VASSP Member Upodate, December 4, 2023

The December 11 Member Update will be last the last one of 2023. Happy Holidays!

State Articles of Interest  

New teacher licensure system to help with educator shortage | WAVY.com 

How Richmond Public Schools cut chronic absenteeism

Henrico Schools to open new ‘Centers for Innovation’ at 2 middle schools

Revised index to cause Clarke schools to rely more on local funds | Winchester Star

Kids keep missing school in Virginia. Leaders are looking to curb that.

Rising student overdoses in Virginia prompt increased transparency and call for recovery schools | WJLA

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/richmond/armstrong-high-school-updates-snack-policy-no-more-candy/

National Articles of Interest

PISA results show math performance declined globally amid COVID-19 | K-12 Dive

School districts face growing competition for students | K-12 Dive

How schools are addressing antisemitism and Islamophobia | K-12 Dive

‘Renewed urgency’ needed for early ed inclusion | K-12 Dive

New Jersey boots basic skills exam requirement for teacher candidates | K-12 Dive

Plaintiffs claim Iowa LGBTQ+ restrictions are ‘paralyzing’ schools | K-12 Dive

Rural students face persistent access barriers to counselors, gifted programming | K-12 Dive

Strategies to Improve Teacher Pay      

New Jersey boots basic skills exam requirement for teacher candidates | K-12 Dive

Martinsville High School students are learning to run their own small business

Virginia Department of Education listens to concerns from parents and teachers in open accountability session

DOE Updates

VBOE Listening Sessions Planned 

The Virginia Board of Education began the official regulatory process this past August to revise Virginia’s Standards of Accreditation with an intention of creating an accountability measurement separate from accreditation. The Board has been hosting listening sessions to help facilitate public engagement in the accountability measurement development process. Educators, parents, and citizens are invited to attend the remaining sessions in their region and comment on their expectations for accountability measurements. More information can be found on the VDOE website. Remaining dates and locations include:

Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m.:Brooke Point High School-1700 Courthouse Rd, Stafford, VA 22554

Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.:George Mason University Science and Technology Campus-building TBD

Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.:Liberty Middle School-1237 Lacey Putney Way, Bedford, VA 24523

Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m.:Career Technical Center-13900 Hull Street, Midlothian, VA 23112

Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m.:Indian River High School-1969 Braves Trail, Chesapeake, Virginia 23325

Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m.:Greensville County High School-403 Harding Street Emporia, VA. 23847

Mathematics Textbook Approval Process

At the September 14, 2023 Board of Education meeting, the Department of Education was authorized to proceed with the K-12 mathematics textbook state approval process. This process will take place in two phases.

  • Phase I is currently underway and is anticipated to be completed in April 2024. A list of publishers who have submitted materials is available on the 2024 Mathematics Textbook Review Process webpage.
  • Phase II is scheduled to begin in summer 2024. A full timeline of Phase II will be posted on the VDOE website no later than February 1, 2024. A list of publishers who have indicated that they intend to submit materials for Phase II is available on the 2024 Mathematics Textbook Review Process webpage. Please note that additional publishers may choose to submit their intent forms during Phase II.

Upcoming Accountability Listening Sessions

With the State Board of Education having begun the official regulatory process this past August to revise Virginia’s Standards of Accreditation with an intention of creating an accountability measurement separate from accreditation, the Board is planning listening sessions across the Commonwealth to help facilitate public engagement in the accountability measurement development process.

These listening sessions are intended to inform the Board and facilitate public input focused on potential accountability measures. The sessions are being coordinated by the Hunt Institute, an independent, non-profit organization.

For more information, including the listening session schedule and registration link, please visit the VDOE Accreditation and Accountability webpage. 

New ALL In Reading Options

To help address the varied level of support for literacy needed by students, VDOE has expanded the ALL in Tutoring reading initiative to include evidence-based reading resources from Ignite Reading and Lexia.

Lexia programs are now available for students participating in the ALL In Initiative in Grades 3-8 who are not proficient on the Virginia Standards of Learning. The department has added Lexia’s tutoring options, Lexia Core5® Reading and Lexia PowerUp Literacy®, in support of students with unfinished literacy learning because of pandemic learning loss.

Lexia Core5 Reading, Grades PK-5, provides explicit and systematic learning in six areas of reading instruction and delivering norm-referenced performance data without interrupting the flow of instruction. Core5 Reading provides an adaptive and individualized learning experience for Grades 3-5 struggling students and enables students of all abilities to advance their reading skills.  This Lexia Core5 Reading video provides more information on the program.

Lexia PowerUp Literacy, Grades 6-8, is designed to enhance core English Language Arts instruction for students with unfinished learning. PowerUp is proven to be up to five times as effective as the average middle school reading intervention, enabling students to potentially make multiple years of growth in a single academic year. More information on PowerUp is available in this Lexia PowerUp video . 

