VAASSP Member Update, April 15, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Youngkin seeks to remove school attendance recovery program requirement

Prosecutor will probe possible coverup in investigation of teacher’s shooting

School districts react after Youngkin vetoes bills meant to increase funding for school construction, renovation | WRIC ABC 8News

Roanoke City middle schools offering Saturday school

Former assistant principal charged in case of 6-year-old who shot Virginia teacher

New stop arm cameras installed on Portsmouth school buses

National Articles of Interest 

How much are students using AI in their writing? | K-12 Dive

Florida law on transgender employees’ pronoun use hits roadblock | K-12 Dive

23% of teachers experienced a gun-related school lockdown in 2022-23 | K-12 Dive

School librarians targeted in new wave of censorship legislation | K-12 Dive

How 2 Tennessee school districts are approaching AI policies | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

April Virginia Literacy Act Updates

Article: 2024-15-142
Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers
Contact: Jill Nogueras, Associate Director of K-12 English Literacy,  Jill.Nogueras@doe.virginia.gov

The Virginia Literacy Act (VLA) is among the most comprehensive early literacy policies in the nation. The objective of the VLA is to improve literacy outcomes for all K-8 students. To support school divisions as they continue to implement the VLA, VDOE has released an extensive update on the Virginia Literacy Act.

  1. Instructional Materials K-5 Core Release
  2. K-5 Intervention and Supplemental Materials
  3. 6-8 Intervention and Supplemental Materials
  4. Use of VALLS 2024-2025
  5. Professional Development
  6. Division Literacy Plans & Student Reading Plans

Superintendents are asked to share these resources with key staff.

Assessment Webinar Detailing Item Maps for Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics

Article: 2024-15-141
Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers, Division Directors of Testing, School Test Coordinators
Contact: Office of Student Assessment, Student_Assessment@doe.virginia.gov

The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to announce that the Office of Student Assessment will present a webinar to highlight the features and instructional use of the Virginia Assessment Item Maps on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 2:30 p.m.  

As explained previously in Superintendent’s Newsletter #2024-12, item maps provide descriptions and examples of test items students were likely to answer correctly based on the vertical scaled score they achieved on their state assessment. A vertical scaled score allows comparisons between Virginia Growth Assessments and Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Each item map provides examples and descriptions of actual SOL test questions at different score points within the vertical scaled score range for a specific grade and subject.  

These examples illustrate types of test questions students may see on the state assessments in a particular grade and subject. The descriptions explain what students may know or be able to do at each score point. Some descriptions include an image of a newly released SOL test question with answer options to further show what students would most likely answer correctly if they achieved at or above that score point. This information, along with students’ test results, may be used to plan conversations with families, determine intervention strategies to strengthen understanding, or establish a plan to accelerate learning. 

This webinar is intended for Division Directors of Testing and division-level English and Mathematics Supervisors. An email with details for registering for the session has been sent to these staff. 

2024 English Standards of Learning
The Virginia Board of Education approved the 2024 English Standards of Learning at their March 28, 2024 business meeting. We appreciate all the educators across the Commonwealth who shared their expertise and participated in the process which began in 2023. A clean copy of the Standards and a supporting crosswalk document is posted on the 2024 English Standards of Learning page. Additional resources will be posted as they become available.

New Mathematics Resources: Upper-level Mathematics Understanding the Standards Documents New resources aligned to the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning are now available. These resources include Understanding the Standards documents for secondary courses to include Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis; Trigonometry; Computer Math; Probability and Statistics; Discrete Mathematics; Mathematics Analysis; and Data Science. These documents amplify the standards and further define the content knowledge, skills, and understandings of the Mathematics SOL. Understanding the Standards documents for all Board-approved mathematics grade levels and courses are now available on the 2023 Mathematics Instructional Resources webpage.Public Hearings for the Proposed Draft 2024 Computer Science Standards of Learning
The Virginia Board of Education will hold public hearings on the proposed revised Computer Science Standards of Learning. The Standards identify the essential content, processes, and skills for grade levels and subject courses. The most current information about the revision process, as well as public hearing dates and locations, is available on the?Review and Revision of the 2017 Computer Science Standards of Learning?webpage

