P. O. BOX 2120

March 10, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting 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 provision:

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 April 14, 2000. 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 for such a school 
would be with the school that receives its students for the eighth grade.  Attachment
B lists all paired schools for the 1998-1999 school year.  Please use the form to make any needed 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 

If you have questions, please contact Charles W. Finley, assistant superintendent 
for accountability services, at 804-786-9421 or via e-mail to


                               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 


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 
April 14, 2000.