Superintendent's Memo #213-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

August 7, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Professional Development Opportunities for Economics & Personal Finance Course

In February 2009, the Virginia Board of Education adopted revisions to the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8 VAC 20-131-5 et seq.). Included in these revisions were changes to graduation requirements effective with the ninth-grade class of 2010-2011. One of the changes is the addition of a one-credit requirement in economics and personal finance for the Standard, Standard Technical, Advanced Studies, and Advanced Technical Diplomas.

On June 25, 2009, the Board accepted for first review the proposed Economics and Personal Finance Standards of Learning, with public hearings scheduled for September. During the June meeting, the Board expressed a desire for school divisions to have flexibility in implementing this course requirement. Included in this flexibility is the understanding that a course to satisfy the economics and personal finance requirement could be housed in any number of departments, including history and social science, mathematics, and career and technical education. Accordingly, the course may be taught by teachers with endorsements in history and social science, mathematics, business and information technology, marketing, family and consumer sciences, and agricultural education. Further, the course may be taught either as a one-credit course in economics and personal finance or as two half-credit courses, one each in economics and personal finance.

Throughout the development of the Economics and Personal Finance Standards of Learning, the Virginia Department of Education worked closely with the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE), a nonprofit public-private partnership. While the requirement does not go into effect until the 2010-2011 school year, and even then, those ninth graders have until their graduation to complete the course, the Council is committed to supporting teachers who will teach this course(s) in the 2010-2011 school year. VCEE will begin offering professional development opportunities in economics and personal finance in spring and summer 2010 to provide teachers with the support they may need to deliver the content effectively. The development opportunities will include quality teaching materials and lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms.

The VCEE is interested in gauging the need and interest in these professional development opportunities for teachers in your school division in order to develop an implementation plan. While this is not a binding commitment, and teachers are not required to participate in this professional development, it would be very helpful if you would complete, to the extent possible, VCEE's survey by August 28, 2009. The survey is found here A copy of the survey questions is attached. Your response is important to help VCEE plan for sufficient professional development that will best meet your needs.

If you have questions or suggestions related to the VCEE's professional development opportunities, please contact Sarah Hopkins Finley, director of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, at (804) 827-1211 or For questions related to implementation of the Economics and Personal Finance requirement, please contact Beverly Thurston, history and social science coordinator, at (804) 225-2893 or; or Judith Sams, business and information technology specialist, at or (804) 371-0196. If you need additional information about Virginia graduation requirements in general, please contact Felicia Dyke, director of middle and high school instruction, at or (804) 225-2651.

PIW / LMW / oml


a. Survey Questions from the Virginia Council on Economic Education