Superintendent’s Memo #105-15

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

April 24, 2015

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Support for Brookings Institution Research Project

The Virginia Department of Education is supporting a new Brookings Institution research project on “Exploring the Potential for Information to Transform the Market for Higher Education.”  This project offers Virginia schools a unique opportunity to inform national research on the critical topic of decision making about students’ postsecondary studies.  As a partner in this effort, VDOE has agreed to assist by providing non identifiable long-range student data and by encouraging schools to take part in the research opportunity.

This project has undergone rigorous review and consideration for approval, and we understand, through ongoing discussions and collaboration with the Brookings Institution and their subcontractor, that all participating schools and school divisions will receive helpful materials for high school students undertaking the college application and planning process.  We understand that participating schools' primary responsibility will be to distribute materials to students and parents that advise them of access to the study's online college information tool.  Please note that schools are not being asked to dedicate instructional time to the study.

We encourage you to consider participating in this research, which also offers the potential to support your efforts to ensure college and career readiness for your students.  Please let us know how we can be of further assistance as you consider joining this project in its phase of direct school involvement.

If you have additional questions, you may contact the study coordinator, Anna Nicotera, at 866-542-7908, ext. 103 or by e-mail at