VASSP Member Update, April 8, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Residents can give feedback on Virginia Board of Education’s newly approved school-ranking system

Va. Gov. Youngkin amends bill that requires schools to notify parents of student overdoses

VDOE hears feedback from Shenandoah Valley educators

If you’re heading to a City Schools sporting event next fall, expect to walk through a metal detector

King William schools to start banning cell phone use – Daily Press

National Articles of Interest 

Book ban attempts soared 65% in 2023 | K-12 Dive

Superintendent coalition aims to strengthen whole child supports | K-12 Dive

Only about half of K-2 students on track for reading | K-12 Dive

11% of teachers ‘very likely’ to look for a new job as stress mounts | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

National Writing Project: Teachers as Writers, Writers as Teachers

This summer, Longwood University’s Southside Virginia Writing Project will offer its 8-week online asynchronous Summer Writing Institute: Teachers as Writers, Writers as Teachers. Participants will grow themselves as writers and teachers of writing as they write across genres, participate in peer writing groups, dive into the research on best writing practices across the JK-12 and higher education spectrum, and more. Register or reach out to the SVWP’s Director for more information. Participants may earn up to 90 recertification points for this 3-credit course.

New Resource: Virginia Assessment Item Maps for Grades 3-8 Reading and MathematicsThis new resource, Virginia Assessment Item Maps, provides descriptions and examples of test items students were likely to answer correctly based on the vertical scaled score they achieved on their state assessment. A vertical scaled score allows comparisons between Virginia Growth Assessments and Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Each item map provides examples and descriptions of actual SOL test questions at different score points within the vertical scaled score range for a specific grade and subject. This information, along with students’ test results, may be used to plan conversations with families, determine intervention strategies to strengthen understanding, or establish a plan to accelerate learning. The Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics Item Maps are now available online on the Growth Assessment webpage.

VASSP Member Update, March 25, 2024

There will be no VASSP Member Update on April 1, 2024. The next edition will be April 8, 2024.

State Articles of Interest  

Target 7: How Roanoke City Public Schools responds to threats

Prince William County School Board Ratifies First Collective Bargaining Agreement – Bristow Beat

Appomattox County Schools to use AI technology to keep students safe

Waynesboro among school systems working to expand expedited teaching program – Augusta Free Press

Henrico Schools staffers make another push for collective bargaining

Richmond Public School leaders to update ‘Homebound Instruction’ policies and more at meeting | WRIC ABC 8News

National Articles of Interest 

How can districts ensure students have enough social-emotional support? | K-12 Dive

Supreme Court protects public officials’ free speech rights in social media rulings | K-12 Dive

Biden signs FY 24 budget for Education Department, other agencies | K-12 Dive

By the Numbers: The end of universal school meals hurt student meal participation | K-12 Dive

How are high schools supporting students through FAFSA delays? | K-12 Dive

Alabama governor signs law banning school DEI funding | K-12 Dive

Improving the High School Experience-ChalkBeat

DOE Updates

Roundtable Discussions on the 2018 Science Standards of Learning

Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers
Contact: Laura Casdorph, Science Coordinator, Laura.Casdorph@doe.virginia.gov

The Virginia Department of Education is hosting roundtable discussions to obtain feedback from educators, parents, and other stakeholders on the 2018 Science Standards of Learning. Feedback garnered from the roundtable discussions will inform the revision process for the 2025 Science Standards of Learning. Roundtable sessions will be available virtually and in-person at the times and dates indicated below. Feedback can also be provided through the Comments on the 2018 Science Standards of Learning form or by emailing comments directly to vdoe.science@doe.virginia.gov. Comments must be received by May 31, 2024.  

