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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board of Education
Chapter 81. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia
10/20/2020

8VAC20-81-40. Special Education Staffing Requirements.

A. School age programs. The following specifies the staffing patterns for special education services for school age (five to 21, inclusive) children, in addition to the Standards of Quality (§ 22.1.253.13:2 of the Code of Virginia) and Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8VAC20-131-240).

1. Staffing shall be in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-81-340 in the following settings.

a. Students with disabilities shall be instructed with students without disabilities in general education settings and classrooms, as appropriate, and in accordance with the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The service level, Level I or II, is based on the amount of time the student receives special education.

b. When children with disabilities are removed from the general education setting and classroom to provide instruction, special education and related services, they may receive services with children with the same disability or with children with different disabilities.

2. Personnel assignment.

a. Each student shall receive special education services from special education personnel assigned in accordance with the Virginia Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (8VAC20-22).

b. Special education teachers who are the teachers of record shall be highly qualified.

c. General education qualified personnel who are knowledgeable about the students and their special education, may implement special education services in collaboration with special education personnel.

d. Special education services include those services provided directly to the student and those provided indirectly.

3. Caseload standards.

a. The maximum instructional caseloads for special education teachers and speech-language pathologists, for which public schools receive state funds in accordance with the Virginia Appropriation Act are listed in 8VAC20-81-340. Special education services for children with visual impairment are established, maintained, and operated jointly by the local school board and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

b. If children with disabilities in a single building receive academic content area instruction from multiple special education teachers, the teachers' caseloads shall be determined by using a building average.

(1) A building average is computed by dividing the total weights (found in 8VAC20-81-340) for all children served in this fashion by the number of special education teachers providing services. Any itinerant teacher shall be counted according to the amount of time the teacher spends in the school. Subdivision 3 d of this subsection applies for any teacher assigned to administrative duties or to providing services to children who do not have disabilities.

(2) The building average shall not exceed 20 points if services are provided to students receiving Level I services and to children receiving Level II services. The building average shall not exceed 24 points if services are provided only to children receiving Level I services.

(3) No more than 14 children shall be assigned to a single class period if there are similar achievement levels and one subject area and level are taught. No more than 10 students shall be assigned to a single class period when there are varying achievement levels.

c. Special education personnel may also be assigned to serve children who are not eligible for special education and related services under this chapter, as long as special education personnel hold appropriate licenses and endorsements for such assignments.

d. When special education personnel are assigned to provide services for children who do not have a disability under this chapter or are assigned to administrative duties, a reduction in the caseload specified in the Virginia Appropriation Act shall be made in proportion to the percentage of school time on such assignment.

(1) This provision does not apply when special education and related services are provided in a general education class, based on the goals of the IEP of at least one child in that classroom, and children without disabilities incidentally benefit from such services.

(2) When special education personnel provide services in a general education classroom based on the IEP goals of at least one child in that classroom, the special education caseloads do not include children with disabilities who incidentally benefit from such services.

B. Staffing for early childhood special education.

1. Children of preschool ages (two to five, inclusive) who are eligible for special education receive early childhood special education. The amount of services is determined by the child's individualized education program (IEP) team. A schedule comparable in length to school age students shall be made available if determined appropriate by the IEP team.

2. Staffing requirements.

a. Children receiving early childhood special education services may receive services together with other preschool-aged children with the same or with different disabilities.

b. Each student shall receive special education services from special education personnel assigned in accordance with the Virginia Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (8VAC20-22).

c. The maximum special education caseloads, with and without paraprofessionals, are set and funded in the Virginia Appropriation Act. See 8VAC20-81-340 for the funded caseloads. Special education services for children with visual impairment are established, maintained, and operated jointly by the local school board and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

C. Staffing for education programs in regional and local jails. Special education personnel with any special education endorsement, except early childhood special education, may provide instructional services to eligible students with disabilities incarcerated in a regional or local jail.

D. Alternative special education staffing plan. School divisions and private special education schools may offer for consideration of approval, an alternative staffing plan in accordance with Virginia Department of Education procedures. The Virginia Department of Education may grant approval for alternative staffing levels upon request from local school divisions and private special education schools seeking to implement innovative programs that are not consistent with these staffing levels.

E. Educational interpreting services.

1. The qualification requirements for personnel providing interpreting services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing are as follows:

a. Personnel providing educational interpreting services for children using sign language shall:

(1) Have a valid Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS) Level III; or

(2) Have a passing score on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) Written Test along with a minimum of a Level 3.5 on the EIPA Performance Test or any other state qualification or national certification (excluding Certificate of Deaf Interpretation) recognized by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as equivalent to or exceeding the VQAS Level III.

b. Personnel providing educational interpreting services for children using cued speech/language shall have a Virginia Quality Assurance Screening Level III for cued speech or hold a national Transliteration Skills Certificate from the Testing, Evaluation and Certification Unit (TEC Unit) or equivalent recognized by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

c. Personnel providing educational interpreting services for children requiring oral interpreting shall meet minimum requirements for competency on the Virginia Quality Assurance Screening written assessment of the Code of Ethics.

2. Personnel who provide interpreting services for children who use sign language or cued speech/language and who do not hold the required qualifications may be employed in accordance with the following criteria:

a. Personnel shall have a valid Virginia Quality Assurance Screening Level I, or its equivalent, as determined by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; or

b. Personnel shall have a passing score on the EIPA Written Test and a minimum score of 2.5 on the EIPA Performance Test upon hiring date in any local educational agency in Virginia.

3. The following qualification requirements for personnel providing interpreting services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing will become effective in 2010:

a. Personnel providing educational interpreting services for children using sign language shall hold:

(1) A valid Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS) Level III; or

(2) A passing score on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) Written Test along with a minimum of a Level 3.5 on the EIPA Performance Test or any other state qualification or national certification (excluding Certificate of Deaf Interpretation) recognized by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as equivalent to or exceeding the VQAS Level III.

(3) Under no circumstances shall local educational agencies or private special education schools hire interpreters who hold qualifications below a VQAS Level II, EIPA Level 3.0 or the equivalent from another state.

(4) Interpreters hired with a VQAS Level II, EIPA Level 3.0 or the equivalent shall have two years from the date of hire to reach the required qualifications.

b. Personnel providing educational interpreting services for children using cued speech/language shall have a valid Virginia Quality Assurance Screening Level III for cued speech/language or hold a national Transliteration Skills Certificate from the Testing, Evaluation and Certification Unit (TEC Unit) or equivalent recognized by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

(1) Under no circumstances shall local educational agencies or private special education schools hire educational interpreters to provide cued speech services who hold qualifications below a VQAS Level I or the equivalent from another state.

(2) Educational Interpreters to provide cued speech hired with a VQAS Level I or the equivalent have three years from the date of hire to reach the required qualifications.

c. Personnel providing educational interpreting services for children requiring oral interpreting shall hold a national Oral Transliteration Certificate (OTC) or equivalent recognized by the Virginia Department of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

4. For a child who is not deaf or hard of hearing but for whom sign language services are specified in the IEP to address expressive or receptive language needs, the sign language services shall be provided by an individual meeting the requirements determined appropriate by the local educational agency.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia; 20 USC § 1400 et seq.; 34 CFR Part 300.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 7, 2009.

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