Superintendent's Memo #208-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

July 29, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Transmittal of “Statement of Administrative Impact and Projected Costs of Implementation” for the Proposed Amendments to the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, 8 VAC 20-131

As part of its responsibility for promulgating new regulations or revising or repealing existing regulations, the Board of Education is required to develop a statement of the administrative impact and projected cost to school divisions of its regulatory action.  The Board and the Department of Education are required to send a copy of the statement to each division superintendent.

The Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (Standards of Accreditation) are designed to ensure that an effective educational program is established and maintained in Virginia's public schools.  At its meeting on June 23, 2011, the Board approved amendments to the regulations to comport with legislative changes that have been passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.  These changes address the provisions of House Bill 1554 and Senate Bill 810, House Bill 1793, House Bill 2172 and Senate Bill 953, House Bill 2494 from the 2011 General Assembly as well as House Bill 566 and Senate Bill 630 from the 2010 General Assembly.

The proposed changes are as follows:

  1. House Bill 1554 and Senate Bill 810 delay for one year (to school year 2012-2013) the implementation of the Standard Technical Diploma and the Advanced Technical Diploma, the Academic and Career Plan, and the new benchmarks for accreditation.  The new graduation requirements for the Standard Diploma and the Advanced Studies Diploma, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year for first-time ninth grade students, include one standard credit in economics and personal finance.

  2. House Bill 1793 permits students who are awarded a Modified Standard Diploma to be eligible to earn the Virginia Board of Education’s Seal for Excellence in Civics Education;

  3. House Bill 2494 permits the Virginia Board of Education to waive provisions of the Standard of Accreditation and approve alternative accreditation plans for any public school;

  4. House Bill 2172 and Senate Bill 953 specify that the Board of Education take into account school divisions’ increases in enrollments and elective course offerings in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the Virginia Index of Performance incentive program; and

  5. House Bill 566 and Senate Bill 630 require local school boards to report annually the number of Virginia Board of Education approved industry certifications obtained, state licensure examinations and national occupational competency assessments passed, Virginia workplace readiness skills assessments passed, and the number of career and technical education completers who graduated.

The changes to the regulations are necessitated by the passage of legislation by the General Assembly.  In order to comport with the legislative changes, these regulations must be amended.  The fiscal impact statements for these bills indicated that several of these bills could have a local administrative impact, but that no budget amendments were necessary.

Please contact the Office of Policy at (804) 225-2092, or by electronic mail at, if you need additional information or have questions.