  • April 22, 2024 (In-person), 4-5 p.m., Roanoke County Schools Central Office Building, 5937 Cove Road, Roanoke, VA 24019 
  • April 23, 2024 (Virtual), 12-1 p.m. Registration Link
  • April 23, 2024 (Virtual), 7-8 p.m. Registration Link.  
  • April 25, 2024 (In-person), 5-6 p.m., Fairfax County Schools, Willow Oaks Administrative Center, 8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031 
  • May 1, 2024 (In-person), 6-7 p.m., Charlottesville City Schools, Walker Upper Elementary, 1564 Dairy Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22903 
  • May 7, 2024 (In-person), 5-6 p.m., Newport News Schools Board Office, 12465 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23606 
  • May 8, 2024 (Virtual), 12-1 p.m. Registration Link
  • May 8, 2024 (Virtual), 4-5 p.m. Registration Link

Naloxone Distribution to K-12 Public School Divisions

Audience: Superintendents, School Principals, Non-teaching Staff, and Administrators
Contact: Joseph A. Wharff, Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness, Joseph.Wharff@doe.virginia.gov 

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Naloxone Distribution Team is hosting an informational webinar on naloxone distribution to K-12 public school divisions on Tuesday, March 26, at noon. Individuals at the school board and division levels are asked to join this webinar to discuss the VDH Naloxone Distribution Program including naloxone access for public schools and considerations for keeping students and staff safe.? 

Please register in advance for the webinar using the Naloxone Distribution Webinar for K-12 Public School Divisions registration page. A recording and presentation slides will be shared after the webinar.? 

VLA Implementation Playbook

As school divisions continue to engage in the regional literacy network implementation series and prepare for full implementation of the Virginia Literacy Act, the Department has created a playbook that will serve as a companion framework to help guide decision making and assist school division leadership teams in mapping out their implementation plan when they return to their divisions. The VLA Implementation Playbook is designed to meet every school division where they are in the process and will aid in providing a roadmap for a successful 2024-2025 school year.

New Resources Aligned to the 2023 Mathematics Standards of Learning

These resources are now available on the 2023 Mathematics Instructional Resources webpage. These resources include Understanding the Standards documents for Grades K-5 (released February 9), and Grades 6 through Algebra 2 (released February 29). The documents further define the content knowledge, skills, and understandings of the Mathematics SOL. They provide background information about mathematical concepts and delineate the minimum content that all students should learn. Understanding the Standards documents for upper-level secondary mathematics courses will be released at the end of March.

Ed. Department Updates

ED GETS $82B IN BIDEN’S FISCAL YEAR 2025 BUDGET REQUEST, 4% INCREASE

On Monday, the Biden-Harris Administration released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2025. Following historic progress made since the President took office, the Budget aims to lower costs for working families, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, invest in America and the American people, and reduce the deficit by cracking down on fraud, cutting wasteful spending, and increasing taxes on wealthy corporations. In terms of education, the Budget will invest in evidence-based strategies and partnerships that will help improve learning conditions, build pathways to college and careers, and increase postsecondary education affordability and access.

The proposed budget requests $82.4 billion in discretionary Budget Authority, marking a $3.1 billion or 4.0 percent increase from the FY 2024 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) level. With these resources, the Department of Education (ED) plans to enhance academic excellence by investing in high-need schools and student recovery by providing $18.6 billion for Title I and $14.4 billion for Individuals with Disability Education Act Part B. In addition, it aims to eliminate the educator shortage and support student mental health and well-being through a $216 million investment for School Safety National Activities. With the goal of promoting global engagement, ED will also provide $940 million to support English learners and $1.5 billion for Career and Technical Education state grants.

?Lastly, ED plans on using these funds to reduce higher education costs through increasing Pell Grant awards, proposing the elimination of origination fees on Federal Direct student loans, and establishing partnerships to make two years of community college free for first-time students and workers wanting to reskill.

VASSP Member Update, March 18, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Va. legislature earmarks $100,000 for review of special education dispute resolution system • Virginia Mercury

Rockingham County Public School Board drafts book policy

Mentoring program to help Prince Edward’s first-year teachers | Farmville

ACHS Attendance Incentive Program

Why you should stop texting your kids at school

Prince William schools seeing a decrease in chronic absenteeism | Headlines | insidenova.com

National Articles of Interest 

Supreme Court protects public officials’ free speech rights in social media rulings | K-12 Dive

Hackers Targeting Students

Districts increasingly turn to 4-day school weeks to recruit, retain staff | K-12 Dive

Biden proposes 3.9% FY 2025 increase for Education Department | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Call for Applications: Paid Internship Scholarship for Aspiring Virginia Educators 

Audience: Institutions of Higher Education

Contact: Shawna LeBlond, Director of Apprenticeships, Shawna.LeBlond@doe.virginia.gov. 

