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


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). 


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.