  requested by the Superintendent's Report Card Committee. 
  During consideration of the Report Card, a general
  discussion developed regarding problems relating to the
  new accreditation standards and Standards of Learning

     Comments concerned the need for some method for
  provisional accreditation for schools not fully
  accredited, timing of the end-of-year assessment for high
  school students, and how the Board of Education decided
  on the 70 percent passing requirement for school

     Mr. Layman suggested that the superintendents'
  concerns be put in a report to be considered by the state
  superintendent and the Board of Education.  Dr. Butler
  suggested that the Superintendents Assessment Committee,
  headed by Dr. Edwards, be asked to study concerns and
  make recommendations for solving the problems.  Mr.
  Stapleton agreed to that suggestion and the committee
  will meet in February.

     Mr. Stapleton explained some of the problems
  involved in dealing with the superintendents' concerns
  and promised to provide any help that he can give to
  solve the problems.  He pointed out that the time-of-tests
  issue involves the new testing procedure and it is
  difficult to make changes until the Department of
  Education and the Board of Education have had more
  experience with the process.  The state superintendent
  noted that there has been much discussion about state
  testing and that he appreciated the suggestions and
  thoughtful solutions provided by local superintendents. 
  He expressed his commitment to maintaining local autonomy
  without interference from the state.

     In response to a question, Mrs. Harris said the
  school Report Card probably will be sent to school
  divisions about the third week in January to be
  distributed to parents.

     Dr. DeMary called attention to the fact that the
  Department of Education has signed a contract with
  Virginia Commonwealth University to design and conduct
  the evaluation of the SOL professional development
  initiative and that the report is being compiled.  She
  noted that some school divisions want to use the
  evaluation forms after they have been completed.  She
  said, however, that the data reported on the forms are
  confidential and cannot be shared.  She also stated that
  funds for the training initiative were provided by the
  General Assembly, which wants to be sure that the money
  allocated is bringing effective results.

     Ms. Karen Trump, a special education specialist
  working with new provisions of the Individuals with
  Disabilities Act, explained changes in the federal
  regulations governing IDEA.

     Mr. McBride said superintendents need a common set
  of terms and definitions used in referring to
  administrative software such as the old blue book, and
  asked if  a list could be provided.  Mr. Stapleton
  promised that this information will be furnished in a
  superintendent's memo.

     In the absence of other business, the meeting was