The VDOE is pleased to accept applications for the 2024 summer and fall semester for the Paid Internship Scholarship for Aspiring Virginia Educators.  

Subject to available funding, this internship scholarship is for teacher or school counselor candidates enrolled in an approved education program at an accredited Virginia public or private four-year institution of higher education in the Commonwealth. Candidates must: 

(i) be enrolled full-time or part-time in an approved undergraduate or graduate education program or are participants in another approved education program such as school counseling,  

(ii) be nominated by the institution where they are enrolled, 

(iii) completing their final semester culminating clinical experience, such as an internship or student teaching experience.  

Institutions may nominate up to two deserving students and will be asked to give preference to students facing significant barriers, including those who demonstrate financial need and/or first-generation college students and those seeking endorsement in top critical shortage areas in Virginia. Individual scholarship awards of up to $15,000 may be awarded for the semester.  

Once an institution has identified up to two nominees per semester, the nominees must complete and return the application to the designated dean/chair, director or other authorized designee of the teacher education program in accordance with the procedures and deadlines established by the student’s home institution. Applications for the spring 2024 semester will be accepted through the Single Sign-on for Web Systems (SSWS) drop box feature until 4 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Toolkits from Virginia ABC Community Health and EngagementVirginia ABC Community Health and Engagement offers free toolkits to aid prevention events and efforts on a variety of topics. The Being Outstanding Leaders Together Against Drugs and Alcohol (BOLT) program offers free online trainings and resources to increase the capacity of middle school prevention professionals as they work to reduce youth substance use among their students. BOLT materials support middle school prevention activities including in-classroom curriculum instruction and participation in substance use awareness weeks.

VASSP Member Update, March 11, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Catholic student sues Fairfax school board over transgender protections

Virginia budget deal includes 3% raises for teachers, state employees

Youngkin vetoes bills to prevent school book bans, return Virginia to anti-voter fraud compact | WRIC ABC 8News

Henrico Schools to launch teacher apprenticeship program for ‘hard-to-staff’ schools

Pilot Bathroom Program Brings Updates to Nine Loudoun Schools | Education | loudounnow.com

State watchdog fires back at Youngkin over K-12 funding      

Albemarle teachers gearing up for Literacy Act expansion

National Articles of Interest 

Concerns increase around ESSER underspending, fiscal cliffs in last year of aid | K-12 Dive

Child Care Tax Credit

As the Affordable Connectivity Program sunsets, what’s next for schools?

Biden’s State of the Union: High-quality tutoring is in, book bans are out | K-12 Dive

Florida district agrees to improve discipline practices for students with disabilities | K-12 Dive

New SAT Test Launches

No more ‘shake it off’: School athletic programs adapt to concussion research | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Virginia Literacy Updates

Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers
Contact: Michelle Wallace, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Michelle.Wallace@doe.virginia.gov

Based on the feedback received from superintendents and local instructional leaders during the recent Literacy Network Implementation meetings, VDOE has released an extensive update on literacy planning for division leaders to use as a guide while creating their division literacy plans, planning for future training, and assessing their school division’s needs around full implementation of the Virginia Literacy Act.  

Additionally, to assist divisions in the creating of their literacy plans, VDOE has created an updated instructional document intended to provide division level guidance and support. 

Required by the VLA and as a best practice, school divisions should have a well-articulated Division Literacy Plan that can be shared with stakeholders and assist in communicating implementation expectations across all schools. The literacy plan is designed to improve early literacy outcomes for students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight by requiring school divisions to address how the local school board will align the following with evidence-based literacy instruction practices aligned with science-based reading research. All documents, including the most recent update, instructions, and new DLP can be found on the VDOE website.

