Superintendent's Memo #019-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

January 21, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Opportunity for Division Training & Technical Assistance in Autism

The Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center of Excellence (VCU ACE) is a new collaborative partnership between the Department of Education; the VCU School of Education, Department of Special Education and Disability Policy; the VCU School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; and the VCU Research Rehabilitation and Training Center. VCU ACE is dedicated to improving outcomes for students with autism by providing long-term training and technical assistance options for school divisions across the Commonwealth.

VCU ACE is seeking applications from school divisions to receive direct technical assistance and embedded professional development from VCU ACE faculty. Up to eight selected sites will receive intensive support that will focus on improving the division's ability to provide high quality research-based programming and support services for students with autism. The technical assistance model, process and benefits of participation in the ACE initiative are described in the attached application. Divisions not selected for participation this year will be able to access training and technical assistance from VCU ACE through a variety of options. These opportunities will be advertised on the VCU ACE Web site. The Web site is anticipated to go live the second week of February.

An informational webinar will be held Tuesday, February 1, 2011. Special Education Directors are encouraged to attend. Alternating participation in the online webinar will be accessed according to the name of the school division (details below) to create optimal participation and flexibility.

Divisions A-E   10 am- 11:45 am
Divisions F-M   Noon - 1:45 pm
Divisions N-Z   2 pm- 3:45 pm

A team including staff from the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center of Excellence will describe the components of the initiative as well as the expectations for the application process. Details concerning the webinar will be e-mailed to Special Education Directors and information (including an archived version of the webinar for those unable to participate on February 1st) will be available at

The application is attached. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 25, 2011. The selection of the final ACE Technical Assistance sites will be through a competitive process.

Applications may be mailed to:

Jan Hensel-Smith
Virginia Commonwealth University
Autism Center of Excellence
1314 West Main Street
P.O. Box 842011
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2011

If you have any questions or need assistance with the submission of the application or the above information, please contact Samantha Marsh, Education Specialist for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities at the Virginia Department of Education at (804) 371-7421 or via e-mail at or Carol Schall, Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center of Excellence at (804) 828-4523 or via e-mail at



  1. ACE Application (PDF)