Articles of Interest
National Articles of Interest
On June 21, 2023, the Office of Licensure and School Leadership ceased the printing and mailing of paper licenses and evaluations. The Office of Licensure and School Leadership will make license certificates and evaluations available in the future on the eGOV portal. Applicants and license holders are encouraged to create an eGOV account to view pertinent licensure information.
Free Asynchronous PD Courses for School Counselors
Virginia Career VIEW: Vital Information for Education and Work, has partnered with Virtual Virginia to offer three new FREE asynchronous professional learning courses. These courses are of particular interest to school counselors and will introduce educators to career resources and activities that they can use with their students. Upon successful completion of any of the New to View courses a certificate will be awarded worth five hours of professional learning. For more information/to enroll, click on one or more of the following links:
Questions? Please contact Steven Sproles, Virtual Virginia Professional Learning Coordinator.
Virginia Board of Education Approves Changes to Certain Testing Requirements for Writing
On Thursday, July 27, 2023, the Virginia Board of Education approved a proposal that changes the expectations for writing assessments for grade 5 and grade 8 students. Specifically, the Board approved the elimination of the grade 8 SOL Writing test beginning in spring 2024 when the new integrated reading and writing items become part of the grades 5, 8, and end-of-course (EOC) SOL Reading tests. The Board also approved the Guidelines for Local Alternative Assessments: 2023-2024 and Beyond. The updated guidelines recommend that school divisions use the integrated reading and writing assessment component that will be administered as part of the grade 5 SOL Reading test beginning in spring 2024 to meet the assessment requirements for Grade 5 Writing. Additional details will be provided to school divisions later in August.
Change in the Fall 2023 Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics Virginia Growth Assessments
In response to concerns about the growth assessments received from school division leaders and other stakeholders in the Commonwealth, VDOE leadership directed the student assessment staff, in collaboration with our state assessment contractor Pearson, to revise the Fall 2023 Growth Assessments so that students will take assessments this fall that will primarily measure reading and mathematics content from the student’s previous grade level. For example, students enrolled in grade 5 mathematics in fall 2023 will take growth assessments based on grade 4 mathematics content. This is a change from the fall 2022 growth assessments where students were assessed on reading and mathematics content primarily from their current grade level – content they had not yet been taught. The change in content measured by the fall 2023 growth assessments is intended to ensure that teachers, parents, and students receive feedback on how well a student has mastered content that may be needed for success in the coming school year and to identify areas where a student may need additional supports. For students taking the test online, the testing system can adapt with test questions that are one grade level above or one grade level below the student’s previous grade level as appropriate for the student. The online tests for grade 3 and grade 4 reading and mathematics in fall 2023 will include test items primarily based on grade 3 and grade 2 content with items based on grade 4 content also available. Students who need a paper test will complete a test with all questions based on the student’s prior grade level. Students enrolled in grade 3 and students enrolled in grade 4 completing a paper test will take the grade 3 paper growth assessment. The test blueprints for the revised Fall 2023 Reading and Mathematics Growth Assessments are available online on the Growth Assessment webpage on the VDOE website.
U.S. DoE LAUNCHES CAREER-CONNECTED HIGH SCHOOL GRANT PROGRAM
On Thursday, August 10, while participating in the Unlocking Pathways Summit in Aurora, Colorado, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the launch of a new $25 million Career Connected High School Grant program. This program will provide grants to consortia of local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and employers to pilot evidence-based strategies to increase the integration and alignment of the last two years of high school and the first two years of postsecondary education to improve postsecondary education and career outcomes for all students. These grants are part of the Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success initiative, aimed at helping young Americans access good-paying jobs.
This cross-government effort seeks to increase and expand access to high-quality career pathways to help young Americans pursue jobs in today’s in-demand fields and be prepared for careers of the future. Grantees can use funds for a variety of different activities based on the need of the region, including additional dual enrollment classes, covering the costs of tuition, books, supplies, and other related expenses for low-income students, tutoring, other academic supports, transportation for students to work-based learning sites, the development of new career & technical education (CTE) programs in high-growth fields like clean energy or to support teacher training and new equipment that may be needed to launch these programs.
The notice inviting applications (NIA) is here.
Ed. Department Updates
UNLOCKING PATHWAYS SUMMITS
Over the last two weeks, the Department continued its Unlocking Pathways regional summits in Aurora, Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin. The summit series, co-hosted with Jobs for the Future and supported by the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Labor, and Transportation, consists of four education-workforce convenings to spotlight workforce priorities and opportunities that are growing due to recent federal investments, like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act. This includes expanding access to high-wage, high-demand pathways and skills-based learning opportunities, such as Registered Apprenticeships and community college programs, within sectors like advanced manufacturing, clean energy, construction, and cybersecurity (press release).
In Aurora, Secretary Cardona announced the launch of a new $25 million Career-Connected High School Grant program. This program offers grants to consortia of local educational agencies (LEAs), higher education institutions, and employers to pilot evidence-based strategies to increase the integration and alignment of the last two years of high school and the first two years of postsecondary education to boost education and career outcomes for all students. Grantees may use funds for a variety of different activities based on the need of the region, including additional dual enrollment classes; covering the costs of tuition, books, supplies, and other related expenses for low-income students; tutoring; other academic supports; transportation for students to work-based learning sites; the development of new career and technical education (CTE) programs in high-growth fields; or to support teacher training and buy new equipment needed to launch such programs (Homeroom blog). In Madison, Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten and Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal announced the semifinalists for the Career Z Challenge. This competition is designed to identify LEAs interested in creating and/or enhancing work-based learning opportunities and building collaborative ecosystems of educators, employers, industries, and community leaders to engage secondary students in meaningful career exploration, development, and preparation. The 81 semifinalists represent 34 states serving more than 1.5 million students.