Ignite Reading continues to be available for students with the most critical needs and the most significant literacy-based learning loss. Ignite Reading will provide one-to-one, synchronous foundational reading skills tutoring to Virginia students with significant decoding gaps who require intensive Tier 3 support. Ignite Reading has a record of accelerating student reading growth with their evidence-based program meeting the goals of the Virginia Literacy Act. Ignite Reading should be reserved for students who need intensive or “Tier 3” type support for students with the most critical literacy needs. Their expertise in closing decoding gaps will help ensure that students who are reading well below grade level do not fall even further behind and that they develop crucial foundational reading skills.

If your school division is interested in using Lexia as a reading resource, please complete the Lexia Interest Form and Lexia will be in touch to begin your division’s implementation.

If you have questions regarding the All In Tutoring digital platforms for literacy, Dr. Marcey Sorensen (email) is available to assist.

VASSP Member Update, November 27, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Cellphone ban coming to 6 RPS schools following safety concerns

Chesapeake Public Schools to offer forum on fentanyl epidemic

Virginia Board of Education seeks community input for new school accountability systems | WCYB

https://richmond.com/news/local/education/hanover-schools-directs-principals-to-remove-75-books-from-libraries/article_51851a44-87e4-11ee-9cf4-efe249baa1be.html

Deputy superintendent outlines Fauquier’s plan to incorporate Youngkin’s ‘All In VA’ initiative | News | fauquiernow.com  

National Articles of Interest

Ed Dept calls on more states to develop innovative assessments | K-12 Dive

Eating bugs and sleeping on the roof: How some schools are reinventing fundraisers | K-12 Dive

‘Opportunity’ knocked — and stayed: The debate over private school vouchers | K-12 Dive

Assessing Discipline Policies

Poverty fueled pandemic impact on schools’ chronic absenteeism | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Ed. Department Updates

Last week, Secretary Cardona, Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, Under Secretary James Kvaal, and other senior Department officials held a series of meetings and listening sessions to learn more about the growing concerns of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of discrimination in schools, as well as announced a series of actions to address these issues (press release). 

On November 14, Under Secretary Kvaal hosted a listening session with leaders of 12 colleges and universities to hear about promising and effective strategies being implemented on campuses to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab hate since October 7.  Participants represented institutions from across the country — including public and private schools, two- and four-year schools, and urban and rural schools.  The Department will share these best practices more widely in the coming weeks. 

That same day, the Department released a fact sheet announcing new tools to tackle discrimination and bias, including specialized collections of resources designed to help students, parents, educators, and community members promote religious inclusion and keep students safe.  Notably, the agency’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is launching a webinar series for K-12 school personnel and community-based organizations to develop, strengthen, and share evidence-informed strategies to help prevent and respond to hate- and bias-based threats, bullying, and harassment.  The series kicks off with “Creating a Welcoming Environment” on December 6, followed by “Supporting Full Student Participation” on December 13, “Mediating Conflicts” on January 17, 2024, and “Providing Ongoing Targeted Supports” on February 14, 2024. 

On November 15, Secretary Cardona, Deputy Secretary Marten, and other Administration officials met with national Muslim, Arab, and Sikh community leaders to discuss new actions and resources to counter the alarming uptick in Islamophobic, anti-Arab, and anti-Sikh threats and violence within schools (readout), following a similar engagement with Jewish leaders on October 30 (readout). 

On November 16, Deputy Secretary Marten hosted a roundtable discussion with eight principals and superintendents from around the country, representing elementary and secondary schools and an array of school districts — large and small, urban and rural — to hear about useful strategies to combat hate. 

Also on November 16, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a list of K-12 schools and higher education institutions under investigation for alleged shared ancestry violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race, color, or national origin discrimination, including harassment based on a person’s shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.  Schools that violate the law and refuse to address issues identified by OCR may lose federal funding or be referred to the Justice Department for further action.  The list will be updated weekly on OCR’s web site (press release). 

And, on November 17, Secretary Cardona traveled to New York City for a meeting with the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council and leadership from Interfaith America regarding interfaith cooperation in order to protect all students. Compendia of resources for preventing and addressing antisemitism and Islamophobia in schools are available from the Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

VASSP Member Update, November 13, 2023

There will be no VASSP Member Update next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Articles of Interest  

Pre-K-12 enrollment plateaus in Va., but still down since COVID-19 nosedive

Danville school system crafts plan for state tutoring initiative

Pulaski Co. Public Schools investigating cyber attack

JWHS students offer insights on combating teen vaping | Winchester Star | winchesterstar.com

National Articles of Interest

School districts navigate wave of activism in wake of Israel-Hamas war | K-12 Dive

Middle school teachers need support to integrate SEL | K-12 Dive

LGBTQ+ issues increasingly targeted in K-12 censorship bills

Out-of-school suspensions cost California students 500,000 instruction days | K-12 Dive

State superintendent appointments mired in politics | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Virginia Literacy Act Training Requirements Update
Reading specialists are required to take the nine-module Canvas course after attendance at the reading institutes, hosted by Virginia Literacy Partnerships, to meet the training requirements as outlined in the Virginia Literacy Act. These modules will prepare reading specialists to successfully implement evidence-based literacy instruction and supports for students needing additional services. In addition, per the Virginia Literacy Act, teachers will receive training in evidence-based literacy instruction and science-based reading research. VDOE will provide a list of approved professional development programs that meet the requirements of the legislation later this spring. School divisions will have flexibility in the selection of a professional development for their teachers from the approved list. Read more in #2023-18 Virginia Education Update 2 November 2023.

