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Comprehensive review of the Standards of Accreditation
Stage: Proposed

CHAPTER 131
REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING STANDARDS FOR ACCREDITING PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN VIRGINIA

Part I
Definitions and Purpose

8VAC20-131-5. Definitions.

The following words and terms apply only to these regulations and do not supersede those definitions used for federal reporting purposes or for the calculation of costs related to the Standards of Quality (§ 22.1-253.13:1 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). When used in these regulations, these words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Accreditation" means a process used by the Virginia Department of Education (hereinafter "department") to evaluate the educational performance of public schools in accordance with these regulations.

"Additional test" means a test, including substitute tests approved by the Board of Education, that students may use in lieu of a Standards of Learning test to obtain verified credit.

"Class period" means a segment of time in the school day that is approximately 1/6 of the instructional day allocated to a course of study, lessons, or activities.

"Combined school" means a public school that contains any combination of or all of the grade levels from kindergarten through grade 12. This definition does not include those schools defined as elementary, middle, or secondary schools.

"Credit accommodations" means adjustments to meet the standard and verified credit requirements for earning a Standard Diploma for students with disabilities.

"Elementary school" means a public school with any grades kindergarten through five.

"Eligible students" means the total number of students of school age enrolled in the school at a grade or course for which a Standards of Learning test is required unless excluded under the provisions of 8VAC20-131-30 F 8VAC20-131-30 G and 8VAC20-131-280 D relative to limited English proficient (LEP) students.

"Enrollment" means the act of complying with state and local requirements relative to the registration or admission of a child for attendance in a school within a local school division. This term also means registration for courses within the student's home school or within related schools or programs.

"First time" means the student has not been enrolled in the school at any time during the current school year (for purposes of 8VAC20-131-60 with reference to students who transfer in during the school year).

"Four core areas" or "four core academic areas" means English, mathematics, science, and history and social science for purposes of testing for the Standards of Learning.

"Graduate" means a student who has earned a Board of Education recognized diploma, which includes the Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical, Standard, Standard Technical, Modified Standard, and Special, and General Achievement diplomas.

"Homebound instruction" means academic instruction provided to students who are confined at home or in a health care facility for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or a licensed clinical psychologist.

"Locally awarded verified credit" means a verified unit of credit awarded by a local school board in accordance with 8VAC20-131-110.

"Middle school" means a public school with any grades 6 through 8.

"Planning period" means one class period per day that is 1/6 of the instructional day, or the equivalent in minutes per week, regardless of the configuration of the class schedules, unencumbered of any teaching or supervisory duties.

"Recess" means a segment of free time exclusive of time provided for meals during the standard school day in which students are given a break from instruction.

"Reconstitution" means a process that may be used to initiate a range of accountability actions to improve pupil performance, curriculum, and instruction to address deficiencies that caused a school to be rated Accredited with Warning or Accreditation Denied that may include, but not be limited to, restructuring a school's governance, instructional program, staff or student population.

"School" means a publicly funded institution where students are enrolled for all or a majority of the instructional day and:

1. Those students are reported in fall membership at the institution; and

2. At a minimum, the institution meets the preaccreditation eligibility requirements of these regulations as adopted by the Board of Education.

"Secondary school" means a public school with any grades 9 through 12.

"Standard school day" means a calendar day that averages at least five and one-half instructional hours for students in grades 1 through 12, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three instructional hours for students in kindergarten.

"Standard school year" means a school year of at least 180 teaching days or a total of at least 990 teaching hours instructional hours per year, as specified in § 22.1-98 of the Code of Virginia.

"Standard unit of credit" or "standard credit" means credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. Local school boards may develop alternatives to the requirement for 140 clock hours of instruction as provided for in 8VAC20-131-110.

"Standards of Learning (SOL) tests" means those criterion referenced criterion-referenced assessments approved by the Board of Education for use in the Virginia assessment program that measure attainment of knowledge and skills required by the Standards of Learning.

"Student" means a person of school age as defined by § 22.1-1 of the Code of Virginia, a child with disabilities as defined in § 22.1-213 of the Code of Virginia, and a person with limited English proficiency in accordance with § 22.1-5 of the Code of Virginia.

"Student periods" means the number of students a teacher instructs per class period multiplied by the number of class periods taught.

"Verified unit of credit" or "verified credit" means credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test or an additional test approved by the Board of Education as part of the Virginia assessment program.

"Virginia assessment program" means a system used to evaluate student achievement that includes Standards of Learning tests and additional tests that may be approved from time to time by the Board of Education.

8VAC20-131-10. Purpose.

The foremost purpose of public education in Virginia is to provide children with a quality education giving them opportunities to meet their fullest potential in life. The standards for the accreditation of public schools in Virginia are designed to ensure that an effective educational program is established and maintained in Virginia's public schools. The mission of the public education system is to educate students in the essential academic knowledge and skills in order that they may be equipped for citizenship, work, and a private life that is informed and free. The accreditation standards:

1. Provide an essential foundation of educational programs of high quality in all schools for all students.

2. Encourage continuous appraisal and improvement of the school program for the purpose of raising student achievement.

3. Foster public confidence.

4. Assure recognition of Virginia's public schools by other institutions of learning.

5. Establish a means of determining the effectiveness of schools.

Section 22.1-253.13:3 B of the Code of Virginia requires the Virginia Board of Education (hereinafter "board") to promulgate regulations establishing standards for accreditation, including student outcome measures; requirements and guidelines for instructional programs and for the integration of educational technology into such instructional programs; administrative and instructional staffing levels and positions, including staff positions for supporting educational technology, student services, auxiliary education programs such as library and media services; course and credit requirements for graduation from high school; community relations; and the philosophy, goals, and objectives of public education in Virginia.

The statutory authority for these regulations is delineated in § 22.1-19 of the Code of Virginia, which includes the requirement that the board shall provide for the accreditation of public elementary, middle and secondary schools in accordance with regulations prescribed by it.

These regulations govern public schools operated by local school boards providing instruction to students as defined in 8VAC20-131-5. Other schools licensed under other state statutes are exempt from these requirements.

Part II
Philosophy, Goals, and Objectives

8VAC20-131-20. Philosophy, goals, and objectives.

A. Each school shall have a current philosophy, goals, and objectives that shall serve as the basis for all policies and practices and shall be developed using the following criteria:

1. The philosophy, goals, and objectives shall be developed with the advice of professional and lay people who represent the various populations served by the school and in consideration of the needs of the community and shall serve as a basis for the creation and review of the biennial school plan.

2. The school's philosophy, goals and objectives shall be consistent with the Standards of Quality.

3. The goals and objectives shall (i) be written in plain language so as to be understandable to noneducators, including parents; (ii) to the extent possible, be stated in measurable terms; and (iii) consist primarily of measurable objectives to raise student and school achievement in the core academic areas of the Standards of Learning (SOL), to close any student achievement gaps, to improve student and staff attendance, to reduce student drop-out rates, to increase graduation rates, and to increase the quality of instruction through professional staff development and licensure.

4. The school staff and community representatives shall review annually the extent to which the school has met its prior goals and objectives, analyze the school's student performance data, including data by grade level or academic department as necessary, and data showing the extent to which any achievement gaps are closed. The principal shall report these outcomes to the division superintendent and the community in accordance with local school board policy. This report shall be in addition to the school report card required by 8VAC20-131-270 B.

B. Copies of the school's philosophy, goals and objectives shall be available upon request and posted on the school or school division’s Web site at the beginning of the school year.

Part III
Student Achievement

8VAC20-131-30. Student achievement expectations.

A. Each student should learn the relevant grade level/course subject matter before promotion to the next grade. The division superintendent shall certify to the Department of Education that the division's promotion/retention policy does not exclude students from membership in a grade, or participation in a course, in which SOL Standards of Learning tests are to be administered. Each school shall have a process, as appropriate, to identify and recommend strategies to address the learning, behavior, communication, or development of individual children who are having difficulty in the educational setting.

B. In kindergarten through eighth grade, where the administration of Virginia assessment program tests are required by the Board of Education, each student shall be expected to take the tests; students following instruction. Students who are accelerated shall take the tests of the grade level enrolled or the tests for the grade level of the content received in instruction test aligned with the highest grade level, following instruction in the content. No student shall take more than one test in any content area in each year. Schools shall use the Virginia assessment program test results in kindergarten through eighth grade as part of a set of multiple criteria for determining the promotion or retention of students. Students promoted to high school from eighth grade should have attained basic mastery of the Standards of Learning in English, history and social science, mathematics, and science and should be prepared for high school work. Students shall not be required to retake the Virginia assessment program tests unless they are retained in grade and have not previously passed the related tests.

With such funds as may be appropriated by the General Assembly, the Board of Education may provide opportunities for students who meet criteria adopted by the board for an expedited retake of a Standards of Learning test in grades three through eight.

C. In kindergarten through grade 12, students may participate in a remediation recovery program as established by the board in English (Reading reading) or mathematics or both.

D. The board recommends that students in kindergarten through grade 8 not be required to attend summer school or weekend remediation classes solely based on failing a SOL Standards of Learning test in science or history/social science. However, any student who fails to achieve a passing score on all of the Standards of Learning assessments for the relevant grade level in grades three through eight or who fails an end-of-course test required for the award of a verified unit of credit shall be required to attend a remediation program or to participate in another form of remediation.

E. Each student in middle and secondary schools shall take all applicable end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning tests following course instruction. The division superintendent shall certify to the Department of Education that the division's policy for dropping courses ensures that students’ course schedules are not changed to avoid the end-of-course assessments. Students who achieve a passing score on an end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test shall be awarded a verified unit of credit in that course in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-110. Students may earn verified units of credit in any courses for which end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning tests are available. Middle and secondary schools may consider the student's end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test score in determining the student's final course grade. However, no student who has failed an end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test but passed the related course shall be prevented from taking any other course in a content area and from taking the applicable end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test. The board may approve additional tests to verify student achievement in accordance with guidelines adopted for verified units of credit described in 8VAC20-131-110. Students who take an additional test approved by the Board to verify a standard unit of credit shall not also be required to take the associated Standards of Learning test.

F. Participation in the Virginia assessment program by students with disabilities shall be prescribed by provisions of their Individualized Education Program (IEP) or § 504 Plan. All students with disabilities shall be assessed with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary.

G. All students identified as limited English proficient (LEP) shall participate in the Virginia assessment program. A school-based committee shall convene and make determinations regarding the participation level of LEP students in the Virginia assessment program. In kindergarten through eighth grade, limited English proficient students may be granted a one-time exemption from SOL Standards of Learning testing in the areas of writing, science, and history and social science. LEP students in grades K-8 who have been enrolled in a United States school for less than one year may be granted a one-time exemption from the Standards of Learning testing in reading.

H. Students identified as foreign exchange students taking courses for credit shall be required to take the relevant Virginia assessment program tests. Foreign exchange students who are auditing courses and who will not receive a standard unit of credit for such courses shall not be required to take the Standards of Learning tests for those courses.

8VAC20-131-40. [Repealed]

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 1, eff. October 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006.

8VAC20-131-50. Requirements for graduation.

