Superintendent's Memo #124-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

May 21, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: The 2010 Virginia Science Standards Institutes

The Virginia Department of Education, Office of Elementary Instructional Services, is pleased to announce the 2010 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 four 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 11-16, 2010, will be conducted at Westmoreland State Park, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The second VSSI, scheduled July 18-23, will be conducted at Twin Lakes State Park, in Prince Edward County, Virginia. The third VSSI, scheduled for July 25-30, will be conducted at Twin Lakes State Park, in Prince Edward County, Virginia. The fourth VSSI, scheduled for August 8-13, 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.

Participants will have the option of enrolling in a three-credit graduate course in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Virginia Commonwealth University at a cost of $663.

The four 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 Professional Development Institute, A Vision for Innovation, which will be held this year at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, Hampton, Virginia, on November 18-20, 2010. 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 (100 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 8, 2010. 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 18, 2010.

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

Barbara Young, 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 2010 Virginia Science Standards Institutes, please contact Barbara Young, science specialist, office of elementary instructional services, by e-mail at, or by telephone at (804) 225-2676.



  1. 2010 Virginia Science Standards Institutes Application (PDF)