P. O. BOX 2120
October 6, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Governor Gilmore Announces Partnership with AOL

On September 6, 2000, Governor Gilmore’s office announced a new partnership with America Online for Virginia’s schools. Virginia will be the first state to implement the AOL@SCHOOL program for K-12 students. The new America Online program is a free public portal for teachers, students, and parents.

One of the coming special features will be "State Focus." In addition to the present Department’s Web pages for Standards of Learning (SOL) resources and documents, the AOL "State Focus" section of AOL@SCHOOL will provide a new avenue of access to Virginia SOL documents and teaching resources, and to the Commonwealth of Knowledge website sponsored by Mrs. Gilmore.

To fully utilize the student e-mail and messaging features of AOL@SCHOOL, special AOL software is required. AOL will be disseminating the software free of charge to school divisions. School division representatives have requested that the software be sent to each central office so that technology staff can be certain it is compatible with the division system before it is disseminated to all schools. The software is due to be shipped the week of October 10, 2000.

The package AOL will send your superintendent has an individual envelope addressed to each school building in your district. AOL matches the software to each school’s Federal ID number, and it is important to make sure that the correct envelope goes to each school!

Content filtering is also provided free through the AOL@SCHOOL software. AOL assigns each portal a filtering setting appropriate for the age of the student (teachers and administrators are not filtered). Each school’s envelope contains registration codes that determine the filtering level for each portal. Also, e-mail, Chat, and Instant Messaging are available for everyone, but we disable them for students. You can use the special Account Management Tool (AMT) to "turn on" these features as you see fit in accordance with your Acceptable Use Policies.

Although your schools’ software will arrive soon, all six AOL@SCHOOL portals are available for use anytime, from any browser at The online "Help" menu provides information about using nearly every aspect of the service.

As with any program, we recommend that the product be evaluated, and that the "Terms of Use" and the "Privacy Policy" of AOL@SCHOOL be read thoroughly by school administrators before beginning use of the program.

The Department of Education is not responsible for the content of AOL@SCHOOL or its related linked sites. Concerns should be directed to America Online.

For additional information you may contact Joyce Faye White, instructional technology specialist, Virginia Department of Education at (804) 225-2958 or (