A. The requirements for a student to earn a diploma and graduate from a Virginia high school shall be those in effect when that student enters the ninth grade for the first time. Students shall be awarded a diploma upon graduation from a Virginia high school.

The Advanced Studies Diploma shall be the recommended diploma for students pursuing baccalaureate study. Both the Standard and the Advanced Studies Diploma shall prepare students for postsecondary education and the career readiness required by the Commonwealth's economy.

When students below the ninth grade successfully complete courses offered for credit in grades 9 through 12, credit shall be counted toward meeting the standard units required for graduation provided the courses are equivalent in content and academic rigor as those courses offered at the secondary level. To earn a verified unit of credit for these courses, students must meet the requirements of 8VAC20-131-110.

The following requirements shall be the only requirements for a diploma, unless a local school board has prescribed additional requirements that have been approved by the Board of Education. All additional requirements prescribed by local school boards that have been approved by the Board of Education remain in effect until such time as the local school board submits a request to the board to amend or discontinue them.

B. Requirements for a Standard Diploma.

1. Beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2011-2012 2013-2014 and beyond, students shall earn the required standard and verified units of credit described in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. Credits required for graduation with a Standard Diploma.

 

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

Verified Credits Required

 

English

4

2

 

Mathematics1

3

1

 

Laboratory Science2,6

3

1

 

History and Social Sciences3,6

3

1

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

 

Foreign Language, Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education 7

2

 

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

 

Electives4

4

 

 

Student Selected Test5

 

1

Career and Technical Education Credential8

Other Requirements9

 

Total9

22

6

 

1Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two different course selections from among: Algebra I,; Geometry,; Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis,; Algebra II,; or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

2Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least two different science disciplines: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics, or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

3Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia and U.S. History, U.S. and Virginia and U.S. Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

4Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives as required by the Standards of Quality.

5A student may utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career and technical education, economics or other areas as prescribed by the board in 8VAC20-131-110.

6Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association, or acquires a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia may substitute the certification, competency credential, or license for (i) the student-selected verified credit and (ii) either a science or history and social science verified credit when the certification, license, or credential confers more than one verified credit. The examination or occupational competency assessment must be approved by the Board of Education as an additional test to verify student achievement.

7Pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:4 of the Code of Virginia, credits earned for this requirement shall include one credit in fine or performing arts or career and technical education.

8Students shall earn a career and technical education credential approved by the Board of Education that could include, but not be limited to, the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness assessment.

9Students shall successfully complete one virtual course, which may be a noncredit-bearing course or a required or elective credit-bearing course that is offered online.

Beginning with first-time ninth-grade students in the 2016-2017 school year, students shall be trained in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  Any student with a disability whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) or § 504 Plan documents that they cannot successfully complete this training shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement, as provided in 8VAC20-131-350.

3. The Board of Education shall establish, through guidelines, credit accommodations to the standard and verified credit requirements for a Standard Diploma. Such credit accommodations for students with disabilities may include:

a. Approval of alternative courses to meet the standard credit requirements;

b. Modifications to the requirements for local school divisions to award locally awarded verified credits;

c. Approval of additional tests to earn a verified credit;

d. Adjusted cut scores required to earn verified credit; and

e. Allowance of work-based learning experiences.

The student's Individual Individualized Education Program (IEP) or § 504 Plan would specify any credit accommodations that would be applicable for the student.

Students who were in the ninth grade for the first time prior to 2013-2014 and who have a disability may be awarded a Modified Standard Diploma if they meet the graduation requirements that were necessary to earn that diploma when they were in the ninth grade for the first time.  Students who pursue a Modified Standard Diploma shall be allowed to pursue the Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma at any time throughout that student's high school career, and may participate in any credit accommodations specified in the student’s IEP or § 504 Plan.  The student shall not be excluded from courses and tests required to earn these diplomas.

Students completing the requirements for the Standard Diploma may be eligible to receive an honor deemed appropriate by the local school board as described in subsection K I of this section.

C. Requirements for a Standard Technical Diploma.

1. Beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2012-2013 and beyond, students shall earn the required standard and verified units of credit described in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. Credits required for graduation with a Standard Technical Diploma.

 

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

Verified Credits Required

 

English

4

2

 

Mathematics1

3

1

 

Laboratory Science2,5

3

1

 

History and Social Sciences3,5

3

1

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

 

Fine Arts or Foreign Language

1

 

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

 

Career and Technical Education4

4

 

 

Electives

1

 

 

Student Selected6

 

1

 

Total

22

6

 

1Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra Functions and Data Analysis, or Algebra II or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

2Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics, or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

3Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and one course in either world history or geography or both. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

4Courses completed to satisfy this requirement must include a career concentration as approved by the board. If a career concentration includes a specific assessment approved by the board and the student is eligible to take the assessment, then the student must take this assessment.

5Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence and pass an examination or occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education field that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry or trade or professional association or acquires a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia may substitute the certification competency credential or license for (i) the student selected verified credit and (ii) either a science or history and social science verified credit when the certification license or credential confers more than one verified credit. The examination or occupational competency assessment must be approved by the board as an additional test to verify student achievement.

6A student may utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career and technical education, economics or other areas as prescribed by the board in 8VAC20-131-110.

Students completing the requirements for the Standard Technical Diploma may be eligible to receive an honor deemed appropriate by the local school board as described in subsection K of this section.

D. C. Requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma. Any student who meets the requirements for both the Advanced Studies and the Advanced Technical diploma may choose between these two diplomas.)

1. Beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2011-2012 2013-2014 and beyond, students shall earn the required standard and verified units of credit described in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. Credits required for graduation with an Advanced Studies Diploma.

 

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

Verified Credits Required

 

English

4

2

 

Mathematics1

4

2

 

Laboratory Science2

4

2

 

History and Social Sciences3

4

2

 

Foreign Language4

3

 

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

 

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

1

 

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

 

Electives

3

 

 

Student Selected Test5

 

1

Other Requirements6

 

Total6

26

9

 

1Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

2Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The board shall approve additional courses to satisfy this requirement.

3Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia and U.S. History, U.S. and Virginia and U.S. Government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both. The board shall approve additional courses to satisfy this requirement.

4Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include three years of one language or two years of two languages.

5A student may utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career or technical education, economics or other areas as prescribed by the board in 8VAC20-131-110.

6Students shall successfully complete one virtual course, which may be a noncredit-bearing course, or may be a course required to earn this diploma that is offered online.

Beginning with first-time ninth-grade students in the 2016-2017 school year, students shall be trained in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  Any student with a disability whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) or § 504 Plan documents that they cannot successfully complete this training shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement, as provided in 8VAC20-131-350.

Students completing the requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma may be eligible to receive an honor deemed appropriate by the local school board as described in subsection K H I of this section.

E. Requirements for an Advanced Technical Diploma. Any student who meets the requirements for both the Advanced Studies and the Advanced Technical diploma may choose between these two diplomas.

1. Beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2012-2013 and beyond, students shall earn the required standard and verified units of credit described in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

2. Credits required for graduation with an Advanced Technical Diploma.

 

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

Verified Credits Required

 

English

4

2

 

Mathematics1

4

2

 

Laboratory Science2

4

2

 

History and Social Sciences3

4

2

 

Foreign Language4

3

 

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

 

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

1

 

 

Career and Technical Education5

3

 

 

Student Selected Test6

 

1

 

Total

26

9

 

1Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include at least three different course selections from among: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or other mathematics courses above the level of Algebra II. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

2Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include course selections from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics or completion of the sequence of science courses required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

3Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include U.S. and Virginia History, U.S. and Virginia Government, and two courses in either world history or geography or both. The board shall approve courses to satisfy this requirement.

4Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include three years of one language or two years of two languages.

 5Courses completed to satisfy this requirement must include a career concentration as approved by the board. If a career concentration includes a specific assessment approved by the board, and the student is eligible to take the assessment, then the student must take this assessment.

6A student may utilize additional tests for earning verified credit in computer science, technology, career or technical education, economics, or other areas as prescribed by the board in 8VAC20-131-110.

Students completing the requirements for the Advanced Technical Diploma may be eligible to receive an honor deemed appropriate by the local school board as described in subsection K of this section.

F. Requirements for the Modified Standard Diploma.

1. Every student shall be expected to pursue a Standard Diploma, Standard Technical Diploma, Advanced Studies Diploma, or Advanced Technical Diploma. The Modified Standard Diploma program is intended for certain students at the secondary level who have a disability and are unlikely to meet the credit requirements for a Standard Diploma. Eligibility and participation in the Modified Standard Diploma program shall be determined by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team including the student, where appropriate, at any point after the student's eighth grade year.

2. The school must secure the informed written consent of the parent/guardian and the student to choose this diploma program after review of the student's academic history and the full disclosure of the student's options.

3. The student who has chosen to pursue a Modified Standard Diploma shall also be allowed to pursue the Standard Diploma, Standard Technical Diploma, Advanced Studies Diploma, or Advanced Technical Diploma at any time throughout that student's high school career, and the student must not be excluded from courses and tests required to earn these diplomas.

4. Students pursuing the Modified Standard Diploma shall pass literacy and numeracy competency assessments prescribed by the board.

5. Credits required for graduation with a Modified Standard Diploma.

 

Discipline Area

Standard Units of Credit Required

 

English

4

 

Mathematics1

3

 

Science2

2

 

History and Social Sciences3

2

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education

1

 

Electives4

6

 

Total

20

 

1Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include content from among applications of algebra, geometry, personal finance, and probability and statistics in courses that have been approved by the board.

2Courses completed shall include content from at least two of the following: applications of earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics in courses approved by the board.

3Courses completed to satisfy this requirement shall include one unit of credit in U.S. and Virginia History and one unit of credit in U.S. and Virginia Government in courses approved by the board.

4Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives in the same manner required for the Standard Diploma.

6. The student must meet any additional criteria established by the Board of Education.

G. D. Requirements for a Special Diploma

In accordance with the requirements of the Standards of Quality, students with disabilities who complete the requirements of their Individualized Education Program (IEP), including career competencies identified by the IEP team in accordance with guidelines developed by the Board of Education and do not meet the requirements for other diplomas shall be awarded Special Diplomas a special diploma. A student’s IEP team shall be responsible for verifying the successful completion of the IEP and these career competencies.

H. E. Requirements for the Certificate of Completion

 In accordance with the requirements of the Standards of Quality, students who complete prescribed programs of studies defined by the local school board but do not qualify for Standard, Standard Technical, Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical, Modified Standard, or Special, or General Achievement diplomas shall be awarded Certificates of Program Completion. The requirements for Certificates of Program Completion are developed by local school boards in accordance with the Standards of Quality. Students receiving a general achievement diploma shall comply with 8VAC20-680, Regulations Governing the General Achievement Diploma.

F. The Regulations Governing the General Achievement Diploma, 8VAC20-680, have been incorporated into the Regulations Governing Adult High School Programs, 8VAC20-30.

I. F. G. In accordance with the provisions of the compulsory attendance law and 8VAC20-360, Regulations Governing General Educational Development Certificates, students who do not qualify for diplomas may earn a high school equivalency credential.