Ed. Department Updates

ADDRESSING DISCRIMINATION 

As part of the Biden Administration’s continued efforts to address the alarming rise in reports of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and other hate- or bias-based incidents at schools and on college campuses since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a new Dear Colleague Letter, reminding educational institutions of their legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide all students — including those who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, or Arab — a learning environment that is free from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.  The Administration is implementing the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, and the White House recently announced it will develop a U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia.  The Department continues to carry out actions under the former strategy and anticipates additional actions in the forthcoming latter strategy (press release). 

The letter comes after Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Secretary Cardona, and other senior Administration officials met with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (readout). 

The letter also follows Secretary Cardona’s and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden’s trip to Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University.  There, they held a roundtable discussion with Jewish students from several area universities (photos), as part of the final stop of the Department’s Antisemitism Awareness Campaign.  Over the last month-plus, the agency conducted site visits in cities across the country. 

Notably, OCR issued an updated complaint form specifying that Title VI’s protection from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin extends to students who are perceived to be Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh or based on other shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.  Anyone who believes that an educational institution has discriminated against a student based on race, color, or national origin can file a complaint with OCR.  The individual who files the complaint does not have to be the target of the alleged violation but could be a family member, faculty, staff, or other concerned community member. These newly released documents are among the resources issued by OCR to support schools, colleges, and universities in complying with their Title VI obligations, which are compiled on OCR’s Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics web page.

VASSP Member Update, November 6, 2023

Articles of Interest  

‘Crisis on our hands’: Education, community leaders host panel on student literacy in Newport News – The Virginian-Pilot

‘Back to normal’: Next Va. budget faces big bills for Medicaid, education

Albemarle County Public Schools reinstate student resource officer program

Vape Detection Systems Installed At Alexandria High School Campuses | Del Ray, VA Patch

National Articles of Interest

How to support school communities in the wake of a mass tragedy | K-12 Dive

Use home visits to strengthen connections for newcomer students | K-12 Dive

Here’s what Biden’s AI executive order could mean for schools | K-12 Dive

3 ways to create a disability-inclusive curriculum | K-12 Dive

Reimagining the Teaching Job

Tennessee rushes to revamp its A-F letter grades for rating schools

Supreme Court grapples with school officials’ First Amendment rights in social media case | K-12 Dive       

DOE Updates

Virginia Literacy Act Training Requirements Update

Reading specialists are required to take the nine-module Canvas course after attendance at the reading institutes, hosted by Virginia Literacy Partnerships, to meet the training requirements for reading specialists as outlined in the Virginia Literacy Act. The Canvas modules will cover the following topics:

Reading Science and Explicit Instruction,

Data Literacy,

Phonological Awareness,

Targeted Instruction,

Fluency,

Phonics,

Vocabulary and Oral Language,

Comprehension, and

VALLS and VLA implementation.

These modules will prepare reading specialists to successfully implement evidence-based literacy instruction and supports for students needing additional services and allow them to continue to be the building experts that we need them to be as we implement evidence-based literacy instruction in our schools and school divisions. 

In addition, per the Virginia Literacy Act, teachers will receive training in evidence-based literacy instruction and science-based reading research. VDOE will provide a list of approved professional development programs that meet the requirements of the legislation later this spring, that will include the canvas modules offered by VLP.

School divisions will have flexibility in the selection of a professional development program for their teachers from the approved list to best meet the needs of their educators and communities. While the list of professional development will not be available until Spring 2024, we can share that LETRs training will be an allowable option among others.

Power of Parents Resources
Virginia ABC, in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the “Power of Parents” resources. he Power of Parents handbooks can help guide middle and high schooler in positive decision making and support ongoing conversations about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and substance abuse.  See additional information and resources on the website.  

Canvas’s Training Services Portal Weekly Sessions
Educators can participate in training sessions each week via Canvas’s Training Services Portal. To find any of the sessions listed below, first make sure you are logged into your Canvas account for your local school division. Click the Help button found on the lower-left of the screen and select Training Services Portal. Select the Live Training Calendar to register. Upcoming 4 p.m. sessions include:  
11/2: Managing Assessments with New Quizzes
11/3: Elementary Dashboard for Teachers
11/6: Gradebook and SpeedGrader
11/7: Getting Started with Canvas Badges

ALL In Tutoring

On September 8, Governor Youngkin outlined Virginia’s ALL In plan that defined high-intensity academic tutoring. This tutoring focuses on supporting those students who failed their SOLs or who demonstrated risk of failing, establishes options for tutors, schedules, ratios, and resources to ensure that tutoring can be successful in every school across the Commonwealth.

