VASSP Member Update, August 28, 2023

Articles of Interest  

Virginia’s General Assembly reaches budget deal after extended negotiations

‘They’re not doing their share,’ Councilmember says of state lawmakers commitment to funding schools

Va. attorney general says transgender student policies comply with anti-discrimination laws – Virginia Mercury


Richmond hopes ‘Build Your Own Teacher’ program will help fill vacancies

Petersburg School Board repeals collective bargaining resolution with union | WRIC ABC 8News

National Articles of Interest

How are districts preparing for the end of American Rescue Plan funds? | K-12 Dive

4 best practices to ensure smooth transitions for new high schoolers | K-12 Dive

‘Education culture wars’ legislation heats up | K-12 Dive

Science of reading laws are missing a key ingredient: background knowledge – Chalkbeat

Voters’ top K-12 concerns include pandemic learning recovery, scant funding

DOE Updates

9/11 Resources and Materials 

September 11th is recognized each year as Patriot Day to remember the lives lost at the World Trade Center, on Flight 93, and at the Pentagon. Patriot Day also honors the first responders, service members, and civil servants who were integral in rescue and recovery efforts – many of whom made the supreme sacrifice as a result. Many Virginia schools commemorate Patriot Day by flying the Freedom Flag, which is recognized as the Commonwealth’s official 9/11 flag of remembrance. The Freedom Flag Foundation encourages schools to conduct flag raising ceremonies that include the recitation of the 10 symbolic elements of the Freedom Flag.

All schools in the Commonwealth are encouraged to designate time during the week of September 11th for reflection and commemoration. There are resources available from the United States Department of Education and the Library of Congress that captures Americans during trying times and serves as a historical resource for future generations.

Virginia Literacy Act Statewide Training Launches

Audience: Superintendents, Principals, Reading Specialists

Contact: Karin Little, Education Coordinator (email)

We are very excited in the VDOE to kick off our state-wide initiative EverybodyReadsVA to support our move to the Science of Reading and evidence-based practices across the Commonwealth!

As part of the Virginia Literacy Act, (VLA), all reading specialists are required to receive training in evidence-based literacy instruction (EBLI) aligned with science-based reading research (SBRR). In partnership with the VDOE, Virginia Literacy Partnerships (VLP) is leading the design, development, and facilitation of a free statewide knowledge-based professional development training series for reading specialists.This training series will prepare reading specialists to support the implementation of the VLA.  We have included an outline of this professional learning experience for you here so that we all know what is being taught to our Reading Specialists so we can all learn this work together and support our young people as they become better, stronger readers. 

The training includes a two-day in-person institute, an online Canvas course and monthly virtual synchronous “Zoom” sessions facilitated by regional literacy coaches.

The two-day in-person institutes are taking place at the following locations and dates:

Roanoke – Aug 17 and 18 

Charlottesville – Aug 21 and 22 

Fairfax – Aug 24 and 25 

Richmond – Aug 29 and 30 

Newport News – Sept 7 and 8

For more details, please refer to the following resources:

Detailed description of the two-day institutes (PDF)

Recorded webinar about the statewide training

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document (DOCX)

Additional content and resources available now on the VALUE site

Required VLA Reading Specialist Training Sessions

As part of the Virginia Literacy Act (VLA), all reading specialists are required to receive training in evidence-based literacy instruction (EBLI) aligned with science-based reading research (SBRR). This training series will prepare reading specialists to support the implementation of the VLA. All reading specialists must attend, even if they have received other EBLI/SBRR training because the training will fully equip them to support the local implementation of the VLA.  Remaining dates:

Fairfax/Alexandria: August 24 &25,  Richmond: August 29 &30,  Newport News:  September 7 & 8.

Registration: ELA Coordinators have received an email with specific details on how to register their reading specialists for the training. School divisions will be responsible for registering their staff.  For more important updates in literacy, see the May 18, 2023 Superintendent Memo 098-23.

Change in the Fall 2023 Grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics Virginia Growth AssessmentsIn 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.