P. O. BOX 2120


October 13, 2000
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Modeling Algebra for Student Success: Virginia Algebra Initiative for Secondary Schools

In an effort to assist with implementing the Standards of Learning for Algebra I, the Virginia Department of Education will institute a two-year algebra initiative. The goal of the initiative is to effect a paradigm shift in algebra instruction by involving teachers in professional development activities over an extended period of time.

Each division superintendent may select one teacher and an alternate from each high school in the school division. The teacher should be providing instruction in Algebra I or Algebra I, Parts I or II. A cohort of teachers will be formed in each Superintendentsí Region.

Professional development sessions will address how students learn versus how teachers teach, use of manipulatives in high school classrooms, and effective use of graphing calculators in Algebra I. Sessions will be transmitted electronically. Participating teachers will not require classroom release time. A residential algebra academy will be held in the summer of 2001. As part of the algebra initiative, the Department of Education is providing each Virginia public high school with an algebra manipulatives kit that will be shipped directly to the school for use by the algebra teachers. Post-professional development activities for the year one cohorts will be ongoing through year two of the initiative while year two cohorts are participating in professional development.

Registration information will be sent to mathematics contact persons in each school division and to high school principals. To be eligible for inclusion, participants must be registered by November 17, 2000.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Deborah Kiger Lyman, mathematics specialist, at (804) 786-6418 or (