J. G. H. At a student's request, the local school board shall communicate or otherwise make known to institutions of higher education, potential employers, or other applicable third parties, in a manner that the local school board deems appropriate, that a student has attained the state's academic expectations by earning a Virginia diploma and that the value of such a diploma is not affected in any way by the accreditation status of the student's school.

K. H. I. Awards for exemplary student performance. Students who demonstrate academic excellence and/or outstanding achievement may be eligible for one or more of the following awards:

1. Students who complete the requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma or Advanced Technical Diploma with an average grade of "B" or better, and successfully complete college-level coursework that will earn the student at least nine transferable college credits in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge, or dual enrollment courses a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies or an associate degree from a community college in the Commonwealth concurrent with a high school diploma shall receive the Governor's Seal on the diploma.

2. Students who complete the requirements for a Standard Diploma, Standard Technical Diploma, or an Advanced Studies Diploma or Advanced Technical Diploma with an average grade of "A" and successfully complete college-level coursework that will earn the student at least nine transferable college credits in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge, or dual enrollment courses shall receive a Board of Education Seal on the diploma.

3. The Board of Education's Career and Technical Education Seal will be awarded to students who earn a Standard Diploma, Standard Technical Diploma, or an Advanced Studies Diploma or Advanced Technical Diploma and complete a prescribed sequence of courses in a career and technical education concentration or specialization that they choose and maintain a "B" or better average in those courses; or and (i) pass an examination or an occupational competency assessment in a career and technical education concentration or specialization that confers certification or an occupational competency credential from a recognized industry, trade or professional association or (ii) acquire a professional license in that career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Board of Education shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements.

4. The Board of Education's Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology will be awarded to students who earn either a Standard Diploma, Standard Technical Diploma, or Advanced Studies Diploma or Advanced Technical Diploma and (i) satisfy all of the mathematics requirements for the Advanced Studies Diploma or Advanced Technical Diploma (four units of credit including Algebra II; two verified units of credit) with a "B" average or better; and (ii) either (a) pass an examination in a career and technical education field that confers certification from a recognized industry, or trade or professional association; (b) acquire a professional license in a career and technical education field from the Commonwealth of Virginia; or (c) pass an examination approved by the board that confers college-level credit in a technology or computer science area. The Board of Education shall approve all professional licenses and examinations used to satisfy these requirements.

5. The Board of Education's Seal for Excellence in Civics Education will be awarded to students who earn either a Modified Standard Diploma, Standard Diploma, Standard Technical Diploma, or an Advanced Studies Diploma, or Advanced Technical Diploma and (i) complete Virginia and United States History and Virginia and United States Government courses with a grade of "B" or higher; (ii) have good attendance and no disciplinary infractions as determined by local school board policies; and (iii) complete 50 hours of voluntary participation in community service or extracurricular activities. Activities that would satisfy the requirements of clause (iii) of this subdivision include: (a) volunteering for a charitable or religious organization that provides services to the poor, sick or less fortunate; (b) participating in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or similar youth organizations; (c) participating in JROTC; (d) participating in political campaigns or government internships, or Boys State, Girls State, or Model General Assembly; or (e) participating in school-sponsored extracurricular activities that have a civics focus. Any student who enlists in the United States military prior to graduation will be deemed to have met this community service requirement.

6. Students may receive other seals or awards for exceptional academic, career and technical, citizenship, or other exemplary performance in accordance with criteria defined by the local school board.

L. I. J. Students completing graduation requirements in a summer school program shall be eligible for a diploma. The last school attended by the student during the regular session shall award the diploma unless otherwise agreed upon by the principals of the two schools.

M. J. K. Students who complete Advanced Placement courses, college-level courses, or courses required for an International Baccalaureate Diploma shall be deemed to have completed the course requirements for graduation under these standards provided they have earned the total number of standard units of credit and earned verified units of credit in each discipline area in accordance with the requirements of for the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas, as specified in subsections B and C of this section.

N. K. L. Students shall be counseled annually regarding the opportunities for using additional tests for earning verified credits as provided in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-110, and the consequences of failing to fulfill the obligations to complete the requirements for verified units of credit.

M. Students with disabilities who are using credit accommodations shall be counseled that credit accommodations apply to credits earned for the Standard Diploma, but do not apply to credits earned for the Advanced Studies Diploma.

8VAC20-131-60. Transfer students.

A. The provisions of this section pertain generally to students who transfer into Virginia high schools. Students transferring in grades K-8 from Virginia public schools or nonpublic schools accredited by one of the approved accrediting constituent members of the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) shall be given recognition for all grade-level work completed. The academic record of students transferring from all other schools shall be evaluated to determine appropriate grade placement in accordance with policies adopted by the local school board. The State Testing Identifier (STI) for students who transfer into a Virginia public school from another Virginia public school shall be retained by the receiving school.

B. For the purposes of this section, the term "beginning" means within the first 20 hours of instruction per course. The term "during" means after the first 20 hours of instruction per course.

C. Standard or verified units of credit earned by a student in a Virginia public school shall be transferable without limitation regardless of the accreditation status of the Virginia public school in which the credits were earned. Virginia public schools shall accept standard and verified units of credit from other Virginia public schools, Virginia's virtual learning program, Virtual Virginia, and state-operated programs. Standard units of credit also shall be accepted for courses satisfactorily completed in accredited colleges and universities when prior written approval of the principal has been granted or the student has been given credit by the previous school attended.

D. A secondary school shall accept credits toward graduation received from Virginia nonpublic schools accredited by one of the approved accrediting constituent members of the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE). The Board of Education will maintain contact with the VCPE and may periodically review its accrediting procedures and policies as part of its policies under this section.

Nothing in these standards shall prohibit a public school from accepting standard units of credit toward graduation awarded to students who transfer from all other schools when the courses for which the student receives credit generally match the description of or can be substituted for courses for which the receiving school gives standard credit, and the school from which the child transfers certifies that the courses for which credit is given meet the requirements of 8VAC20-131-110 A.

Students transferring into a Virginia public school shall be required to meet the requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50 to receive a Standard, Standard Technical, or an Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical or Modified Standard Diploma, except as provided by subsection G of this section. To receive a Special Diploma or Certificate of Program Completion, a student must meet the requirements prescribed by the Standards of Quality.

E. The academic record of a student transferring from other Virginia public schools shall be sent directly to the school receiving the student upon request of the receiving school in accordance with the provisions of the 8VAC20-150, Management of the Student's Scholastic Record in the Public Schools of Virginia. The State Testing Identifier (STI) for students who transfer into a Virginia public school from another Virginia public school shall be retained by the receiving school.

F. The academic record of a student transferring into Virginia public schools from other than a Virginia public school shall be evaluated to determine the number of standard units of credit that have been earned, including credit from schools outside the United States, and the number of verified units of credit needed to graduate in accordance with subsection G of this section. Standard units of credit also shall be accepted for courses satisfactorily completed in accredited colleges and universities when the student has been given credit by the previous school attended.

Students transferring above the tenth grade from schools or other education programs that do not require or give credit for health and physical education shall not be required to take these courses to meet graduation requirements.

Students transferring into a Virginia public school from other than a Virginia public school shall earn no fewer than the number of verified units listed in subdivision G.1 or 2 in this section. The school division shall accept the following tests from the sending state, country, private school, or Department of Defense Educational Activity school for the purpose of awarding verified units of credit in courses previously completed at another school or program of study, for the purpose of awarding a Virginia high school diploma. The sending state’s test must include content in the subjects for which verified credit is awarded. The test does not have to be comparable to a Virginia Standards of Learning test, so long as the test includes some content in the subject area.  If the test includes some content from more than one subject, verified credits shall be awarded for every subject area covered by the test.

1. End-of-course tests required for graduation by the sending state.

2. Exit tests required for graduation by the sending state.

3. National norm-referenced achievement tests. When students transfer to a Virginia public school from a state that requires a national norm-referenced achievement test, and that state education agency has set a "cut score" or passing score for the purpose of graduation, the school division shall accept the test for the purpose of awarding a verified credit if the test includes some content in a subject for which a verified credit may be awarded. If that state education agency has not set a cut score for the norm-referenced test, the test may not be used for the purpose of awarding a verified credit or earning a high school diploma.

4. Any substitute test approved by the Board of Education for verified credit shall be accepted in lieu of the applicable Standards of Learning assessments. In addition, industry certifications, occupational competency assessments, and licensure assessments approved by the Board of Education shall be accepted for the student-selected verified credit. The applicable standard credits for awarding a Virginia high school diploma must be earned by the students.

G. Students entering a Virginia public high school for the first time after the tenth grade shall earn as many credits as possible toward the graduation requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50. However, schools may substitute courses required in other states in the same content area if the student is unable to meet the specific content requirements of 8VAC20-131-50 without taking a heavier than normal course load in any semester, by taking summer school, or by taking courses after the time when he otherwise would have graduated. In any event, no such student shall earn fewer than the following number of verified units, nor shall such students be required to take SOL tests or additional tests as defined in 8VAC20-131-110 for verified units of credit in courses previously completed at another school or program of study, unless necessary to meet the requirements listed in subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection:

1. For a Standard Diploma or Standard Technical Diploma:

a. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time during the ninth grade or at the beginning of the tenth grade shall earn credit as prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50;

b. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time during the tenth grade or at the beginning of the eleventh grade shall earn a minimum of four verified units of credit: one each in English, mathematics, history, and science. Students who complete a career and technical education program sequence may substitute a certificate, occupational competency credential or license for either a science or history and social science verified credit pursuant to 8VAC20-131-50; and

c. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time during the eleventh grade or at the beginning of the twelfth grade shall earn a minimum of two verified units of credit: one in English and one of the student's own choosing.

2. For an Advanced Studies Diploma or Advanced Technical Diploma:

a. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time during the ninth grade or at the beginning of the tenth grade shall earn credit as prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50;

b. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time during the tenth grade or at the beginning of the eleventh grade shall earn a minimum of six verified units of credit: two in English and one each in mathematics, history, and science and one of the student's own choosing; and

c. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time during the eleventh grade or at the beginning of the twelfth grade shall earn a minimum of four verified units of credit: one in English and three of the student's own choosing.

H. Students entering a Virginia high school for the first time after the first semester of their eleventh grade year must meet the requirements of subdivision G 1 c or G 2 c of this section. Students transferring after 20 instructional hours per course of their senior or twelfth grade year shall be given every opportunity to earn a Standard, Standard Technical, or an Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical, or Modified Standard Diploma. If it is not possible for the student to meet the requirements for a diploma, arrangements should be made for the student's previous school to award the diploma. If these arrangements cannot be made, a waiver of the verified unit of credit requirements may be available to the student. The Department of Education may grant such waivers upon request by the local school board in accordance with guidelines prescribed by the Board of Education.

I. Any local school division receiving approval to increase its course credit requirements for a diploma may not deny either the Standard, Standard Technical, or the Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical, or Modified Standard Diploma to any transfer student who has otherwise met the requirements contained in these standards if the transfer student can only meet the division's additional requirements by taking a heavier than normal course load in any semester, by taking summer school, or by taking courses after the time when he otherwise would have graduated.

