P. O. BOX 2120

September 24, 1999


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

Now that the 1999-2000 school year has begun, I wanted to 
take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the 
"Building a Presence for Science" program and to reiterate 
the Department of Education's continued support for its 
implementation.  As you may recall from Superintendent's 
Memo No. 181, dated December 4, 1998, the Exxon Education 
Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association 
selected Virginia as one of twelve states to participate in 
this privately-funded initiative.   

I am very pleased to inform you that the initial phase of 
the program has been an unqualified success.  Last March, 
key science leaders from 126 school divisions met for two 
days in Roanoke to begin the formation of the formal 
"Building a Presence" network. It is important to note that 
nearly half of these division leaders were classroom 
teachers.  Participants received numerous science education 
resources and used the opportunity to share materials and 
ideas and learn from each other.  Since the March meeting, 
the key science leaders working with principals and other 
division staff have identified almost 1200 building-level 
science points of contact.

The Department of Education continues to support the 
"Building a Presence" program in several ways.  In July, 
the Department provided full teacher scholarships for 
points of contact participating in the Virginia Museum of 
Natural History's "Virginia Science Standards Institute."  

The Department has recently provided an Eisenhower grant to 
the Science Museum of Virginia to support a series of eight
regional workshops for K-5 points of contact. 

Mrs. Billie Reid, the Virginia program coordinator, has 
been working closely with the Science Museum of Virginia 
and the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) to 
prepare another important professional development 
opportunity for key science leaders.  This will occur on 
November 4, 1999, at the Science Museum in Richmond, prior 
to the annual VAST conference on November 5 and 6.  A major 
component of the key science leaders' meeting will be the 
introduction and use of a new resource providing access to 
scientists/mentors for teachers and students statewide, the 
Virginia Science Resources Network.  

The "Building a Presence for Science" program is a 
voluntary initiative, and I hope that you will encourage 
your key science leaders and points of contact to continue 
to participate in this professional network.  Supporting 
the program can be an important component of the work of 
implementing the Science Standards of Learning, and 
professional experiences such as the November meetings may 
be supported by your SOL professional development funds in 
accordance with your approved division plans.  

Additional details will follow shortly from the Virginia 
"Building a Presence for Science" coordinator.  Please 
share this memorandum with your key instructional leader, 
your SOL professional development initiative coordinator, 
and your division's science leaders.  If you have any 
questions or comments, please contact Jim Firebaugh, 
elementary and middle science specialist at (804) 225-2651 
or Delores Dalton, secondary science specialist at (804)