VASSP Member Update, March 4, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

What’s the best approach to school disruptions? Democrats and Republicans disagree. – Virginia Mercury

Henry County boards prioritize pay boost for schools employees

Bills for local sales tax surcharge for new schools head to governor

Fairfax Co. considering how to implement later middle school start times – WTOP News

Virginia Beach School Board passes amendment to ban ‘sexually explicit content’ in elementary school libraries

Random Scans For Drugs To Take Place In Loudoun County High Schools | Ashburn, VA Patch

Virginia school divisions navigate complexity of Confederate flag displays | VPM

National Articles of Interest 

California proposes paid pregnancy leave for educators | K-12 Dive

How 2 schools are tackling chronic absenteeism | K-12 Dive

Texas policy allowing school chaplains spreads to other states | K-12 Dive

How prioritizing culture boosted attendance, academics in a Virginia middle school | K-12 Dive

renaissance Charter Schools

How do equitable grading practices affect expectations? | K-12 Dive

Is the end of federal relief money worsening a child care crisis? | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Application Window open for the Science Standards of Learning Revision Committees

The VDOE is seeking nominations for individuals who are qualified and available to serve on the Science Standards Revision Committee to review the K-12 Science Standards of Learning during the summer of 2024. Nominees should be teachers, principals, administrators, content specialists, reading specialists, or other educators who have expertise with the content area and current standards. The Committee will meet between June 25-June 27, 2024, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, to review and revise the standards. Individuals who wish to serve on a committee to review the K-12 Science Standards of Learning must submit an application using the SOL Teacher Committee Application Form by March 29.

VASSP Member Update, February 26, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Tensions flare over Henrico teacher’s Gaza comments

RPS looking to hire more tutors as a part of ‘All in VA’ plan

Supreme Court declines to hear high-profile school admissions case | K-12 Dive

https://virginiamercury.com/2024/02/22/democrats-propose-tweaks-to-parental-notification-law-to-discourage-school-library-censorship/

If a student goes into cardiac arrest, does your school have a plan?

Va. lawmakers pass bill requiring hazing training in high schools

General Assembly budget committees ditch Youngkin’s tax plan, increase spending for schools and mental health

National Articles of Interest 

National Newcomer Network urges supports, policies for newly arrived students | K-12 Dive

Georgia lawsuit claims veteran teachers threatened by curriculum restrictions | K-12 Dive

Federal discrimination complaints continued upswing in 2023 with no signs of slowing | K-12 Dive

Supreme Court will not hear case involving racial diversity at selective high school

DOE Updates

Implementation of the End-of-Course Integrated Reading and Writing Component of the Standards of Learning Reading Test?

Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals, Teachers, English/Language Arts Supervisors

Contact: Office of Student Assessment, Student_Assessment@doe.virginia.gov 

As noted previously, beginning in spring 2024, the Standards of Learning (SOL) Reading test includes a new Integrated Reading and Writing (IRW) test component for grade 5, grade 8, and end-of-course (EOC). In the current implementation plan for the EOC IRW, for students enrolled in Grade 11 English the EOC IRW component is optional for divisions to administer at this time. Students are required to complete the EOC SOL Reading test for federal accountability requirements; however, divisions may a) determine not to administer the EOC IRW component within the division or b) make the component optional for their high school students completing Grade 11 English. In spring 2024, the IRW component will not be used for accountability purposes. Please note this option does not apply to the Grade 5 and Grade 8 IRW components. 

As a reminder, students must continue to earn one verified credit in reading and one in writing as part of their graduation requirements, and they must complete the EOC SOL Reading test to meet federal accountability requirements. A reading verified credit can be achieved by passing the EOC SOL Reading test or achieving the required minimum score on?Substitute Tests Approved for Awarding Verified Credit in?reading. A writing verified credit can be achieved by passing the EOC SOL Writing test, achieving the required minimum score on Substitute Tests Approved for Awarding Verified Credit in writing, or within a participating division, earning a verified credit through successful completion of local performance assessments. The EOC IRW component is not included in the current graduation or federal accountability requirements.?

Application Window open for the Science Standards of Learning Revision CommitteesThe VDOE is seeking nominations for individuals who are qualified and available to serve on the Science Standards Revision Committee to review the K-12 Science Standards of Learning during the summer of 2024. Nominees should be teachers, principals, administrators, content specialists, reading specialists, or other educators who have expertise with the content area and current standards. The Committee will meet between June 25-June 27, 2024, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, to review and revise the standards. Individuals who wish to serve on a committee to review the K-12 Science Standards of Learning must submit an application using the SOL Teacher Committee Application Form by March 29.