J. The transcript of a student who graduates or transfers from a Virginia secondary school shall conform to the requirements of 8VAC20-160, Regulations Governing Secondary School Transcripts.

K. The accreditation status of a high school shall not be included on the student transcript provided to colleges, universities, or employers. The board expressly states that any student who has met the graduation requirements established in 8VAC20-131-50 and has received a Virginia diploma holds a diploma that should be recognized as equal to any other Virginia diploma of the same type, regardless of the accreditation status of the student's high school. It is the express policy of the board that no student shall be affected by the accreditation status of the student's school. The board shall take appropriate action, from time to time, to ensure that no student is affected by the accreditation status of the student's school.

Part IV
School Instructional Program

8VAC20-131-70. Program of instruction and learning objectives.

A. Each school shall provide a program of instruction that promotes individual student academic achievement in the essential academic disciplines and shall provide additional instructional opportunities that meet the abilities, interests, and educational needs of students. Each school shall establish learning objectives to be achieved by students at successive grade levels that meet or exceed the knowledge and skills contained in the Standards of Learning for English, mathematics, science, and history/social science adopted by the board and shall continually assess the progress of each student in relation to the objectives.

B. Instruction shall be designed to accommodate all students, including those identified with disabilities in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, those identified as gifted/talented, and those who have limited English proficiency. Each school shall provide students identified as gifted/talented with instructional programs taught by teachers with special training or experience in working with gifted/talented students. Students with disabilities shall have the opportunity to receive a full continuum of education services, in accordance with 8VAC20-80 8VAC20-81, Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia and other pertinent federal and state regulations.

8VAC20-131-80. Instructional program in elementary schools.

A. The elementary school shall provide each student a program of instruction that corresponds to the Standards of Learning for English, mathematics, science, and history/social science. In addition, each school shall provide instruction in art, music, and physical education and health and shall require students to participate in a program of physical fitness during the regular school year in accordance with guidelines established by the Board of Education.

B. In kindergarten through grade 3, reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics shall be the focus of the instructional program. Schools shall maintain an early skills and knowledge achievement record in reading and mathematics for each student in grades kindergarten through grade 3 to monitor student progress and to promote successful achievement on the third grade SOL Standards of Learning tests. This record shall be included with the student's records if the student transfers to a new school. Such achievement record may be in a format determined by the local school division.

In accordance with the Standards of Quality, each school shall implement early identification, diagnosis, and assistance for students with reading or mathematics deficits and provide instructional strategies and reading and mathematics practices that benefit the development of reading and mathematics skills for all students.

C. To provide students with sufficient opportunity to learn, a minimum of 75% of the annual instructional time of 990 hours shall be given to instruction in the disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history/social science. Students who are not successfully progressing in early reading proficiency or who are unable to read with comprehension the materials used for instruction shall receive additional instructional time in reading, which may include summer school.

In accordance with the Standards of Quality, each school shall provide reading intervention services to students in grade three who demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the Standards of Learning reading test or any reading diagnostic test that meets the criteria established by the Department of Education. The local school division, in its discretion, shall provide such reading intervention services prior to promoting a student from grade three to grade four.

D. Elementary schools are encouraged to provide instruction in foreign languages.

8VAC20-131-90. Instructional program in middle schools.

A. The middle school shall provide each student a program of instruction which corresponds to the Standards of Learning for English, mathematics, science, and history/social science. In addition, each school shall provide instruction in art, music, foreign language, physical education and health, and career and technical exploration and shall require students to participate in a program of physical fitness during the regular school year in accordance with guidelines established by the Board of Education.

B. The middle school shall provide a minimum of eight courses to students in the eighth grade. English, mathematics, science, and history/social science shall be required. Four elective courses shall be available: level one of a foreign language, one in health and physical education, one in fine arts, and one in career and technical exploration.

C. Level one of a foreign language and an Algebra I course shall be available to all eighth grade students. For any high school credit-bearing course taken in middle school, parents may request that grades be omitted from the student's transcript and the student not earn high school credit for the course in accordance with policies adopted by the local school board. Any end-of-course test score associated with such course shall also be expunged from the student’s record. Notice of this provision must be provided to parents with a deadline and format for making such a request. Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to prevent a middle school from offering any other credit-bearing courses for graduation.

D. To provide students a sufficient opportunity to learn, each student shall be provided 140 clock hours a total of at least 560 instructional hours per year of instruction in each of the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history/social science. Sixth grade students may receive an alternative schedule of instruction provided each student receives at least 560 total clock hours of instruction in the four academic disciplines.

E. Each school shall ensure that students who are unable to read with comprehension the materials used for instruction receive additional instruction in reading, which may include summer school.

F. Each school shall ensure that students who need targeted mathematics remediation and intervention, including remediation or intervention for computational deficiencies as demonstrated by their individual performance on any diagnostic test or grade-level Standards of Learning mathematics test shall receive additional instruction in mathematics, which may include summer school.

8VAC20-131-100. Instructional program in secondary schools.

A. The secondary school shall provide each student a program of instruction in the academic areas of English, mathematics, science, and history/social science that enables each student to meet the graduation requirements described in 8VAC20-131-50 and shall offer opportunities for students each student to pursue a program of studies in foreign languages, fine arts, and career and technical areas including:

1. Career and technical education choices that prepare the student as a career and technical education program completer in one of three or more occupational areas and that prepare the student for technical or preprofessional postsecondary programs;

2. Coursework and experiences that prepare the student for college-level studies including access to at least three Advanced Placement (AP) courses, college-level courses for degree credit, International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, Cambridge courses, or any combination thereof;

3. Preparation for college admissions tests; and

4. Opportunities to study and explore the fine arts and foreign languages.

B. Minimum course offerings for each secondary school shall provide opportunities for students to meet the graduation requirements stated in 8VAC20-131-50 and must include:

 

English

4

 

Mathematics

4

 

Science (Laboratory)

4

 

History and Social Sciences

4

 

Foreign Language

3

 

Electives

4

 

Career and Technical Education

11

 

Fine Arts

2

 

Health and Physical Education

2

 

Economics and Personal Finance

1

 

Total Units

39

C. Classroom driver education may count for 36 class periods, or the equivalent, in minutes, of health education. Students shall not be removed from classes other than health and physical education for the in-car phase of driver education.

D. Each school shall ensure that students who are unable to read with comprehension the materials used for instruction receive additional instruction in reading, which may include summer school.

E. In accordance with the Standards of Quality, each school shall ensure that students who need targeted mathematics remediation and intervention, including remediation or intervention for computational deficiencies as demonstrated by their individual performance on any diagnostic test or grade-level Standards of Learning mathematics test shall receive additional instruction in mathematics, which may include summer school.

8VAC20-131-110. Standard and verified units of credit.

A. The standard unit of credit for graduation shall be based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction and successful completion of the requirements of the course. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded must be no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction provided. If a school division elects to award credit on a basis other than the 140 clock hours of instruction required for a standard unit of credit defined in this subsection, the local school division shall develop a written policy approved by the superintendent and school board which ensures:

1. That the content of the course for which credit is awarded is comparable to 140 clock hours of instruction; and

2. That upon completion, the student will have met the aims and objectives of the course.

A. The standard unit of credit for graduation shall be based on successful completion of the requirements of the course.

B. A verified unit of credit for graduation shall be based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction, successful completion of the requirements of the course, and the achievement by the student of a passing score on the end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test for that course or additional tests as described in this subsection. A student may also earn a verified unit of credit by the following methods:

1. In accordance with the provisions of the Standards of Quality, students may earn a standard and verified unit of credit for any elective course in which the core academic SOL Standards of Learning course content has been integrated and the student passes the related end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test. Such course and test combinations must be approved by the Board of Education.

2. Upon the recommendation of the division superintendent and demonstration of mastery of course content and objectives, qualified students may receive a standard unit of credit and be permitted to sit for the relevant SOL test to earn a verified credit without having to meet the 140-clock-hour requirement.

3. 2. Students who do not pass Standards of Learning tests in science or history and social science may receive locally awarded verified credits from the local school board in accordance with criteria established in guidelines adopted by the Board of Education.

C. The Board of Education may from time to time approve additional tests for the purpose of awarding verified credit. Such additional tests, which enable students to earn verified units of credit, must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

1. The test must be standardized and graded independently of the school or school division in which the test is given;

2. The test must be knowledge based;

3. The test must be administered on a multistate or international basis, or administered as part of another state's accountability assessment program; and

4. To be counted in a specific academic area, the test must measure content that incorporates or exceeds the SOL Standards of Learning content in the course for which verified credit is given.

The Board of Education will set the score that must be achieved to earn a verified unit of credit on the additional test options.

D. With such funds as are appropriated by the General Assembly, the Board of Education will provide opportunities for students who meet criteria adopted by the board to have an expedited retake of a SOL Standards of Learning test to earn verified credit or to meet literacy and numeracy requirements for the Modified Standard Diploma or to upgrade a previously earned pass/proficient score to an advanced/college path score on end-of-course assessments where such scores are available.

8VAC20-131-120. Summer school.

A. The courses offered and the quality of instruction in the summer school program shall be comparable to that offered during the regular school term. At the middle and secondary school levels, credit for courses taken for credit toward graduation other than a repeat course shall be awarded in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-131-110. Students must also meet the requirements for SOL Standards of Learning testing if appropriate.

B. At the middle and secondary school levels, credit for repeat courses ordinarily will be granted on the same basis as that for new courses; however, with prior approval of the principal, students may be allowed to enroll in repeat courses to be completed in no less than 70 clock hours of instruction per unit of credit. Students must also meet the requirements for SOL testing if appropriate.

C. B. Summer school instruction at any level, which is provided as part of a state-funded remedial program, shall be designed to improve specific identified student deficiencies. Such programs shall be conducted in accordance with regulations adopted by the board.

8VAC20-131-130. Elective courses.

Locally developed elective courses offered for credit toward high school graduation shall be approved by the division superintendent and local school board.

8VAC20-131-140. College and career preparation programs and opportunities for postsecondary credit.

Each middle and secondary school shall provide for the early identification and enrollment of students in a college preparation program with a range of educational and academic experiences in and outside the classroom, including an emphasis on experiences that will motivate disadvantaged and minority students to attend college.

Beginning in the middle school years, students shall be counseled on opportunities for beginning postsecondary education and opportunities for obtaining industry certifications, occupational competency credentials, or professional licenses in a career and technical education field prior to high school graduation. Such opportunities shall include access to at least three Advanced Placement courses , International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge courses, or three college-level courses for degree credit pursuant to 8VAC20-131-100. Students taking advantage of such opportunities shall not be denied participation in school activities for which they are otherwise eligible. Wherever possible, students shall be encouraged and afforded opportunities to take college courses simultaneously for high school graduation and college degree credit (dual enrollment), under the following conditions:

1. Written approval of the high school principal prior to participation in dual enrollment must be obtained;

2. The college must accept the student for admission to the course or courses; and

3. The course or courses must be given by the college for degree credits (no remedial courses will be accepted).

Schools that comply with this standard shall not be penalized in receiving state appropriations.

Beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year, all schools shall begin development of a personal Academic and Career Plan for each seventh-grade student with completion by the fall of the student's eighth-grade year. Students who transfer from other than a Virginia public school into the eighth grade shall have the Plan developed as soon as practicable following enrollment. Beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, students who transfer into a Virginia public school after their eighth-grade year shall have an Academic and Career Plan developed upon enrollment. The components of the Plan shall include, but not be limited to, the student's program of study for high school graduation and a postsecondary career pathway based on the student's academic and career interests. The Academic and Career Plan shall be developed in accordance with guidelines established by the Board of Education and signed by the student, student's parent or guardian, and school official(s) designated by the principal. The Plan shall be included in the student's record and shall be reviewed and updated, if necessary, before the student enters the ninth and eleventh grades. The school shall have met its obligation for parental involvement if it makes a good faith effort to notify the parent or guardian of the responsibility for the development and approval of the Plan. Any personal academic and career plans prescribed by local school boards for students in grades 7 through 12 and in effect as of June 30, 2009, are approved to continue without further action by the board.

8VAC20-131-150. Standard school year and school day.

A. The standard school year shall be 180 instructional days or 990 instructional hours. The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5-1/2 instructional hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of three hours for kindergarten.

B. All students in grades 1 through 12 shall maintain a full day schedule of classes (5-1/2 hours), unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the local school board.

8VAC20-131-160. [Repealed]

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 1, eff. October 29, 1997; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006.

8VAC20-131-170. Family Life Education.

Each school may implement the Standards of Learning for the Family Life Education program promulgated by the Board of Education or a Family Life Education program consistent with the guidelines developed by the board, which shall have the goals of reducing the incidence of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases and substance abuse among teenagers.

8VAC20-131-180. Off-site instruction.

A. Homebound instruction shall be made available to students who are confined at home or in a health care facility for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist. For students eligible for special education or related services, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) committee must revise the IEP, as appropriate. Credit for the work shall be awarded when it is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher, a person eligible to hold a Virginia teaching license, or other appropriately licensed professional employed by the local school board, and there is evidence that the instructional time requirements or alternative means of awarding credit adopted by the local school board in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-110 have been met.

B. Students may enroll in and receive a standard and verified unit of credit for supervised correspondence courses with prior approval of the principal. Standard units of credit shall be awarded for the successful completion of such courses when the course is equivalent to that offered in the regular school program and the work is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher, or a person eligible to hold a Virginia teaching license, and approved by the local school board. Verified units of credit may be earned when the student has passed the SOL Standards of Learning test associated with the correspondence course completed. The local school board shall develop policies governing this method of instruction in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC 20-131-110 and the administration of required SOL Standards of Learning tests prescribed by 8VAC20-131-30.

C. Schools are encouraged to pursue alternative means to deliver instruction to accommodate student needs through virtual courses, emerging technologies and other similar means. Standard units of credit shall be awarded for successful completion of such courses when the course is equivalent to that offered in the regular school program and the work is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher, or a person eligible to hold a Virginia teaching license and approved by the local school board. Verified units of credit may be earned when the student has successfully completed the requirements and passed the SOL Standards of Learning test associated with the course. The local school board shall develop policies governing this method of delivery of instruction that shall include the provisions of 8VAC20-131-110 and the administration of required SOL Standards of Learning tests prescribed by 8VAC20-131-30.

8VAC20-131-190. Library media, materials and equipment.

A. Each school shall maintain an organized library media center as the resource center of the school and provide a unified program of media services and activities for students and teachers before, during, and after school. The library media center shall contain hard copy, electronic technological resources, materials, and equipment that are sufficient to meet research, inquiry, and reading requirements of the instructional program and general student interest.

B. Each school shall provide a variety of materials and equipment to support the instructional program.

8VAC20-131-200. Extracurricular and other school activities; recess.

A. School sponsored extracurricular activities shall be under the direct supervision of the staff and shall contribute to the educational objectives of the school. Extracurricular activities must be organized to avoid interrupting the instructional program. Extracurricular activities shall not be permitted to interfere with the student's required instructional activities. Extracurricular activities and eligibility requirements shall be established and approved by the superintendent and the school board.

B. Competitive sports of a varsity nature (scheduled league games) shall be prohibited as a part of the elementary school program.

C. Each elementary school shall provide students with a daily recess during the regular school year as determined appropriate by the school.

Part V
School and Instructional Leadership

8VAC20-131-210. Role of the principal.

A. The principal is recognized as the instructional leader of the school and is responsible for effective school management that promotes positive student achievement, a safe and secure environment in which to teach and learn, and efficient use of resources. As a matter of policy, the board, through these standards, recognizes the critically important role of principals to the success of public schools and the students who attend those schools and recommends that local school boards provide principals with the maximum authority available under law in all matters affecting the school including, but not limited to, instruction and personnel, in a manner that allows the principal to be held accountable in a fair and consistent manner for matters under his direct control.

B. As the instructional leader, the principal is responsible for ensuring that students are provided an opportunity to learn and shall:

1. Protect the academic instructional time from unnecessary interruptions and disruptions and enable the professional teaching staff to spend the maximum time possible in the teaching/learning process by keeping to a minimum clerical responsibility and the time students are out of class;

2. Ensure that the school division's student code of conduct is enforced and seek to maintain a safe and secure school environment;

3. Analyze the school's test scores annually, by grade and by discipline, to:

a. Direct and require appropriate prevention, intervention, and/or remediation to those students performing below grade level or not passing the SOL Standards of Learning tests;

b. Involve the staff of the school in identifying the types of staff development needed to improve student achievement and ensure that the staff participate in those activities; and

c. Analyze classroom practices and methods for improvement of instruction; and

d. Determine strategies necessary to close any achievements gaps between groups of students in the school.

4. Ensure that students' records are maintained and that criteria used in making placement and promotion decisions, as well as any instructional interventions used to improve the student's performance, are included in the record;

5. Monitor and evaluate the quality of instruction, provide staff development, provide support that is designed to improve instruction, and seek to ensure the successful attainment of the knowledge and skills required for students by the SOL tests Standards of Learning; and ensure that teacher evaluations are carried out in a manner consistent with the Board of Education’s evaluation guidelines.

6. Maintain records of students who drop out of school, including their reasons for dropping out and actions taken to prevent these students from dropping out;

7. Notify the parents of rising eleventh-grade and twelfth-grade students of:

a. The number of standard and verified units of credit required for graduation; and

b. The remaining number of such units of credit the individual student requires for graduation; and

8. Notify the parent or guardian of students removed from class for disciplinary reasons for two or more consecutive days in whole or in part. The school shall have met its obligation if it makes a good faith effort to notify the parent or guardian.

C. As the school manager, the principal shall:

1. Work with staff to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy and to facilitate constructive communication by establishing and maintaining a current handbook of personnel policies and procedures;

2. Work with the community to involve parents and citizens in the educational program and facilitate communication with parents by maintaining and disseminating a current student handbook of policies and procedures that includes the school division's standards of student conduct and procedures for enforcement, along with other matters of interest to parents and students;

3. Maintain a current record of licensure, endorsement, and in-service training completed by staff; and

4. Maintain records of receipts and disbursements of all funds handled. These records shall be audited annually by a professional accountant approved by the local school board.; and

5. Ensure the security of all tests administered to students, including those required by the Board of Education and the local school division.  This includes, but shall not be limited to:

a. The requirement that all schools adhere to a policy that prohibits students’ cell phones and other electronic devices with texting or camera capabilities to be in the room where a Standards of Learning test is being administered;

b. The requirement that, to the extent possible, the teacher should not administer the Standards of Learning test associated with the grade level content or class taught;

c. Notification to teachers of the penalties for breaching security on Standards of Learning tests, including actions against the teacher’s license and civil penalties; and

d. Establishment of penalties for students who breach security on Standards of Learning tests.

6. Facilitate collaborative partnerships with students’ families and the community.

8VAC20-131-220. Role of professional teaching staff.

The professional teaching staff shall be responsible for providing instruction that is educationally sound in an atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy, which is conducive to learning, and in which all students are expected to achieve the objectives of the Standards of Learning for the appropriate grade level or course. The staff shall:

1. Serve as role models for effective oral and written communication with special attention to the correct use of language and spelling;

2. Strive to strengthen the basic skills of students in all subjects and to close any achievement gaps between groups of students in the school;

3. Establish teaching objectives to achieve the following:

a. Identify what students are expected to learn; and

b. Inform students of the achievement expected and keep them engaged in learning tasks;

4. Provide for individual differences of students through the use of differentiated instruction, varied materials, and activities suitable to their interests and abilities; and

5. Assess the progress of students and report promptly and constructively to them and their parents.

8VAC20-131-230. Role of support staff.

The school's support staff shall work with the principal and professional teaching staff to promote student achievement and successful attainment of the school's goals.

8VAC20-131-240. Administrative and support staff; staffing requirements.

A. Each school shall have at a minimum the staff as specified in the Standards of Quality with proper licenses and endorsements for the positions they hold.

B. The principal of each middle and secondary school shall be employed on a 12-month basis.

C. Each elementary, middle, and secondary school with 350 or more students and each middle school with 400 or more students shall employ at least one member of the guidance staff for 11 months as prescribed in the Standards of Quality. Guidance counseling shall be provided for students to ensure that a program of studies contributing to the student's academic achievement and meeting the graduation requirements specified in 8VAC20-131-50 is being followed.

D. The counseling program for elementary, middle, and secondary schools shall provide a minimum of 60% of the time for each member of the guidance staff devoted to counseling of students.

E. The middle or secondary school classroom teacher's standard load shall be based on teaching no more than 5/6 of the instructional day , or the equivalent in minutes per week, regardless of the configuration of the class schedules, with no more than 150 student periods per day or 30 class periods per week students per school year. A middle school classroom teacher's standard load shall be based on teaching no more than 5/6 of the instructional day with no more than 150 student periods per day or 25 class periods per week. Physical education and music teachers, however, may teach 200 students per school year.

F. The secondary classroom teacher's standard load shall be based on teaching no more than 5/6 of the instructional day with no more than 150 student periods per day or 25 class periods per week. Teachers of block programs that encompass more than one class period with no more than 120 student periods per day may teach 30 class periods per week. Teachers who teach very small classes may teach 30 class periods per week, provided the teaching load does not exceed 75 student periods per day. If a classroom teacher teaches 30 class periods per week with more than 75 student periods per day, more than 5/6 of the total instructional time per day in minutes, or the equivalent per week, or more than 150 students each year, an appropriate contractual arrangement and compensation shall be provided.

G. Middle or secondary school teachers shall teach no more than 750 student periods per week; however, physical education and music teachers may teach 1,000 student periods per week.

H. G. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections E, F, and G E and F, each full-time middle and secondary classroom teacher shall be provided one planning period per day or the equivalent, unencumbered of any teaching or supervisory duties.

I. H. Staff-student ratios in special education and career and technical education classrooms shall comply with regulations of the Board of Education.

J. I. Student services personnel support positions as defined in the Standards of Quality shall be available as necessary to promote academic achievement and to provide support services to the school.

