Superintendent's Memo #156-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

June 5, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: The 2009 Virginia Science Standards Institute

The Virginia Department of Education, Office of Elementary Instructional Services, is pleased to announce the 2009 Virginia Science Standards Institutes (VSSI). The Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH), the Science Museum of Virginia, and six other state agencies will conduct two Institutes this summer. These six-day summer learning experiences for fourth- and fifth-grade teachers are designed to support the implementation of the Science Standards of Learning. The first VSSI, scheduled for July 19-24, will be conducted at Twin Lakes State Park, in Prince Edward County, Virginia. The second VSSI, scheduled for August 2-7, will be conducted at Hungry Mother State Park, in Smyth County, Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will assume the cost of registration, lodging, and meals for all participants of the Institutes. School divisions are encouraged to cover travel expenses for division participants as this cost is not assumed by the VDOE; however, this is not a requirement of the program.

The two VSSIs will model effective science instruction through sessions taught by experienced science educators. The Institutes will provide detailed content training, model best practices in science instruction, and supply printed materials and hands-on resources that can then be used by the teachers in their classrooms to support and enhance their teaching of the grade level science content and investigative skills. Participants will also be encouraged to attend the annual Virginia Association of Science Teachers' (VAST) state conference which will be held this year at the Dulles Airport Hilton Hotel, Herndon, Virginia, on November 5-7, 2009. Participants in past years have found the VSSI to be an extremely valuable learning experience and a great opportunity to network with scientists and other teachers from all regions of the state.

Enrollment for each Institute is limited to 25 teachers (50 total) from across the state. Participant selections will be based on several criteria. Applicants from schools accredited with warning in science will be given first priority for participation in the Institutes. Selection criteria also include the order in which applications are received, a balance of participants from the eight superintendents' regions, and a balance of participants from each school division.

The application form is attached to this memorandum. Teacher applications must be received at the Department of Education by 5 p.m. on June 22, 2009. Applications can be e-mailed, mailed, or faxed. Notification of acceptance will be provided to applicants and the applicants' school principals by e-mail on or before June 26, 2009.

Please e-mail, mail, or fax completed applications to:

Barbara Young, Elementary Science Specialist
Virginia Department of Education
P.O. Box 2120
James Monroe Building, Floor 24
Richmond, VA 23218-2120
Fax: (804) 786-1703

If you need additional information about the 2009 Virginia Science Standards Institutes, please contact Barbara Young, Elementary Science Specialist, Office of Elementary Instructional Services, by e-mail at, or by telephone at (804) 225-2676.

PIW / MA / rt


a. 2009 Virginia Science Standards Institute Application (Word)