VASSP Member Update, February 19, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Virginia ACLU sues Department of Education over trans model policies

Frederick County School Board to consider weapons detection pilot program | Winchester Star | winchesterstar.com

Roanoke schools joining lawsuit against social media

State Education Department approves first-of-its-kind Roanoke school

Madison: ‘Growing Our Own’ through Teachers of Tomorrow

New implementations on drug prevention and security discussed at Rockingham County School Board meeting

Henrico Schools will implement new K-5 literacy curriculum, middle school reading intervention class in fall 2024

National Articles of Interest 

Half of states now restrict trans student athletes | K-12 Dive

Nearly two-thirds of teachers steer clear of charged topics

How HBCUs are building a stronger Black teacher pipeline | K-12 Dive

More Teens Seek Counseling but Parents are Unsure

4 strategies to spark engagement in summer programs | K-12 Dive

CDC considers end to COVID 5-day isolation | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

VDOE Literacy Network Implementation Series Underway

Audience: Superintendents, Directors, School Principals

Contact: Jill Nogueras, English Coordinator, jill.nogueras@doe.virginia.gov

VDOE’s Literacy Network Implementation Series is designed to support Division leaders in developing and implementing effective strategies to achieve the goals of the Virginia Literacy Act and increase literacy outcomes for students across Virginia.  

 Session #1 will review the process for leading impactful systems-level change to improve literacy outcomes for all of Virginia’s students. Participants will explore the Division Literacy Plan, deepen their understanding of the components of a coherent literacy strategy, and can develop and/or refine their school division literacy vision while planning to share and invest all stakeholders in this vision. 

Division Teams of up to seven people should be formed and should include the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction or CAO/Director of Instruction, Division Level Literacy Lead (supervisor/coordinator/director), and Principal(s) who can help carry the message back to the Division. Teams should also invite a Director of Special Education, Director of Multilingual Learning/ESL or special populations, or Reading Specialist(s).  Participants will receive professional development points for attending the three-hour long sessions.  

Superintendents or designee may register their team using the regional links HERE.   

Regional sessions will be held: 

Region 2: February 29 at 12:30 p.m. held at Mariners Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. 

Region 3: February 29 at 9 a.m. held at Spotsylvania Boardroom Administrative Services, 8020 River Stone Drive, Fredericksburg. 

Region 4: February 23 at 1 p.m. held at 121 Mustang Alley, Falls Church. 

Region 5: February 20 at 9:30 a.m. held at Center 1. 1180 Seminole Trl. Charlottesville, VA. 

Region 6: February 21 at 9 a.m. held at Salem High School, 400 Spartan Drive, Salem, VA.

Region 7: March 7 at 9:30 a.m. held at Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Grand Hall 1 Partnership Cir, Abingdon.

National Security Language Initiative – Critical Languages Grant

The application period is now open for the VDOE National Security Language Initiative competitive grants. VDOE will award these grants to public school divisions to add or expand offerings in one or more world language courses currently identified as critical by the NSLI for Youth Scholarship Program.? School divisions may apply for this competitive grant program using the NSLI2024 online application. The deadline for divisions to submit completed applications is February 29.  More information about the grant is available on the VDOE NSLI Grant website.

Activated Learning

Ms. Emily Burrell has been a math teacher for over two decades and currently teaches at South Lakes High School in Fairfax. On February 14, Ms. Burrell will be featured on VDOE podcast ActiVAtED Learning. In addition to teaching advanced mathematics, she enjoys working with students in her Algebra Functions and Data Analysis courses, where her practical approach helps students see the connections between what students learn in class and their everyday lives. Tune in to Activated Learning!

VASSP Member Update, February 12, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Alexandria School Board authorizes collective bargaining and teachers union shuns draft proposal | ALXnow

Youngkin official sought to change transgender policy for high school sports

Bills requiring schools to send parents gun safety notices clear Va. House, Senate – Virginia Mercury

Bill requires Virginia school divisions update evacuation plans for students with mobility impairments – The Virginian-Pilot

House panel advances bill to allow localities to hold referendum on sales tax increase for schools – Cardinal News

Several Prince William schools set to upgrade security equipment thanks to state grants | Headlines | insidenova.com