8VAC20-131-250. [Repealed]

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 1, eff. October 29, 1997; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000.

Part VI
School Facilities and Safety

8VAC20-131-260. School facilities and safety.

A. Each school shall be maintained in a manner ensuring compliance with the Virginia Statewide Building Code (13VAC5-63). In addition, the school administration shall:

1. Maintain a physical plant that is accessible, barrier free, safe, and clean;

2. Provide for the proper outdoor display of flags of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia;

3. Provide suitable space for classrooms, administrative staff, pupil personnel services, library and media services, and for the needs and safety of physical education;

4. Provide adequate, safe, and properly-equipped laboratories to meet the needs of instruction in the sciences, technology, fine arts, and career and technical programs; and

5. Provide facilities for the adequate and safe administration and storage of student medications; and

6. Carry out the duties of the threat assessment team established by the division superintendent and implement policies established by the local school board related to threat assessment, pursuant to §22.1-79.4.

B. Each school shall maintain records of regular safety, health, and fire inspections that have been conducted and certified by local health and fire departments. The frequency of such inspections shall be determined by the local school board in consultation with the local health and fire departments. In addition, the school administration shall:

1. Equip all exit doors with panic hardware as required by the Virginia Statewide Building Code (13VAC5-63); and

2. Conduct fire drills at least once a week during the first month of school and at least once each month for the remainder of the school term. Evacuation routes for students shall be posted in each room. Additionally, at least one two simulated lock-down drills and crisis emergency evacuation activity should activities shall be conducted early in the school year each school year, one in September and one in January.

C. Each school shall have contingency plans for emergencies that include staff certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the Heimlich maneuver, and emergency first aid. In addition, the school administration shall ensure that the school has:

Each school building with instructional or administrative staff of ten or more shall have at least three employees with current certification or training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of an automated external defibrillator. If one or more students diagnosed as having diabetes attend such school, at least two employees shall have been trained in the administration of insulin and glucagon.

Each school building with instructional or administrative staff fewer than ten shall have at least two employees with current certification or training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of an automated external defibrillator.  If one or more students diagnosed as having diabetes attend such school, at least one employee shall have been trained in the administration of insulin and glucagon.

1. Written procedures to follow in emergencies such as fire, injury, illness, allergic reactions, and violent or threatening behavior. The plan shall be outlined in the student handbook and discussed with staff and students during the first week of each school year;

2. Space for the proper care of students who become ill;

3. A written procedure, in accordance with guidelines established by the local school board, for responding to violent, disruptive or illegal activities by students on school property or during a school sponsored activity; and

4. Written procedures to follow for the safe evacuation of persons with special physical, medical, or language needs who may need assistance to exit a facility.

D. In addition, the school administration shall ensure that the school has:

1. Written procedures to follow in emergencies such as fire, injury, illness, allergic reactions, and violent or threatening behavior. This shall include school board policies for the possession and administration of epinephrine in every school, to be administered by any school nurse, employee of the school board, employee of a local governing body, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of epinephrine to any student believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction. The plan shall be outlined in the student handbook and discussed with staff and students during the first week of each school year;

2. Space for the proper care of students who become ill;

3. A written procedure, in accordance with guidelines established by the local school board, for responding to violent, disruptive or illegal activities by students on school property or during a school sponsored activity; and

4. Written procedures to follow for the safe evacuation of persons with special physical, medical, or language needs who may need assistance to exit a facility.

Part VII
School and Community Communications

8VAC20-131-270. School and community communications.

A. Each school shall promote communication and foster mutual understanding with parents and the community. Each school shall:

1. Involve parents, citizens, community agencies, and representatives from business and industry in developing, disseminating, and explaining the biennial school plan; on advisory committees; in curriculum studies; and in evaluating the educational program.

2. Provide annually to the parents and the community the School Performance Report Card in a manner prescribed by the board. The information contained therein will be for the most recent three-year period. Such information shall include but not be limited to:

a. Virginia assessment program results by percentage of participation and proficiency and disaggregated by student subgroups.

b. The accreditation rating earned by the school.

c. Attendance rates for students.

d. Information related to school safety to include, but not be limited to, incidents of crime and violence.

e. Information related to qualifications and educational attainment of the teaching staff.

f. In addition, secondary schools' School Performance Report Cards shall include the following:

(1) Advanced Placement (AP) information to include percentage of students who take AP courses and percentage of students who take AP tests;

(2) International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge course information to include percentage of students who are enrolled in IB or Cambridge programs and percentage of students who receive IB or Cambridge Diplomas;

(3) College-level course information to include percentage of students who take college-level courses including dual enrollment courses;

(4) Number and percentage of (i) graduates by diploma type as prescribed by the Board of Education, (ii) certificates awarded to the senior class including GED credentials, and (iii) students who do not complete high school;

(5) As a separate category on the school report card, the number of students obtaining board-approved industry certifications, and passing state licensure examinations, national occupational competency assessments and Virginia workplace readiness skills assessments while still in high school and the number of career and technical education completers who graduated; and

(6) Number and percentage of drop-outs.

3. Cooperate with business and industry in formulating career and technical educational programs and conducting joint enterprises involving personnel, facilities, training programs, and other resources.

4. Encourage and support the establishment and/or continuation of a parent-teacher association or other organization and work cooperatively with it.

B. At the beginning of each school year, each school shall provide to its students' parents or guardians information on the availability of and source for receiving:

1. The learning objectives developed in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-70 to be achieved at their child's grade level or, in high school, a copy of the syllabus for each of their child's courses, including a notice to parents identifying any sensitive or sexually explicit materials that may be included in the course, the textbook, or any supplemental instructional materials; and a copy of the school division promotion, retention, and remediation policies;

2. The Standards of Learning applicable to the child's grade or course requirements and the approximate date and potential impact of the child's next SOL Standards of Learning testing; and

3. An annual notice to students in all grade levels of all requirements for Standard, Standard Technical, and Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical and Modified Standard Diplomas, and the board's policies on promotion and retention as outlined in 8VAC20-131-30.

The division superintendent shall report to the department compliance with this subsection through the preaccreditation eligibility procedures in 8VAC20-131-290.

Part VIII
School Accreditation

8VAC20-131-280. Expectations for school accountability.

A. Schools will be accredited annually based on compliance with preaccreditation eligibility requirements and achievement of the school accountability requirements of 8VAC20-131-300 C.

B. Each school shall be accredited based, primarily, on achievement of the criteria established in 8VAC20-131-30 and in 8VAC20-131-50 as specified below:

1. The percentage of students passing enrolled in the school who pass the Virginia assessment program tests in the four core academic areas administered in the school with the accreditation rating calculated on a trailing three-year average that includes the current year scores and the scores from the two most recent years in each applicable academic area, or on the current year's scores, whichever is higher.

2. The percentage of students graduating from or completing high school based on a graduation and completion index prescribed by the Board of Education. The accreditation rating of any school with a twelfth grade shall be determined based on achievement of required SOL Standards of Learning pass rates and percentage points on the board's graduation and completion index. School accreditation shall be determined by the school's current year index points or a trailing three-year average of index points that includes the current year and the two most recent years, whichever is higher. The Board of Education's graduation and completion index shall include weighted points for diploma graduates (100 points), GED recipients (75 points), students not graduating but still in school (70 points), and students earning certificates of program completion (25 points).

Students who earn both a diploma and an industry certification, industry pathway certification, a state licensure, or an occupational competency credential in a career and technical education program, when such certification, licensure, or credential is approved by the Board of Education as student-selected verified credit shall earn 103 points; however, the additional three points shall not be used to obtain a higher accreditation rating.

The Board of Education's graduation and completion index shall account for all students in the graduating class's ninth-grade cohort, plus students transferring in, minus students transferring out and deceased students. Those students who are not included in one of the preceding categories will also be included in the index.

3. The number of students who successfully complete a remediation recovery program.

4. Schools, with grade configurations that do not house a grade or offer courses for which SOL Standards of Learning tests or additional tests approved by the Board of Education as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110 are administered, will be paired with another school in the division housing one or more of the grades in which SOL Standards of Learning tests are administered. The pairing of such schools will be made upon the recommendation of the local superintendent. The schools should have a "feeder" relationship and the grades should be contiguous.

A local school board, on behalf of any school that is required to be paired, may request the Board of Education for approval of an alternative accreditation plan that includes student growth indicators.

C. Subject to the provisions of 8VAC20-131-350, the governing school board of special purpose schools such as those provided for in § 22.1-26 of the Code of Virginia, Governor's schools, special education schools, alternative schools, or career and technical schools that serve as the student's school of principal enrollment may seek approval of an alternative accreditation plan from the Board of Education. Schools offering alternative education programs and schools with a graduation cohort of 50 or fewer students as defined by the graduation rate formula adopted by the board may request that the board approve an alternative accreditation plan to meet the graduation and completion index benchmark. Special purpose schools with alternative accreditation plans shall be evaluated on standards appropriate to the programs offered in the school and approved by the board prior to August 1 of the school year for which approval is requested. Any student graduating from a special purpose school with a Standard, Standard Technical, or an Advanced Studies, Advanced Technical, or Modified Standard Diploma must meet the requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50.

In addition, pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:3 of the Code of Virginia, any school board, on behalf of one or more of its schools, may request the Board of Education for approval of an Individual School Accreditation Plan for the evaluation of the performance of one or more of its schools as authorized for special purpose schools.

D. When calculating the passing rates on Virginia assessment program tests for the purpose of school accreditation, the following tolerances for limited English proficient (LEP) and transfer students will apply:

1. The scores of LEP students enrolled in Virginia public schools fewer than 11 semesters may be removed from the calculation used for the purpose of school accreditation required by 8VAC20-131-280 B and 8VAC20-131-300 C. Completion of a semester shall be based on school membership days. Membership days are defined as the days the student is officially enrolled in a Virginia public school, regardless of days absent or present. For a semester to count as a completed semester, a student must have been in membership for a majority of the membership days of the semester. These semesters need not be consecutive.

2. In accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-30, all students who transfer into Virginia public schools are expected to take and pass all applicable SOL Standards of Learning tests in the content areas in which they receive instruction.

3. All students who transfer within a school division shall have their scores counted in the calculation of the school's accreditation rating. Students who transfer into a Virginia school from home instruction, or from another Virginia school division, another state, or another country, in grades kindergarten through 8 shall be expected to take all applicable SOL Standards of Learning tests or additional tests approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110 for the grade level or courses in which they are enrolled. If the transfer takes place after the 20th instructional day following the opening of school, the scores on these tests may be used in calculating school accreditation ratings.

4. Students who transfer into a Virginia middle or high school from home instruction, or from another state or country, and enroll in a course for which there is an end-of-course SOL Standards of Learning test, shall be expected to take the test or additional tests for that course approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110. If the transfer takes place after 20 instructional hours per course have elapsed following the opening of school or beginning of the semester, if applicable, the scores on those tests may be used in calculating school accreditation ratings in the year the transfer occurs.