The hallmark of ALL In tutoring is learning acceleration. It is essential that tutoring match on grade level content and supports students connecting lost learning to what they are learning in the classroom every day.

Everyone is encouraged to be ALL In and become tutors, elevate educators, improve attendance and volunteer. Local school divisions will need a hands-on approach to serve the students in local communities and the students will need an investment from all stakeholders in order to close the gaps that the pandemic has left behind.  To aid school divisions in identifying tutors in their communities, the VDOE is creating a database of volunteers interested in helping students accelerate their learning. If you are interested in signing up to be a tutor, please complete the application. The Virginia Department of Education will share access to this list of potential volunteer tutors with school divisions indicating who could provide services in both reading and math for their students.  School divisions will ensure the proper processes have been followed regarding background checks and professional learning for alternative educators. For more information, visit the ALL In Tutoring webpage.

VASSP Member Update, October 30, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Portsmouth to begin using school speed zone cameras

Some Prince William Co. teachers, students report feeling safer with weapon detectors in place – WTOP News

Schools to implement ‘ALL In’ plan with added state funding; CIP projects discussed

After School Meals Program    

Virginia schools boosting enrollment with guaranteed acceptance programs | 13newsnow.com 

National Articles of Interest

Charter schools continue market share gains | K-12 Dive

6 ways to better communicate complex school issues | K-12 Dive

Food insecurity increased as pandemic-era meal waivers ended | K-12 Dive

5 steps to strengthening a career readiness culture | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

ALL In Tutoring Webinars ??

Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers

Contact: Dr. Marcey Sorensen, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching & Learning

To help school divisions plan their ALL In tutoring programs, VDOE is excited to announce the next steps in rolling out our free reading and math digital platforms.  Ignite Reading and Zearn will host a series of webinars in partnership with the VDOE to provide information about the platforms themselves so division leaders can make informed decisions about how to use each of these evidence-based approaches to accelerate student learning in your school division.  After each of these webinars, both companies stand ready to help plan implementation with your school division and prepare for use in your schools.  

If you have chosen to opt-in to using these platforms as a part of your high-intensity tutoring program, please make sure that your division has filled out the interest survey.  

ALL In Digital Platform Update – Ignite Reading 

Ignite Reading is excited to invite you to an Overview Meeting where we will introduce our one-to-one foundational reading skills tutoring program. Dr. Tania McKey, Director of Partnerships, will talk about Ignite Reading’s program format, curriculum, the quality of our tutors, the data you’ll receive, and how we collaborate with districts to ensure your students successfully close decoding gaps. You’ll have a chance to see what a tutoring session looks like and learn at a high level how the program is implemented across schools. Please join us for any one of the five scheduled Overview Meetings below. We look forward to supporting your students to become confident, independent readers.  

Overview Meetings – choose any one of these:  

Monday, 10/30 – 11:00 am – 12:00 pm 

Wednesday, 11/1 – 10:00 am – 11:00 am 

Thursday, 11/2 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Monday, 11/6 – 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Wednesday, 11/8 – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Join all these webinars using this Zoom link

Learn more about Ignite Reading using this overview document.

English Language Proficiency Assessments Test Administration Schedule: 2023-2024
The statewide ELP assessments testing window for the 2023-2024 school year opens January 16 and closes  March 22, 2024. School divisions must assess all English learners (ELs) with an approved ELP assessment during this testing window. A detailed ELP assessment test administration schedule for the 2023-2024 school year is available online and includes information and important dates for administering the assessments. Additional information is available on the Virginia English Language Proficiency Assessment webpage and the Virginia WIDA website

Level Up Virginia Website Launch
Virginians have a new tool to help them plan for their education after high school with a new website launched by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The Level Up Virginia website provides information on educational options such as certificate programs, apprenticeships, the military, trade schools, two-year and four-year colleges, and universities. In addition, the website offers tips for adult learners, students with disabilities, first-generation students, and English language learners. Check out this statewide initiative  to increase postsecondary readiness, enrollment, and completion for all students in the Commonwealth.

Ed. Department Updates

FOCUS ON THE ARTS 

During National Arts and Humanities Month, the White House Domestic Policy Council and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) co-hosted a convening about the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to arts and culture.  A year, ago, President Biden signed an Executive Order to spur investment and alignment across the federal government, make art more accessible to those from under-served communities, and expand opportunities for artists and scholars.  This meeting is building toward a first-of-its-kind public convening on January 30, 2024: “Healing, Bridging, and Thriving: A Summit on Arts and Culture in Our Communities.” 