Stafford County students could decide to opt in or out of virtual learning

National Articles of Interest

What does successful education reform look like? | K-12 Dive

Enrollment takes slight turn up, but still lags behind pre-pandemic levels

Tutoring Programs Post Pandemic    

DOE Updates

Updated Required School Screenings Guidance Document for Special Educators 

Audience: Superintendents, Directors of Special Education, School Principals, Teachers (Certain Grade Levels, including Physical Education Teachers), Audiologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, School Nurses, and Speech Pathologists

Contact: Bonnie English, Specialist – Related Services, Evaluation, and Eligibility, Bonnie.English@doe.virginia.gov

As part of Child Find under special education, school divisions are required to have procedures, including timelines, to document the screening of children enrolled in the division, including transfers from out of state (8VAC20-81-50 C.1.). These screenings must occur in the areas of hearing, vision, scoliosis, speech, voice, language, and fine and gross motor functions.  

The updated Required School Screenings Guidance Document for Special Educators provides users with regulatory requirements from the Code of Virginia as well as specific regulations from the Administrative Code at Chapter 81, more commonly known as the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia. It also includes suggested procedures for completing each of the required screenings. 

School divisions are asked to carefully review this document and use it to make necessary changes to their existing school screenings procedures.

VDOE Literacy Network Implementation Series VDOE’s Literacy Network Implementation Series is designed to support Division leaders in developing and implementing effective strategies to achieve the goals of the Virginia Literacy Act. Superintendents or designee may register a division team of up to seven people including the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction or CAO/Director of Instruction, Division Level Literacy Lead, and Principal(s) who can help carry the message back to the Division. Teams should also invite a Director of Special Education, Director of Multilingual Learning/ESL or special populations, or Reading Specialist(s). Sessions begin February 8.

VASSP Member Update, February 5, 2024

State Articles of Interest  

Education coalition and lawmakers advocate for increased teacher pay

Senate committee advances Pillion’s bill to require Narcan in public schools – Cardinal News

Senate Democrats kill 3 Republican bills dealing with transgender students – Cardinal News

Va. lawmakers consider sweeping changes to special education – Virginia Mercury

Loudoun Schools Begin Tutoring Services as Part of All in VA Plan | Education | loudounnow.com

In gridlocked Congress, unlikely issue of cellphones in schools forges bipartisan bonds – CBS News

Virginia Senate passes bill to let localities increase sales tax to pay for school construction

Virginia education board discusses development of new accountability system

National Articles of Interest

Title IX regulations advance to White House after significant delay

5 principals to watch in 2024 | K-12 Dive

SCOTUS signals interest in K-12 admissions case

The K-12 outlook for 2024: Funds are waning, challenges aren’t

Technology Use in Schools

Ballooning chronic absenteeism requires state intervention | K-12 Dive

4 policy trends to watch in 2024 | K-12 Dive

DOE Updates

Virginia Department of Education’s Video Guide to the Special Education Evaluation Process for Families

Audience: Superintendents, Directors

Contact: Bonnie English, Specialist-Related Services, Evaluation and Eligibility, Bonnie.English@doe.virginia.gov

In response to feedback and collaboration with the field, as well as to legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has released a Video Guide to the Special Education Evaluation Process for Families as additional guidance to support accurate and consistent eligibility determinations and access to special education services across school divisions. These video modules will provide parents, families, and other stakeholders with a brief but comprehensive overview of the special education process on the following topics: Introduction (Overview of Series), Identification, Evaluation, Eligibility, Individualized Education Program (IEP), Reevaluation, Early Intervention, and What’s Next. Each module is designed to be viewed as a stand-alone resource or viewed in succession. 

For questions regarding the video modules, please contact Bonnie English, Specialist-Related Services, Evaluation and Eligibility, at (804) 750-8187 or Bonnie.English@doe.virginia.gov; or Dr. Zenia Burnett, Director of Instructional Services, at (804) 750-8666 or Zenia.Burnett@doe.virginia.gov. For general inquiries, email spedinstruction@doe.virginia.gov.

Hometown Teacher ProgramApplications are now being accepted for the Hometown Teacher Program.  It provides grants of $7,500 to low-income high school graduates who meet the specific program’s criteria. Each Superintendent’s Region may select up to four applicants to send forward for consideration for initial applications.  Find out  more information about the Hometown Teacher Program today!