P.O. BOX 2120




June 22, 2007




Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Division-Level Academic Reviews



The Code of Virginia, in 22.1-16, vests the Board of Education with the authority to promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out its powers and duties and the provisions of Title 22.1. House Bill 1294 passed by the General Assembly and signed into law on April 15, 2004, gave the Board of Education the authority to require a division-level academic review in school divisions where findings of a school-level academic review showed that the failure of the schools to reach full accreditation was related to the local school boards failure to meet its responsibilities under the Standards of Quality, Code of Virginia, 22.1-253.13:1 through 22.1-253.13:8.


House Bill 1294 also required that the Board of Education promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this act to be effective within 280 days of its enactment. The Board of Education promulgated emergency regulations as a result of this requirement. These emergency regulations expired on February 15, 2006. In September 2005, the Board of Education submitted proposed regulations to replace the emergency regulations. During the October 25, 2006 meeting of the Board of Education, the Board adopted the proposed language of the Regulations for Conducting Division-Level Academic Review, 8 VAC 20-700-10 et seq., and directed the Department of Education to proceed with the final stages of the administrative process. The final regulations, 8 VAC 20-700-10 et seq., were approved on February 15, 2007.


As indicated in the attached regulations, the Board of Education shall consider the following criteria in selecting school divisions for division-level academic reviews: the school divisions accountability determination for student achievement, as required in federal law; the percentage of students attending schools that are not fully accredited in the division exceeds the statewide average; and school academic review findings in the division report the failure of the divisions schools to reach full accreditation is related to the school boards noncompliance with the Standards of Quality.


The Department will use the accreditation ratings and pass rates of the divisions schools based on Standards of Learning assessments in the 2006-2007 academic year and the findings from the academic reviews completed in 2006-2007 to consider school divisions for division-level review.

All division-level academic reviews shall be conducted in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board of Education, which may include, but not be limited to: on-site reviews; interviews of school division personnel; review and observation of operational practices; and, the analysis of data related to compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. The Department of Education is authorized to contract with organizations or agencies to conduct division-level academic reviews. Reports of the academic review findings shall be given to the division superintendent, the chair of the local school board, and the Board of Education.


If you should have any questions regarding the division-level academic review process, please contact Kathleen Smith, director, Office of School Improvement, at (804) 225-2865 or by e-mail to