Also, Secretary Cardona attended the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition Finals and All-Star Gala Concert in New York City (photos) and celebrated Public Radio Music Day with a video on the importance of music education. Separately, the NEA Big Read, established in 2016, supports Americans reading and discussing a single book in their communities.  Local governments, libraries, school districts, colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for one of an estimated 75 grants to be awarded for programming occurring between September 2024 and June 2025.  Besides funding, communities receive resources, including reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and audio guides with commentary from artists, educators, and public figures, as well as publicity materials.  For this new cycle, communities will choose from 50 titles.  The application deadline is January 24, 2024.

VASP Member Update, October 9, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Charting the future of AI in education: Henry County schools explore innovative classroom policies | WSET

Alexandria City Public Schools debuts new telehealth program to address student mental health | WSET

City School Board Discusses SRO Relationship, Potential Updates To Discipline Policies | News | dnronline.com

Montgomery Co. School Board sets collective bargaining rep for administrative personnel

Shenandoah County School Board again discusses library book selection policy | Nvdaily

National Articles of Interest

Supreme Court rejects multiple public school cases on first day of 2023 term | K-12 Dive

The do’s and don’ts of accelerated learning recovery | K-12 Dive

Rising inflation worsens the ‘teacher pay penalty’ | K-12 Dive

ACLU sounds alarms on school surveillance technologies | K-12 Dive

Restorative discipline practices in Chicago reduce student arrests | K-12 Dive

Schools challenged by stubbornly high chronic absenteeism in COVID’s wake – Chalkbeat

Using the full school grounds for lessons unlocks hidden opportunities | K-12 Dive

Small successes can motivate students to persevere through difficulties | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

ALL In Virginia

As school divisions move towards launching their ALL In high-intensity tutoring, the VDOE wants to make sure that school divisions are receiving the support they need for success. 

ALL In resources can be found on the VDOE ALL In VA webpage.  New FAQ’s have been added this week and can be found here. Spending plans will be posted on the ALL In VA webpage as they are approved.

Office hours to support school divisions with the completion of their spending plans start October 10th. Office hours will be available on Tuesdays from noon to 1pm. VDOE staff will be on call to support any questions that you may have. The September 22 Superintendent’s Email featured additional information on spending plans. 

Ed. Department Updates

FCC CONSIDERS REINSTATEMENT OF NET NEUTRALITY RULES 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced on Tuesday that she plans to reinstate net neutrality oversight of broadband providers that was rescinded under former president Donald Trump. Rosenworcel announced the effort at the National Press Club, kicking off a renewed fight over regulation. She is proposing the FCC take the first steps to commit to rules that would treat broadband internet as an essential service, putting it on par with water, power, and phone service. The proposal largely mirrors original rules adopted in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama and adds a clause on national security to close a loophole that allows foreign adversaries to access US broadband services. “In the wake of the pandemic and the generational investment in internet access, we have a window to update our policies to make sure that the internet is not only open, but fast and fair, safe, and secure,” she said. “Now is the time for our rules of the road for internet service providers to reflect the reality that internet access is a necessity for daily life.” A fact sheet can be found here. 

ED OUTLINES PROCEDURES TO EXTEND PANDEMIC AID SPENDING

Last week, the Department of Education (ED) outlined procedures schools will use to extend spending deadlines for nearly $130 billion in federal pandemic aid. In a letter to funding grantees, ED writes that “with one year remaining in the [American Rescue Plan (ARP)] fund period, it is important that States and local educational agencies continue to use emergency relief funds for effective, evidence-based strategies.” The letter also acknowledges that some grantees may require flexibility liquidating remaining Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Emergency Assistance to Non-Public School (EANS) funds under ARP that have been properly obligated by the September 30, 2024 deadline. The letter to grantees announces that the general liquidation extension that has been available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Acts will be available for ARP. While state and local education officials have long awaited ED plans for ARP extensions, the School Superintendents Association (AASA) has identified some issues with the announcement. AASA is saying procedures for other federal relief essentially require states to track every financial transaction that would be covered by an extension request. Repeating that process for potentially thousands more transactions will create an “unmanageable” situation that puts “a tremendous burden” on state and local education authorities, they added. Secondly, AASA states that for CARES and CRRSA ESSER, ED is only considering extensions for projects that were intended to be completed by the obligation deadline but were unexpectedly delayed by a specific circumstance. 

If continued for ARP, AASA claims, this may limit the reach of ARP funds. Lastly, the association suggests that continued mental health supports and services or any non-academic extensions would not be applicable for liquidation extensions nor would delays pertaining to construction of new or improved facilities.

