P.O. BOX 2120




January 28, 2005




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



National Education Technology Plan 2004 and Schools Interoperability Framework Membership


On January 7, 2005, United States Education Secretary Rod Paige released the National Education Technology Plan, Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today's Students are Revolutionizing Expectations. We are pleased that Virginia is praised in the USED report for pioneering online testing and improving instruction through the Web-based Standards of Learning (SOL) Technology Initiative.


The national strategy for educational technology outlined in the plan includes seven major action steps, with recommendations for all schools and states to use to utilize technology to its fullest potential. A vital component is the development of systems that allow teachers, principals, and administrators to track student achievement and adjust instruction more effectively to individual needs. Virginia has taken steps to address this need through the Educational Information Management System (EIMS) Program.


Action Step 7 of the Education Technology Plan is Integrated Data Systems.  According to the plan, "Integrated, interoperable data systems are the key to better allocation of resources, greater management efficiency, and online and technology-based assessments of student performance that empower educators to transform teaching and personalize instruction.  A recommendation under this Action Step is, "Ensure interoperability.  For example, consider Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Compliance Certification as a requirement in all RFPs and purchasing decisions.


On December 1, 2004, the Virginia Department of Education and the SIF Association announced a formal partnership at the 2004 Educational Technology Leadership Conference in Roanoke. The SIF Association is a unique non-profit collaborative of over 250 schools, districts, states, the USED, vendors, and consultants collectively defining the rules and regulations for educational software data interoperability. 


The Virginia partnership includes SIF memberships for all 132 school divisions within the state. Membership in SIF gives Virginia school divisions the opportunity to participate in establishing the priorities, rules, and definitions to empower educational end-users to choose software applications allowing data interoperability between local systems components and automate mandated reporting cycles from divisions to the state and from the state to USED.


To ensure effective communication with you regarding our SIF membership, we are requesting that each division designate an official SIF contact by having the school and staff administration contact complete the Web form located at

SIF contacts should be familiar with the various information systems in place in your division and schools, as well as your overall network topology. Official SIF contacts will receive a welcome package and other membership information directly from the SIF Association.


The full text of the National Education Technology Plan is available at


More information on the EIMS program may be found at


SIF sample RFP language, certified products, interoperability readiness surveys, implementation tools, end-user discussion forums and membership information can all be found on the SIF website at


Please direct questions regarding these initiatives to Lan Neugent, assistant superintendent for technology (, 804-225-2757) or Bethann Canada, director of information management (, 804-225-2099).