In response to HB 1199, passed by the 2010 General Assembly, the Board of Education is seeking public comment on its Regulations Establishing Standards of Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (Standards of Accreditation) as the regulations relate to homebound instructional services. HB 1199 says that in establishing course and credit requirements for a high school diploma, the Board shall:
“… Provide for the waiver of certain graduation requirements (i) upon the Board’s initiative or (ii) at the request of a local school board. Such waivers shall be granted only for good cause and shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.”
Currently, 8 VAC 20-131- 350 of the Standards of Accreditation provides that: “Waivers of 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 (8 VAC 20-131-30 et seq.) of these regulations”
The Board of Education proposes to add the following to 8 VAC 20-131-350: “except that the Board of Education may provide for the waiver of certain graduation requirements in 8 VAC 20-131-50 (i) upon the Board’s initiative or (ii) at the request of a local school board on a case-by-case basis in accordance with guidelines established by the Board.”
The Board of Education also proposes to add the following to its Guidance Document Governing Certain Provisions of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia related to the waiver provision:
“The Board of Education may waive certain graduation requirements in 8 VAC 20-131-50 by resolution. The resolution shall specify the requirement(s) being waived and, if the waiver is time-limited, when the waiver would expire.
Local school boards may seek a waiver of certain graduation requirements in 8 VAC 20-131-50 on a case-by-case basis by submitting a request to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, on behalf of the Board, which explains what requirement(s) are requested to be waived and the justification for each requirement(s) requested for waiver.
· The justification shall include a statement of the efforts made by the local school board to assist the student to meet the requirement(s) prior to requesting the waiver.
· Such waiver requests may not be submitted more than 90 days prior to the date the student is expected to graduate.
· The Superintendent may approve the waiver on behalf of the Board and report to the Board waivers that have been granted or denied.
· For the purposes of this provision, good cause may include, but not be limited to, a catastrophic, sudden, or debilitating illness or injury suffered by the student late in his high school career or a sudden, unexpected requirement or event that causes the family to relocate to another state where the student is unable to complete graduation requirements either in Virginia or the receiving state.
· In no event shall a waiver be granted that would substantially reduce or diminish the integrity of the diplomas approved by the Board of Education.
· Requirements that have been approved for a waiver shall be noted on the student’s official academic record (transcript).”
Please submit your comments by e-mail, US mail, or FAX by December 28, 2010. Send comments to:
Ms. Anne Wescott
Assistant Superintendent for Policy and Communications
Virginia Department of Education
P. O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA 23218-2120
Fax: 804/ 225-2524