VASSP Member Update, October 2, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Alexandria Public Schools launches app to combat absenteeism

Prince William Counterproposal on Teacher Salaries

Albemarle rerouting buses to help get more students to school amid driver shortage  

Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Announces Local Efforts to Celebrate the Attendance Awareness Campaign – The Virginian Review

SPS WATCH D.O.G.S brings dads and their kids together – The Suffolk News-Herald

National Articles of Interest

Many districts racing against the clock to spend ARP funds | K-12 Dive

Budget deal averts education funding nightmare | K-12 Dive

Blizzard of state test scores shows some progress in math, divergence in reading

Small successes can motivate students to persevere through difficulties | K-12 Dive

Boosting the early childhood workforce to boost the economy | K-12 Dive

More NYC teachers are frequently out sick following COVID-19 pandemic

97% of teens say they use their phones during the school day

Significant flaws found in special ed written state complaint process | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Medicaid & Schools | Virginia Department of Education

Earth Science Week October 8-14
Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme “Geoscience Innovating for Earth and People.” The coming year’s event will emphasize the many ways that innovations in the geosciences are helping communities create healthier and increasingly sustainable lives, while accelerating environmental problem-solving around the world. Classroom activities and other resources are available for students to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of the Earth.

Virginia Statewide LMS Credentials for Educators & Technology/Infrastructure Personnel
Four credential opportunities are available, with two tracks for teachers and other education personnel and two tracks for technology/infrastructure personnel. Each will include a series of webinars and a brief online course. Participants who successfully complete a track will earn a certificate and digital badge worth five hours of professional learning. Register for the webinar on October 9 at 4 p.m.

NASA Opportunities for High School Students
Virginia Space Coast Scholars: High school sophomores focus on the science, engineering, and technology integral to current missions at NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Applications due by October 24.
Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars: High school junior and senior students selected to participate in the program are immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers and technologists. Application due by October 24.
Virginia Earth System Science Scholars: High school juniors and seniors in the program will engage in NASA’s satellite missions designed to improve understanding of our own planet’s complex systems through the power of remote sensing. Application due by October 24.

Virginia Literacy Act Curriculum Update

Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers
Contact: VLA Team (email)

The Virginia Literacy Act (VLA) requires VDOE to recommend instructional programs in literacy–including K-5 core, K-8 supplemental, and K-8 intervention materials–that are aligned with the eligibility criteria of VLA, namely evidence-based literacy instruction and science-based reading research for approval by the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE). The VBOE has already approved an initial list of K-3 core instructional materials in June 2023.?The VDOE website has been updated to include the completed rubrics  and pricing lists (DOCX) for the K-3 core instructional materials.  

VDOE, in partnership with the Virginia Literacy Partnerships (VLP), has opened Cycle 2 of the Instructional Program Review process which includes:? 

  • K-5 Core Instructional Programs? 
  • K-8 Supplemental Materials? 
  • K-8 Intervention Materials? 

Reviews are being conducted by Virginia educators including administrators, reading specialists, and teachers. Virginia is using a two-phase process for core instruction review that is 1) modeled on similar processes in other states, and 2) designed to align with the requirements of the VLA and the current textbook review process.??Cycle II K-5 Core materials will be presented to the VBOE for first review during the November 15-16 Board meeting and then be presented for final approval during the December Board meeting. The VDOE website has been updated to show the core instructional programs submitted in this review cycle and the program’s status. 

A recommended list of supplemental and intervention materials will also be brought to the VBOE in early 2024. Dates are forthcoming for supplemental and intervention materials and should be formally announced shortly.

Ed. Department Updates

STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING 

On September 22, President Biden announced the establishment of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to reduce gun violence and expand on key executive and legislative actions taken to save lives (see President’s remarks and Vice President’s remarks). 

That same day, the Department announced a $2.6 million award to boost mental health services and professionals in schools, delivering on an important priority of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA).  The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System will establish a national Mental Health Evaluation, Training, Research, and Innovation Center for Schools (METRICS) to increase assistance and offer new resources on training mental health professionals and providing school-based mental health services.  Over the next five years, BSCA will invest more than $1 billion in school-based mental health programs, making substantial progress toward the President’s goal — under his Mental Health Strategy — to double the number of school counselors, social workers, and other professionals available to support students’ mental health needs. 

Separately, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $206 million in grant awards for youth mental health. 

EXPANDING ACCESS TO SCHOOL MEALS On September 26, the Agriculture Department announced it is giving an estimated 3,000 more school districts in high-need areas the option to serve breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost, by expanding the availability of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).  CEP is a simplified meal service option that allows schools to provide meals at no cost to all students without requiring families to apply for free or reduced-price meals.  Instead, districts receive federal funding based on a formula using existing data from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other programs.  Previously, for a school to be eligible for CEP, at least 40% of students had to live in households participating in certain income-based federal assistance programs.  A new rule lowers that threshold to 25% (press release).

VASSP Member Upodate, September 25, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Northumberland plans to address absenteeism with Saturday School | Rappahannock Record

Sexually explicit books removed from Lexington school library following complaints from parents

Inclement Weather Live Instruction

Virginia officials say school mental health pilot ‘successfully launched’ new services

AHSB Approves Attendance Awareness and Bullying Prevention Resolutions – The Virginian Review

Youngkin wants tutors for many students. Where will they come from?

