P. O. BOX 2120

September 3, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Training Opportunities for Alternate Assessment Performance Indicators

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1997 
Amendments require all students with disabilities to be 
included in state and district-wide assessment programs, 
with accommodations and modifications if necessary.  For 
those students who are unable to participate in the general 
assessment programs, states must develop an "alternate 
assessment" process and implement the process by July 1, 

The Department of Education has been working with 
individuals from the Mid-South Regional Resource Center, 
the Virginia Institute for Developmental Disabilities at 
Virginia Commonwealth University, and a steering committee 
of diverse stakeholders across the eight Superintendents' 
Regions to address the alternate assessment process in 
Virginia.  This past spring local special education 
directors were given an opportunity, through regional 
directors' meetings, to review performance indicators and 
delivery practices that were developed by the statewide 
steering committee.  Their feedback, and that of others in 
the state, was incorporated into a final set of performance 
indicators and delivery practices.  This document was 
presented to the Board of Education in July for review and 

This fall we will sponsor a series of training activities 
based on the alternate assessment performance indicators 
and delivery practices.  The purpose of these sessions is 
to provide information about the following:

*the development of the alternate assessment system in 

*the content of the performance indicators and 
delivery practices, and

*methods for aligning the school's curriculum (for 
students who will participate in the alternate 
assessment process) with the performance indicators 
and delivery practices.  (Please note that this 
training will not address methods for measuring the 
performance of students who will participate in the 
alternate assessment process.  The measurement 
approach will be developed over the coming year.)

We have contracted with the Virginia Institute for 
Developmental Disabilities (VIDD) to organize and conduct 
this training. The training model will be a "trainer of 
trainers".  The participants will be provided with 
information, materials, and activities that may be used to 
train other school personnel and parents.  You are invited 
to send a maximum of five individuals to one of the 
training sessions.  These individuals should be interested 
in serving as trainers/mentors on the topic to others in 
your school division.  It is suggested that the following 
individuals attend.

*Director of Special Education
*Director of Testing
*Building Administrator
*Teacher of students who are likely to participate in 
   the alternate assessment

A total of 18 training sessions will be offered across the 
state during September, October, and November.  At least 
two sessions will be provided in each Superintendent's 
Region.  You are strongly encouraged to send a team to one 
of the training sessions offered in your region. However, 
your team may register for any session that best meets your 
needs.  The sessions will begin at 9 A.M. and conclude by 
4 P.M.  Since the training will provide time for teams to 
work together to develop a plan for disseminating 
information on the alternate assessment across the school 
division, all team members are requested to attend the same 
training session.  Please complete the enclosed 
registration forms at your earliest convenience.  You will 
receive a confirmation letter and directions after your 
registration is received.

If you have questions about the training logistics or need 
special accommodations, please call Paula Ropelewski at 
VIDD at 804/828-8243.  I hope you will take advantage of 
this opportunity to learn more about the alternate 
assessment and Virginia's progress toward including all 
students with disabilities in the state's assessment and 
accountability system. Questions about the alternate 
assessment program may be addressed to H. Douglas Cox, 
director, Office of Special Education and Student Services, 
at 804/225-2402.


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