5. Students who enroll on the first day of school and subsequently transfer to a school outside of the division for a total amount of instructional time equal to or exceeding 50% of a current school year or semester, whether the transfer was a singular or multiple occurrence, and return during the same school year shall be expected to take any applicable SOL Standards of Learning test. The scores of those tests may be used in calculating the school accreditation rating in the year in which the transfers occur.

E. The Board of Education may adopt special provisions related to the administration and use of any Virginia assessment program test in a content area. The Board of Education may adopt special provisions related to the administration and use of the graduation and completion index, as prescribed by the board. The Board of Education may also alter the inclusions and exclusions from the accreditation calculations by providing adequate notice to local school boards. The board may add new tests or discontinue the use of existing tests in the Virginia Assessment Program by providing adequate notice to local school boards.

F. As a prerequisite to the awarding of an accreditation rating as defined in 8VAC20-131-300, each new or existing school shall document, in a manner prescribed by the board, the following: (i) the division's promotion/retention policies developed in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-131-30, (ii) compliance with the requirements to offer courses that will allow students to complete the graduation requirements in 8VAC20-131-50, (iii) the ability to offer the instructional program prescribed in 8VAC20-131-70 through 8VAC20-131-100, (iv) the leadership and staffing requirements of 8VAC20-131-210 through 8VAC20-131-240, and (v) the facilities and safety provisions of 8VAC20-131-260. The division superintendent shall report to the department compliance with this subsection through the preaccreditation eligibility procedures in 8VAC20-131-290.

G. In case of testing irregularities where it is not possible to obtain valid test scores through retesting students, scores resulting from the testing irregularities shall not be used in the accreditation calculation.

8VAC20-131-290. Procedures for certifying accreditation eligibility.

A. Schools will be accredited under these standards annually based, in part, on compliance with the preaccreditation eligibility requirements described in 8VAC20-131-280 F.

B. To be eligible for accreditation, the principal of each school and the division superintendent shall report to the Department of Education:

1. The extent to which each school continues to meet standards reported as met in the previous year described in 8VAC20-131-280 F.

2. That the SOL Standards of Learning have been fully incorporated into the school division's curriculum in all accreditation-eligible schools and the SOL Standards of Learning material is being taught to all students eligible to take the SOL Standards of Learning tests. This shall be certified by each school division superintendent as part of the preaccreditation eligibility determination process.

3. Actions taken to correct any noncompliance issues cited in the previous year.

4. Compliance with 8VAC20-131-270 B.

The principal of each school and the division superintendent shall submit preaccreditation eligibility reports in a manner prescribed by the board to the Department of Education. Failure to submit the reports on time will constitute grounds for denying accreditation to the school.

C. In keeping with provisions of the Standards of Quality, and in conjunction with the long-range comprehensive plan of the division, each school shall prepare and implement a biennial school plan which shall be available to students, parents, staff, and the public. Each biennial school plan shall be evaluated as part of the development of the next biennial plan. Schools may use other plans to satisfy the requirement for the biennial plan with prior written approval from the Department of Education.

D. With the approval of the local school board, local schools seeking to implement experimental or innovative programs, or both, that are not consistent with these standards shall submit a waiver request, on forms provided, to the board for evaluation and approval prior to implementation. The request must include the following:

1. Purpose and objectives of the experimental/innovative programs;

2. Description and duration of the programs;

3. Anticipated outcomes;

4. Number of students affected;

5. Evaluation procedures; and

6. Mechanisms for measuring goals, objectives, and student academic achievement.

Except as specified below, the board may grant, for a period up to five years, a waiver of these regulations that are not mandated by state or federal law or designed to promote health or safety. The board may grant all or a portion of the request. Waivers of requirements in 8VAC20-131-30, 8VAC20-131-50, 8VAC20-131-70, and 8VAC20-131-280 through 8VAC20-131-340 shall not be granted, and no waiver may be approved for a program which would violate the provisions of the Standards of Quality.

8VAC20-131-300. Application of the standards.

A. Schools that meet the preaccreditation eligibility requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-280 F shall be assigned one of the following ratings as described in this section:

1. Fully Accredited with Distinction;

1. 2. Fully Accredited;

2. 3. Accredited with Warning in (specified academic area or areas and/or in achievement of the minimum threshold for the graduation and completion index);

3. 4. Accreditation Denied;

4. 5. Conditionally Accredited - Reconstituted ;

5. 6. Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate;

7. Conditionally Accredited - New.

B. Compliance with the student academic achievement expectations shall be documented to the board directly through the reporting of the results of student performance on SOL Standards of Learning tests and other alternative means of assessing student academic achievement as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110. To facilitate accurate reporting of the graduation and completion index, the State Testing Identifier (STI) for students who transfer into a Virginia public school from another Virginia public school shall be retained by the receiving school. Compliance with other provisions of these regulations will be documented in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Board of Education.

C. Accreditation ratings defined. Accreditation ratings awarded in an academic year are based upon Virginia assessment program scores from the academic year immediately prior to the year to which the accreditation rating applies. Accreditation ratings are defined as follows:

1. Fully Accredited with Distinction. A school will be Fully Accredited with Distinction if it meets the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited and meets the following criteria:

a. A pass rate of 90% or above in each of the four core academic areas; and

b. In the case of elementary and middle schools, at least 50% of the lowest performing 25% of students meet student growth indicators approved by the Board; or

c. In the case of high schools with a graduating class, a graduation rate of 90% or higher, based on Virginia’s On-Time Graduation Rate.

1. 2. Fully accredited.

a. With tests administered in the academic years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 for the accreditation ratings awarded for academic years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 respectively, a school will be rated Fully Accredited when its eligible students meet the pass rate of 70% in each of the four core academic areas except, the pass rates required shall be 75% in third-grade through fifth-grade English and 50% in third-grade science and history/social science.

a. With tests administered beginning in the academic year 2012-2013 for the accreditation ratings awarded for school year 2013-2014 and beyond, a school will be rated Fully Accredited when its eligible students meet the pass rate of 75% in English and the pass rate of 70% in mathematics, science, and history and social science. With tests administered beginning in the academic year 2015-2016 for the accreditation ratings awarded in school year 2016-2017 and beyond, a school will be rated Fully Accredited when its eligible students meet the pass rate of 75% in English and mathematics and the pass rate of 70% in science, and history and social science Additionally, each school with a graduating class shall achieve a minimum of 85 percentage points on the Board of Education's graduation and completion index, as described in 8VAC20-131-280 B 2, to be rated Fully Accredited.

b. For schools housing grade configurations where multiple pass rates apply, the results of the tests may be combined in each of the four core academic areas for the purpose of calculating the school's accreditation rating provided the school chooses to meet the higher pass rate.

c. With tests administered beginning in the academic year 2012-2013 for the accreditation ratings awarded for school year 2013-2014 and beyond, a school will be rated Fully Accredited when its eligible students meet the pass rate of 75% in English and the pass rate of 70% in mathematics, science, and history and social science. Additionally, each school with a graduating class shall achieve a minimum of 85 percentage points on the Board of Education's graduation and completion index, as described in 8VAC20-131-280 B 2, to be rated Fully Accredited.

d. c. For accreditation purposes, the pass rate will be calculated as single rates for each of the four core academic areas by combining all scores of all tests administered in each subject area.

2. 3. Accredited with Warning (in specific academic areas and/or in achievement of the minimum threshold for the graduation and completion index). A school will be Accredited with Warning (in specific academic areas and/or in achievement of the minimum threshold for the graduation and completion index) if it has failed to achieve Fully Accredited status. Such a school may remain in the Accredited with Warning status for no more than three consecutive years.

3. 4. Accreditation Denied. Based on a school's academic performance and/or achievement of the minimum threshold for the graduation and completion index, a school shall be rated Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited or Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate, for the preceding three consecutive years or for three consecutive years anytime thereafter.

In any school division in which one-third or more of the schools have been rated Accreditation Denied, the superintendent shall be evaluated by the local school board with a copy of such evaluation submitted to the Board of Education no later than December 1 of each year in which such condition exists. In addition, the Board of Education may take action against the local school board as permitted by the Standards of Quality due to the failure of the local board to maintain accredited schools.

4. 5. Conditionally Accredited – New . New schools that are comprised of students from one or more existing schools in the division will be awarded a Conditionally Accredited-New status for one year pending an evaluation of the school's eligible students' performance on SOL Standards of Learning tests or additional tests approved by the Board of Education to be rated Fully Accredited.

6. A Conditionally Accredited-Reconstituted. A Conditionally Accredited-Reconstituted rating may be awarded to a school that is being reconstituted in accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-340 upon approval by the Board of Education. A school awarded this rating under those circumstances will revert to a status of Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited by the end of the agreed upon term or if it fails to have its annual application for such rating renewed.

5. 7. Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate. With tests administered in the academic years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 for the accreditation ratings awarded for academic years 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 respectively, a school will be rated Provisionally Accredited -Graduation Rate when its eligible students meet SOL Standards of Learning pass rates to be rated Fully Accredited but and fails to achieve a minimum of 85 percentage index points on the Board of Education's graduation and completion index, but achieve achieves the following minimum benchmarks for each year:

 

Graduation and Completion Index Benchmarks for Provisionally Accredited Ratings

 

Academic Year

Accreditation Year

Index Percentage Points

 

2010-2011

2011-2012

80

 

2011-2012

2012-2013

81

 

2012-2013

2013-2014

82

 

2013-2014

2014-2015

83

 

2014-2015

2015-2016

84

The last year in which this rating shall be awarded is the 2015-2016 accreditation year, based on tests administered in the 2014-2015 academic year.

D. The Board of Education shall provide for a process for a local school board to appeal an accreditation rating of any school in the division based on the achievement criteria prescribed in 8VAC20-131-280.B and student growth indicators approved by the Board. In order to appeal an accreditation rating, the local school board shall submit a request to the Board of Education signed by the chairman of the school board and the school division superintendent explaining why the school board is appealing the accreditation rating, and shall include documentation supporting the request to change the accreditation rating. In the appeal processs, the Board may consider student growth data from state assessments and additional assessments approved by the Board.

The Board of Education may from time to time approve assessments other than the state assessments to measure student growth for the purposes of accreditation.  In order for a test to be considered by the Board for approval as an additional assessment to enable schools to meet student growth indicators approved by the Board, the test must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

1. The test must be standardized and graded independently of the school or school division in which the test is given;

2. The test must be knowledge based;

3. The test must be

a. Administered on a multistate or international basis, or

b. Administered as part of another state’s accountability assessment program, or

c. Listed on the Virginia Department of Education Student Growth Assessment state contract as an approved student growth assessment for local use.

4. To be counted in a specific academic area, the test must measure content that incorporates or exceeds the Standards of Learning content in the area for which student growth is required; and

5. The test must measure and report individual growth relative to a year’s worth of progress.

E. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the provisions of §§ 22.1-27.1 through 22.1-27.6 of the Code of Virginia will become effective for schools Accredited with Warning and Accreditation Denied. These provisions provide for the establishment and administration of the Opportunity Educational Institution as required by the 2013 General Assembly.

8VAC20-131-310. Action requirements for schools that are Accredited with Warning or Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate.

