Superintendent's Memo #155-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

June 5, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Youth Tobacco Survey

In the fall of 2009, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will administer the Youth Tobacco Survey in randomly selected school divisions for the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation. VCU conducted this survey in schools in 2003, 2005, and 2007.

The random survey sample, drawn by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will include an estimated total of 2,000 students in the selected middle and high schools. We anticipate that about 100 classrooms will be surveyed.

Each survey requires one 45-minute class period to administer. A classroom teacher, or other school personnel, may administer the survey, or a survey administrator will be provided. The survey process will be coordinated by VCU.

Your cooperation in allowing the survey to be administered (at no cost) in your school division will be appreciated because the data obtained will serve a number of purposes.

Collecting the data will:

  1. Provide a comparative data set to monitor trend data established in prior surveys;
  2. Offer data to organizations for use in obtaining grant funding;
  3. Support the planning efforts of other state agencies, including the Governor's Office for Substance Abuse Prevention;
  4. Support community prevention coalitions in determining targeted risk factors and selecting appropriate science-based tobacco use prevention programs;
  5. Assist in determining the need for technical assistance and direction for future efforts, and;
  6. Support evaluation of the effectiveness of the Commonwealth's tobacco use prevention programs.

If a school is selected as part of the statewide random sample, school division superintendents will be contacted directly by VCU. As an added service, school divisions may choose to contract separately with VCU to expand the size of the sample to collect their own separate division-level data.

To request a sample of the survey, or to obtain additional information, please contact Mert Rives, coordinator for the Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey, at (804)828-6760 or

PIW / CAC / nc