Amherst School Board opts against adopting state’s model transgender policy

National Articles of Interest

Digital divide persists as 22% of low-income households with children lack internet | K-12 Dive

ChatGPT releases teacher guide for AI use in the classroom | K-12 Dive

Proposed Section 504 rule still being drafted | K-12 Dive

K-12 decision-making is subject of lawsuits contesting power, politics

Districts nationwide exploring, tweaking equitable grading policies | K-12 Dive

The pandemic is over. But American schools still aren’t the same.

Why some schools are embracing gender support plans for LGBTQ+ students | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Civics Education Week in Virginia
House Joint Resolution No. 627 passed in February 2007 designated the third week of September as Civics Education Week in Virginia.?The Joint resolution states in part,? “WHEREAS, the civic mission of schools is essential to the purpose of education; and WHEREAS, civic education teaches students the tools to maintain our democratic republic; RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly designate the third week of September, in 2007 and in each succeeding year, as Civics Education Week;” School divisions are encouraged to plan educational activities during Civics Education Week, September 18 – 22, 2023. 

Options for Transitioning to the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning
The 2023 Virginia Mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL) were approved by the Board of Education on August 31, and will be fully implemented during the 2024-2025 school year.  During the 2023-2024 school year, school divisions will select one of three transition options to prepare for full implementation in 2024-2025. Register in advance to join VDOE for a webinar, Options for Transitioning to the 2023 Mathematics SOL, on September 21, at 5 p.m.  Registered participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.   

Virginia School Consortium for Learning Upcoming Opportunities
VaSCL is offering several professional development workshops for teachers, educators and leaders focused on supporting educators with growing fluent reader, literacy, and language including:
October 3 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Effective Early Literacy for grades PreK-2 explores evidence-based strategies for engaging in intentional teaching and learning across the curriculum, including play.
October 5 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.:  A Strength-Based Approach to Scaffolding Adolescent Comprehension for grades 6-12  participants will identify challenges in science, social studies, or ELA texts and develop scaffolds to help readers overcome and access texts across the disciplines.
October 10 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.:  Effective Literacy Instruction for Learners  for grades 3-6, participants  will take a deep dive into the elements of effective literacy instruction and the Science of Reading focusing on: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Spanish Heritage Language Education Online Lecture Series
Join Dr. Tracy Quan, Dr. Yvette Bürki, and Dr. Claudia Cervantes-Soon for the 2023-2024 George Mason Spanish Heritage Language Education online lecture series. All lectures will be held via Zoom and they are free and open to the public. Visit the series webpage for more information and registration links.

VASSP Member Update, September 18, 2023

Articles of Interest  

As attendance lags, Halifax County schools see impact on state accreditation – SoVaNOW: Home of The News & Record and The Mecklenburg Sun

Albemarle High School installs vape sensors in bathrooms   

Gov. Youngkin highlights ‘All in VA’ plan during visit to Petersburg school

Virginia Beach students will need parent’s consent to be identified as transgender under new policy

Commission finds ‘inequitable admissions processes’ at Richmond specialty and Governor’s schools

Report: State test, ‘unclear’ requirements, and costs may be barriers in teacher pipeline – Virginia Mercury

Virginia teacher vacancies peak this year

Fairfax Co. updates grading policy for students who don’t turn in assignments – WTOP News

Richmond school leaders weigh options to make specialty admissions more equitable | WRIC ABC 8News

National Articles of Interest

Proposed Section 504 rule still being drafted | K-12 Dive

4 ways administrators can mitigate disruptive student behaviors | K-12 Dive

Florida SAT Alternatives

Principals urge Congress to preserve Title I funding | K-12 Dive

More school employees may qualify for overtime under Labor Department proposal | K-12 Dive

By the Numbers: White House 75% closer to placing 250K tutors, mentors in schools

Schools face a funding cliff. How bad will the fall be?

DOE Updates

Behavior Intervention Starts with Prevention: Fostering a Safe Classroom Learning Community

This intensive day-long workshop is designed to address the diverse needs of students with challenging behavior while emphasizing the importance of building a strong community and enhancing capacity. Throughout the day, participants will delve into strategies and interventions that span from general education responses to Tier 3 support. More information including location and costs are available online. 

Fostering Positive Learning Environments Through Effective Behavior Management  
In this workshop participants will learn about trauma informed practices and why/how trauma can drive behaviors. They will be challenged to look at their own behavior and beliefs while learning strategies to create and shape environments to allow struggling students to achieve success and thrive in the public-school settings. More information is available from the VaSCL website. 

Supporting Secondary English Learners Webinar Series
This interactive webinar series with Dr. Kate Kinsella is for secondary educators and leaders and will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 26, October 30, and November 15, 2023. In this VDOE webinar series, Dr. Kinsella will provide tools and supports for discourse, including productive student interactions, inclusive and accountable lesson discussions, attentive academic listening skills, and effective feedback contributions.

