New Standards of Quality prescribed for public schools

New Standards of Quality prescribed for public schools
The Virginia Board of Education has prescribed new Standards of Quality for state public schools. (Source: unsplash.com)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Board of Education has prescribed new Standards of Quality for state public schools.

The Standards of Quality describe the foundation instructional programs and support services all schools must provide and drive approximately 85% of state funding for school divisions.

The new standards align with the Board’s goals of promoting educational equity, supporting educator recruitment and retention and helping students and schools achieve the Board’s graduation and accreditation requirements.

Revisions include consolidating several existing state programs into a single, expanded funding stream, known as the equity fund, within the SOQ.

Additionally, new standards include the following to support improved services for all students:

Moving the state’s K-3 class size reduction program from the annual Appropriation Act into the SOQ

  • Increasing state funding for reading specialists and moving support for reading specialists from the annual Appropriation Act into the SOQ
  • Establishing a new teacher leader program and expanding the commonwealth’s exisiting teacher mentor program to provide additional compensation and time within the instructional day for teachers designated as leaders and mentors
  • Amending staffing requirements for English learner teachers to base distribution of positions on the English proficiency level of students in each school division
  • Setting specific staffing ratios in the SOQ for school nurses, social workers and school psychologists
  • Providing state funding for state-level and regional work-based learning coordinators to establish partnerships between school divisions and local businesses and employers
  • Creating a statewide principal mentorship program to strengthen school leadership and support teacher retention and student achievement
  • Providing state support for one full-time school counselor for every 250 students
  • Requiring a full-time principal in every elementary school
  • Requiring a full-time assistant principal for every 400 students

The board is also urging the General Assembly to eliminate the cap on state funding for support positions.

The newly prescribed Standards of Quality will be presented to Gov. Ralph Northam and the 2020 General Assembly.

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