P.O. BOX 2120



May 28, 2004



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Announcement of Guidelines for the Establishment of Continuation High Schools or Programs and Reminders of Options for Earning Verified Credits



The purpose of this memorandum is to communicate an additional option school divisions have available to assist students in earning a high school diploma. We also take this opportunity to remind school divisions of the options available for students pursuing a standard or modified standard diploma.


The 2004 General Assembly passed SB 553 that amends 22.1-26 of the Code of Virginia to allow joint or regional school boards to establish a continuation high school or program that would provide educational options that extend beyond the twelfth grade for students who have not met the requirements for a high school diploma. On May 26, 2004, the Board of Education adopted the attached guidelines for the establishment of continuation high schools or programs. The arrangements, organization, and operating procedures for continuation high schools or programs are governed by the Board of Educations Regulations for Jointly Owned and Operated Schools and Jointly Operated Programs (8VAC 20-280-10 and 8VAC 280-20).


The establishment of a joint or regionally operated continuation high school or program must be approved by the Board of Education if the school or program (i) is subject to the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Virginias Public Schools, or (ii) requires a waiver of Board of Education regulations. The Department of Education will review proposals submitted by the school divisions. The Department of Education will review the documentation and submit to the Board of Education a summary of the proposal and all waivers that require Board of Education approval prior to the school or program offering services to students. School divisions may establish joint or regional continuation high school programs that do not involve waivers of regulations without Board of Education approval.


In addition to continuation high schools or programs, school divisions have several options available to assist students in earning verified credits. As part of the Governors Project Graduation initiative the following resources are available:


As a reminder of additional actions taken by the Board of Education regarding the options available for students who should graduate in 2004, I refer you to the following superintendents memoranda and Web postings:



For more information contact Maureen B. Hijar (, director of secondary instruction, at (804) 225-2894 or Dr. Sylinda Gilchrist (, school guidance specialist at (804) 786-9377.