Twenty Virginia school divisions are needed to take part in a collaborative opportunity to accelerate their local innovation work. The Virginia Department of Education, James Madison University, and the Virginia School Consortium for Learning (VaSCL) invite Lead Innovation Teams to apply to participate in development of a statewide learning innovation network. The teams will operationalize actions essential to local implementation of deeper learning, expanded equity, and increased learner engagement strategies foundational to the Profile of a Virginia Graduate outcomes.
Superintendents from Region 4 gathered on January 16, 2019, in Warrenton, Va., to hear the latest updates on General Assembly actions and legislative bills that could impact school divisions from VASS Associate Executive Director Andy Stamp and VASS Legislative Chair Dave Sovine. They also heard from VDOE representative Shelley Loving-Ryder who shared information on the Education Equity Series webinar scheduled for February as well as the Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network Summit scheduled for March.
Nearly 250 superintendents and school business officials gathered in Richmond on January 7-8, 2019, for an information-packed conference that explored state and local budgets and legislative advocacy.
Much of the discussion focused on the hot topics of early childhood education, school safety, the teacher shortage and salaries, school construction, and the state budget. An optimistic picture was painted by Delegate Steven R. Landes and Delegate George Barker as they agreed that the General Assembly is poised to work together across party lines to make progress in this short legislative session. They noted that a primary focus of the state will be grappling with the impact of the new federal income tax changes.
Superintendents from Region 7 discussed a wide range of topics with State Superintendent Dr. James Lane during their meeting on December 14, 2018. Dr. Lane emphasized his continued focus on “moving away from toxic testing environment toward deeper, innovative and engaging learning.” He also shared that the Virginia Board of Education will begin to work on updating the Standards of Quality now that their work on the Standards of Accreditation is completed. He predicted that the Board will be reviewing the SoQs through a lens of equity and encouraged superintendents to weigh in with their thoughts during the process. Region 7 superintendents received a legislative update from VASS’ Tom Smith and an update on the work of the Small Rural School Coalition.
Superintendents statewide were relieved and elated after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges reversed its policy banning the mixing of regular high school students and college-registered high school students in college classes, which would have essentially eliminated dual enrollment courses. The policy reversal came at the Commission’s December meeting after an intensive effort on the part of VASS members to educate their community college presidents and inform the Commission about how the policy would eliminate a large number of classes whose resulting low enrollments would make them financially unsustainable forcing school divisions to eliminate the classes altogether and terminate educational opportunities available to a large number of Virginia’s students. They argued that the decision to eliminate mixing of students would be detrimental especially for underrepresented populations who benefit from gaining college credit while in high school. “We applaud the decision of the Commission to ensure that high school students can continue to get a head start on earning college credits,” said VASS Executive Director Ben Kiser.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce held its Economic Summit on Friday, December 7 in Williamsburg. VASS served as a participating host in support of the Virginia Chamber and its efforts to connect businesses to K-12 education. Workforce development is significant in Virginia’s economy and many of the speakers encouraged collaboration between K-12 education, higher education, and the business community. Kudos to those superintendents who were able to attend. As part of the business panel, representatives from major companies in Virginia cited the business and education partnership as the key for Virginia’s future economy.
A week before Virginia's Cumberland Schools opened their doors to begin a new school year, Superintendent Amy Griffin sent her staff on a professional field trip.
Principals and teachers got up early and boarded buses that took them across the county, and as far away as Richmond, one hour west. Staff spread across nearly twenty "work sites" representing the career pathways Cumberland wants students exposed to and prepared for. Cumberland is full of families that struggle to get by; these pathways promise students a way out of poverty and the chance for a prosperous future.
One day, Rodney Berry was on top of the world, a talented athlete on a path to college, a wonderful opportunity for a kid born to a teen mom who spent his early years in Gilpin Court. The next? He was lying in bed, his knee blown, his college hopes seemingly gone, his dreams for a promising future dashed.
Dr. Jared A. Cotton, Superintendent of Henry County Schools, was named Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) Annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday in Roanoke. He was selected by the Acting State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a member of the Virginia State Board of Education, and the Presidents of the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Parent and Teacher Association, the Virginia School Boards Association, the Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals.
Now through January 31st, VASS 2018 Annual Spring Conference Keynote Speaker Ravi Hutheesing is offering a 50% discount on 2019 keynotes exclusively for the mid-Atlantic region. That equals $6000 with all expenses included. This offer includes conference keynotes and school convocations anytime in 2019, but the keynote must be booked by January 31st. The current BOGO promotion offering a free student presentation with any education leadership keynote will also still apply. Learn more at https://RaviUnites.com
VASS worked with Strategic Value Media to create the guide, a web portal to a large network of vendors that supply goods and services to educators. The guide, which highlights companies that are VASS Business Members, is designed to help school division leaders make efficient and fully informed purchasing decisions.
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