Ed. Department Updates

UNLOCKING PATHWAYS SUMMITS 

Earlier this week, the Administration completed its Unlocking Pathways Summit series in Biloxi, Mississippi.  This four-part series was part of the Department’s Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success initiative, aimed at helping young Americans access good-paying jobs created by President Biden’s Bidenomics agenda.  The series was supported by the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Labor, and Transportation (press release). 

The summits were co-hosted with Jobs for the Future, and more than 500 leaders from some 36 states attended the convenings to underscore workforce priorities and growing opportunities for young people. 

At the summits in Renton, Washington, Aurora, Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin, the Department announced new cross-sector partnerships to advanced career-connected learning, a $25 million Career-Connected High School Grant, and 81 semifinalists for Phase 2 of the Career Z Challenge, respectively.  In Biloxi, the agency announced the grand prize winner of the Rural Tech Project.  Notably, Woodlake High School in California prepares students for aviation degrees and careers, utilizing drone operations, geometry, and aerodynamic principals (see also other finalist videos: 1, 2, 3, and 4). 

CONGRESS ADDRESSES FISCAL YEAR 2024 BUDGET

Last week, the Senate returned to Washington, DC, after the annual August recess; the House returns today. As expected, the largest concern for returning lawmakers is how to address FY 2024 spending before the end of FY 2023—which is only weeks away. Lawmakers are working on the twelve FY 2024 spending bills right up until they left town.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed all twelve of its bills with bipartisan support. The House has not matched that effort. The lower chamber has only approved one FY 2024 spending bill on the floor—the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs package—and only a handful have won approval from the full committee. Not one House bill has garnered a vote from a single House Democrat. 

During the recess, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met via teleconference with House Republicans several times to share his desire to pass a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the federal government running through December to provide the time needed to resolve FY 2024 spending. That desire was met with several “requirements” from members of the House Freedom Caucus. In response, the Speaker is reportedly considering attaching billions of dollars in disaster relief to a CR, while leaving out Ukraine aid. That proposal would be at odds with what House Democrats (and maybe some House Republicans), the Senate and the White House would like to see. (The Administration has a long list of more than $40 billion it wants for aid to Ukraine, disasters, and other programs that it feels are underfunded.)  

In the meantime, both chambers will be trying to make some progress on spending bills. Senate leadership hopes to see a package of three bills on the floor this week. That “mini-bus” could include the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Agriculture bills – the Senate Appropriations Committee approved both unanimously – and the State-Foreign Operations bill.

The Senate might then consider a second package of FY 2024 bills the week of September 18. The House may consider its defense appropriations bill this week, and the House Rules Committee posted notices that the Homeland Security could also be considered this week, followed by the State-Foreign Operations bill next week. It is also possible that all of these plans could change.

The next few weeks will continue with efforts to keep the government open and complete FY 2024 spending. There could be a government shutdown starting on October 1. In fact, some are saying that scenario is quite likely. In the meantime, lawmakers who would prefer to avoid that result will continue to try to balance the many interests, demands and politics involved.

VASSP Member Update, September 11, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Schools that don’t adopt Virginia’s transgender model policies can be sued, according to state officials

Youngkin calls lawmakers back to Richmond for special session on long-delayed budget | AP News

Schools limit cellphone use in the name of safety | VPM

Youngkin announces new plan to address learning loss, absenteeism

SOL scores show Va. students struggling with pandemic-related learning loss | Winchester Star | winchesterstar.com

Budget Summary

WJCC Schools Creates Nurturing Onboarding Program for New Educators | Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

What’s in Virginia’s long-delayed 2023 budget deal | Headlines | insidenova.com

School Policy Updates to Address Chronic Absenteeism | News | loudounnow.com

Virginia delays releasing student academic achievement scores

National Articles of Interest

Keeping one foot in the classroom can help instructional specialists build trust, buy-in | K-12 Dive

Schools fine-tune services to address influx of migrant students | K-12 Dive

Higher chronic absenteeism rates linked to NAEP score declines | K-12 Dive

Americans’ perception of education quality reaches lowest point in 2 decades

What did principals prioritize to prepare for the new school year? | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Transitioning to the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning

Options for Transition 2023-2024

During the 2023-2024 school year, school divisions will select one of the following transition options to prepare for full implementation of the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning in 2024-2025.

  • Option 1: Full Crosswalk Year – instruction in both 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning and 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning
  • Option 2: Partial Crosswalk Year – instruction in the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning with choices for prioritization of key content from the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning
  • Option 3: Instruction focused solely on 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning

In addition, the following document provides information about the transition options to the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning.

  • Options for Transitioning to the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning (Word |PDF)

Supporting Secondary English Learners Webinar SeriesThis interactive webinar series with Dr. Kate Kinsella is for secondary educators and leaders and will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 26, October 30, and November 15, 2023. In this VDOE webinar series, Dr. Kinsella will provide tools and supports for discourse, including productive student interactions, inclusive and accountable lesson discussions, attentive academic listening skills, and effective feedback contributions.