P. O. BOX 2120
June 30, 2000
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Superintendentís Leadership Advisory Council

The Superintendentís Leadership Advisory Council 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 Superintendentís Memorandum.

The minutes of the meeting of June 9, 2000, are attached. If you have questions regarding this information, please contact Richard Layman at (804) 225-2024.

Thank you.



Superintendentís Leadership Advisory Council

June 9, 2000

Present:                            Dr. Mark A. Edwards, Dr. Gwen Edwards for Harry Ward, Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick,
                                        Dr. John H. Kidd, Dr. David Martin, Samuel S. Cook for Woodrow W. Mullins,
                                        Dr. Walter A. McFarlane, Dr. Steven R. Staples, Dr. Timothy R. Jenney for Dr. Jane T. York;
                                        Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary, Dr. Richard Layman, Dan Timberlake, Lan Neugent,
                                        Cameron Harris, Charles Finley, Jo Bunce, Kent Dickey, David Crossley, Kelly Richards; and
                                        Bob Rotz, Steve Ford, Ashley Colvin, and Kimberly Maluski from JLARC.

Dr. DeMary opened the special called meeting of the Superintendentís Leadership Advisory Council. She welcomed members of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and called attention to the importance of studying state and local funding for the Standards of Quality for public schools in Virginia. Although the JLARC study does not involve an assessment of the Standards of Learning and the SOL testing program, it does include a review of the costs and funding of the SOL program.

Standards of Learning Technology Initiative

Lan Neugent distributed copies of a superintendentís memo and talked about Web-based SOL testing from the technology point of view; he encouraged the council to provide feedback as this initiative is developed. Ultimately, it will result in a quicker return on test scores. (Refer to Supts. Memo No. 113, Informational, dated June 2, 2000.) Dr. DeMary pointed out the importance of this technology. She said there is a need to determine how it can be used for remediation, intervention, and instructional programs.

Mr. Neugent said that more and more instructional resources are coming online. He said that the funding formula for statewide Web-based SOL technology provides $26,000 per school, plus $50,000 for the school division. High schools will prepare for online testing first, followed by middle and elementary schools. To receive funding, school divisions should submit the "Intent to Participate" statement and develop a plan for the use of funds by November 1, 2000. He said the format for plans for use of funds will be provided in a superintendentís memo by July 1, 2000. School divisions must commit to having online testing capabilities by May 1, 2003. Cam Harris stated that there have been discussions about backup systems (to online testing) such as paper tests, dual testing, split screens, text writing, and the need to review answers. Dr. Hatrick said that the school divisions would need to know the minimum basic requirements for purchasing equipment to be used in online testing. Mr. Neugent said that the legislation has some minimum requirements, and after the pilot projects have been conducted more guidance should be available.

Dan Timberlake noted that Virginia Public School Authority rules and procedures will apply to these funds and IRS issues also are involved. Mr. Neugent said the real challenge will be configuration in schools and asked superintendents to help make this initiative successful.

JLARC Standards of Quality Funding Study

Dr. DeMary introduced the JLARC senior division chief, Bob Rotz. Other members of the team are Steve Ford, Ashley Colvin, and Kimberly Maluski. Mr. Rotz explained that the JLARC studyís focus is to determine school division practices and expenditures that go beyond the Standards of Quality. He said that they anticipate an interim report in December and a final report in August 2001. Steve Ford, the project leader, distributed handouts outlining the proposal. He called attention to general study issues, such as, what expenditures are made beyond the SOQ, a list of research activities, a map of the regions, and the project schedule. Mr. Ford said the project team would use 1998 data and would survey school divisions directly for more detailed information, which will be analyzed in the spring.

A draft brochure describing public forums to be held to gather information for the reports was distributed to council members with the caution that it is still a "draft" and should not be publicized at this time. Mr. Ford reviewed the various sections of the brochure with the council.

The council was asked to assist JLARC in setting up the public forums and advising the JLARC staff on best ways to conduct the meetings. Dan Timberlake asked the council members to stress in their regional meetings the importance of completing and submitting data for the annual school report by September 15 of this year.

Mr. Ford explained the procedure followed by JLARC when complying with a mandate from the General Assembly to conduct studies. He said that before a final report on a study is submitted to the legislature, the agency involved has the opportunity to review the information for comments.

There was some discussion about the report and the public forums during which council members gave their opinions and suggestions about times, locations, and other details. These comments emphasized the importance of participants in the forums being asked to provide their comments in writing and that the time allotted for comments be limited. The JLARC staff expressed appreciation for the meeting and the comments received.

Several superintendents mentioned the high costs of providing educational programs for children with disabilities and the extra services required to meet studentsí IEPs. Dr. Mark Edwards, the superintendent of Henrico County Schools, noted that the public schools are serving preschool children and those up to 22 years of age. Besides the costs of the services, he pointed out, there are substantial court costs associated with special education cases.

It was suggested that the JLARC committee might want to meet with superintendents and financial officers because of their unique insight into the real costs of providing special education services. Dr. DeMary suggested that members of the JLARC committee might wish to be included on agendas for regional superintendentsí meetings and arrange to have the financial officers attend with the superintendents. She noted that such meetings would give JLARC members the opportunity to be in contact with every local superintendent and financial officer in the state. Steve Ford asked the superintendents to provide the committee with several dates when the regional meetings might be arranged. It was suggested that the regional superintendentsí meetings and the public forums be scheduled on the same dates in some of the more remote parts of the state to minimize travel.

Mr. Ford said that the JLARC committee would use the information gathered in these meetings to help it develop questions for the survey. Mr. Rotz said that the survey instrument could be pre-tested with the Superintendentís Leadership Advisory Council before it is sent to school divisions and give the council the opportunity to offer suggestions about it. Dr. DeMary indicated that the council and the DOE would cooperate as much as possible.

Dr. Ed Hatrick distributed a brochure about an instructional conference to be held in Northern Virginia at the end of June, and invited anyone who wished to attend to sign up for it.

Dr. DeMary recognized three members who will rotate off the council:

Dr. Jane York (who was not in attendance)
(She indicated that the council looks forward to working with Tim Jenney, her replacement);

Phil Worrell (who was not in attendance);

Dr. Mark Edwards Ė who was presented with a framed copy of a resolution honoring his work and leadership on the council and congratulating him as he goes further as superintendent of the year.

As the business was completed, Dr. DeMary adjourned the meeting.