A. With such funds as are appropriated by the General Assembly, the Department of Education shall develop a school academic review process and monitoring plan designed to assist schools rated as Accredited with Warning. All procedures and operations for the academic review process shall be approved and adopted by the board.

Schools rated Accredited with Warning or Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate must undergo an academic review in accordance with guidelines adopted by the board and prepare a school improvement plan as required by subsection F of this section.

B. Any school that is rated Accredited with Warning in English or mathematics shall adopt a research-based instructional intervention that has a proven track record of success at raising student achievement in those areas as appropriate.

C. The superintendent and principal shall certify in writing to the Board of Education that such an intervention has been adopted and implemented.

D. The board shall publish a list of recommended instructional interventions, which may be amended from time to time.

E. D. Adoption of instructional interventions referenced in subsections B and D C of this section shall be funded by eligible local, state, and federal funds.

F. E. A three-year School Improvement Plan must be developed and implemented, based on the results of an academic review of each school that is rated Accredited with Warning or Provisionally Accredited-Graduation Rate upon receipt of notification of the awarding of this rating and receipt of the results of the academic review. The plan:

1. Shall be developed with the assistance of parents and teachers and made available to the public;

2. Must include the components outlined in subsection G F of this section; and

3. Must be approved by the division superintendent and the local school board and be designed to assist the school in meeting the student achievement standard to be Fully Accredited as outlined in 8VAC20-131-300.

G. F. The improvement plan shall include the following:

1. A description of how the school will meet the requirements to be Fully Accredited, for each of the years covered by the plan;

2. Specific measures for achieving and documenting student academic improvement;

3. A description of the amount of time in the school day devoted to instruction in the core academic areas;

4. Instructional practices designed to remediate students who have not been successful on SOL Standards of Learning tests;

5. Intervention strategies designed to prevent further declines in student performance and graduation rates;

6. Staff development needed;

7. Strategies to involve and assist parents in raising their child's academic performance;

8. The need for flexibility or waivers to from state or local regulations to meet the objectives of the plan; and

9. A description of the manner in which local, state, and federal funds are used to support the implementation of the components of this plan.

As part of its approval of the school improvement plan, the board may grant a local school board a waiver from the requirements of any regulations promulgated by the board when such a waiver is available.

H. G. The school improvement plan and related annual reports submitted to the board shall provide documentation of the continuous efforts of the school to achieve the requirements to become rated Fully Accredited. The board shall adopt and approve all policies and formats for the submission of annual reports under this section. The reports shall be due no later than October 1 of the school year.

H. A local school board may choose to reconstitute any school that is Accredited with Warning for the preceding two consecutive years and apply to the Board of Education for a rating of Conditionally Accredited--Reconstituted. The application shall outline specific responses that address all areas of deficiency that resulted in the Accredited with Warning rating.  These strategies may include, but not be limited to, restructuring a school's governance, instructional program, staff or student population.

If a local school board chooses to reconstitute a school, it may annually apply for an accreditation rating of Conditionally Accredited—Reconstituted.  The Conditionally Accredited--Reconstituted rating may be granted for a period not to exceed three years if the school is making progress toward a rating of Fully Accredited in accordance with the terms of the Board of Education's approval of the reconstitution application. The school will revert to a status of Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited by the end of the three-year term.  If it fails to have its annual application for such rating renewed, the school will revert to Accreditation Denied status.

8VAC20-131-315. Action requirements for schools that are denied accreditation.

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the provisions of §§ 22.1-27.1 through 22.1-27.6 will become effective for schools rated Accreditation Denied. These provisions provide for the establishment and administration of the Opportunity Educational Institution as required by the 2013 General Assembly.

A. Any school rated Accreditation Denied in accordance with 8VAC20-131-300 shall be subject to actions prescribed by the Board of Education and shall provide parents of enrolled students and other interested parties with the following:

1. Written notice of the school's accreditation rating within 30 calendar days of the notification of the rating from the Department of Education;

2. A copy of the school division's proposed corrective action plan, including a timeline for implementation, to improve the school's accreditation rating; and

3. An opportunity to comment on the division's proposed corrective action plan. Such public comment shall be received and considered by the school division prior to finalizing the school's corrective action plan and a Board of Education memorandum of understanding with the local school board.

B. Any school rated Accreditation Denied in accordance with 8VAC20-131-300 shall be subject to actions prescribed by the Board of Education and affirmed through a memorandum of understanding between the Board of Education and the local school board. The local school board shall submit a corrective action plan to the Board of Education for its consideration in prescribing actions in the memorandum of understanding within 45 days of the notification of the rating. The memorandum of understanding shall be entered into no later than November 1 of the academic year in which the rating is awarded.

The local board shall submit status reports detailing implementation of actions prescribed by the memorandum of understanding to the Board of Education. The status reports shall be signed by the school principal, division superintendent, and the chair of the local school board. The school principal, division superintendent, and the chair of the local school board may be required to appear before the Board of Education to present status reports.

The memorandum of understanding may also include but not be limited to:

1. Undergoing an educational service delivery and management review. The Board of Education shall prescribe the content of such review and approve the reviewing authority retained by the school division.

2. Employing a turnaround specialist credentialed by the state to address those conditions at the school that may impede educational progress and effectiveness and academic success.

C. As an alternative to the memorandum of understanding outlined in subsection B of this section, a local school board may choose to reconstitute a school rated Accreditation Denied and apply to the Board of Education for a rating of Conditionally Accredited. The application shall outline specific responses that address all areas of deficiency that resulted in the Accreditation Denied rating and may include any of the provisions of subsection B of this section.

If a local school board chooses to reconstitute a school, it may annually apply for an accreditation rating of Conditionally Accredited as provided for in 8VAC20-131-300 C 5. The Conditionally Accredited rating may be granted for a period not to exceed three years if the school is making progress toward a rating of Fully Accredited in accordance with the terms of the Board of Education's approval of the reconstitution application. The school will revert to a status of Accreditation Denied if it fails to meet the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited by the end of the three-year term or if it fails to have its annual application for such rating renewed.

D. The local school board may choose to close a school rated Accreditation Denied or to combine such school with a higher performing school in the division.

E. A local school board that has any school with the status of Accreditation Denied shall annually report each school's progress toward meeting the requirements to be rated Fully Accredited to the Board of Education. The local board shall submit such report in a manner prescribed by the Board of Education no later than October 1 of each year. Such reports on each school's progress shall be included in the Board of Education's annual report on the condition and needs of public education to the Governor and the General Assembly submitted on November 15 of each year.

8VAC20-131-320. [Repealed]

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 1, eff. October 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006.

8VAC20-131-325. Recognitions and rewards for school and division accountability performance.

A. Schools and divisions may be recognized by the Board of Education in accordance with guidelines it shall establish for the Virginia Index of Performance (VIP) incentive program. In order to encourage school divisions to promote student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the board shall take into account in its guidelines a school division's increase in enrollments and elective course offerings in these STEM areas. Such recognition may include:

1. Public announcements recognizing individual schools and divisions;

2. Tangible rewards;

3. Waivers of certain board regulations;

4. Exemptions from certain reporting requirements; or

5. Other commendations deemed appropriate to recognize high achievement.

In addition to board recognition, local school boards shall adopt policies to recognize individual schools through public announcements, media releases, participation in community activities for input purposes when setting policy relating to schools and budget development, as well as other appropriate recognition.

B. A school that maintains a passing rate on Virginia assessment program tests or additional tests approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110 of 95% or above in each of the four core academic areas for two consecutive years may, upon application to the Department of Education, receive a waiver from annual accreditation. A school receiving such a waiver shall be Fully Accredited for a three-year period. However, such school shall continue to annually submit documentation in compliance with the preaccreditation eligibility requirements described in 8VAC20-131-280 F.

C. Schools may be eligible to receive the Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement. This award will be given to schools rated Fully Accredited that significantly increase the achievement of students within student subgroups in accordance with guidelines prescribed by the Board of Education.

8VAC20-131-330. [Repealed]

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 1, eff. October 29, 1997; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006.

8VAC20-131-340. Special provisions and sanctions.

A. Any school in violation of these regulations shall be subject to appropriate action by the Board of Education including, but not limited to, the withholding or denial of a school's accreditation.

B. A school's accreditation rating may be withheld by action of the Board of Education for any school found to be in violation of test security procedures pursuant to § 22.1-19.1 of the Code of Virginia. Withholding of a school's accreditation rating shall not be considered an interruption of the three-consecutive-year period for purposes of receiving an Accreditation Denied status pursuant to 8VAC20-131-300.

C. The Board of Education may exercise its authority to seek school division compliance with school laws pursuant to relevant provisions of the Code of Virginia when any school within a division is rated Accreditation Denied.

8VAC20-131-350. Waivers.

Waivers of from some of the requirements of these regulations may be granted by the Board of Education based on submission of a request from the division superintendent and chairman of the local school board. The request shall include documentation of the need for the waiver. In no event shall waivers be granted to the requirements of Part III (8VAC20-131-30 et seq.) of these regulations except that the Board of Education may provide for the waiver of certain graduation requirements in 8VAC20-131-50 (i) upon the board's initiative or (ii) at the request of a local school board on a case-by-case basis. The board shall develop guidelines for implementing these requirements.

Students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) or § 504 Plan documents that they cannot successfully complete training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as required for graduation in 8VAC20-131-50.B.2 and C.2. shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement.

8VAC20-131-360. Effective date.

A. The provisions in 8VAC20-131-30 B relating to double testing and the provisions in 8VAC20-131-60 C relating to Virtual Virginia shall become effective July 31, 2009.

B. Graduation requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50 B and D C, for the Standard and Advanced Studies Diplomas, shall become effective with the ninth-grade class of 2011-2012 2013-2014, except that the graduation requirement for training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation shall become effective with the ninth-grade class of 2016-2017.

The Modified Standard Diploma shall not be awarded to students in the ninth grade for the first time in 2013-2014 or thereafter. Students who were in the ninth grade for the first time prior to 2013-2014 and who have a disability may be awarded a Modified Standard Diploma if they meet the graduation requirements that were necessary to earn that diploma when they were in the ninth grade for the first time.

C. Graduation requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50 C and E shall become effective with the ninth grade class of 2012-2013.

D. C. Schools with a graduating class shall meet prescribed thresholds on a graduation and completion rate index as prescribed in 8VAC20-131-280 and 8VAC20-131-300 for accreditation ratings earned beginning in 2010-2011 and awarded beginning in 2011-2012.

E. D. Accreditation ratings prescribed in 8VAC20-131-300 C 1 a for schools that are Fully Accredited with Distinction shall become effective with tests administered beginning in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 2014-2015 for ratings awarded beginning in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 2015-2016.

F. E. Accreditation ratings prescribed in 8VAC20-121-300 C 1 c for schools that are Fully Accredited shall become effective with tests administered beginning in 2012-2013 for ratings awarded beginning in 2013-2014 and beyond.

G. F. The Academic and Career Plan prescribed in 8VAC20-131-140 shall become effective in 2013-2014.

H. G. Unless otherwise specified, the remainder of these regulations shall be effective beginning with the 2011-2012 2014-2015 academic year.

APPENDIX I. [REPEALED]

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006.