Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
2/28/2021

Part V. School and Instructional Leadership

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

A. The principal is recognized as the instructional leader and manager of the school and is responsible for:

1. Fostering the success of all students by facilitating the development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of a shared vision of teaching and learning that leads to student academic progress and school improvement;

2. Fostering the success of all students by developing, advocating, and sustaining an academically rigorous, positive, and safe school climate for all stakeholders;

3. Fostering effective human resources management by appropriately assigning, selecting, inducting, supporting, evaluating, and retaining quality instructional and support personnel;

4. Fostering the success of all students by communicating and collaborating effectively with stakeholders;

5. Fostering the success of all students by demonstrating professional standards and ethics, engaging in continuous professional development, and contributing to the profession; and

6. Providing leadership that results in acceptable, measurable student academic progress based on established standards.

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 instructional leadership, school climate, human resources management, organizational management, communication and community relations, and student academic progress, in a manner that allows the principal to be held accountable in a fair and consistent manner for matters under the principal's direct control.

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

1. Lead the collaborative development and sustainment of a student-centered shared vision for educational improvement and work collaboratively with staff, students, parents, and other stakeholders to develop a mission and programs for effective teaching and learning, consistent with the division's strategic plan and school's goals;

2. Collaboratively plan, implement, support, monitor, and evaluate instructional programs that enhance teaching and student academic progress, and lead to school improvement;

3. Analyze current academic achievement data and instructional strategies and monitor and evaluate the use of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment, by grade and by discipline, to:

a. Make appropriate educational decisions to improve classroom instruction, increase student achievement, and improve overall school effectiveness; provide timely and accurate feedback to students and parents and to inform instructional practices; and direct and require appropriate prevention, intervention, or remediation to those students performing below grade level or not meeting expectations, including passing the SOL tests;

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

c. Evaluate and improve classroom practices and instruction; and

d. Seek to ensure students' successful attainment of knowledge and skills set forth in the Standards of Learning;

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. Protect the academic instructional time from unnecessary interruptions and disruptions and provide collaborative leadership for the design and implementation of effective and efficient schedules that protect and maximize instructional time;

6. Involve students, staff, parents, and the community to create and sustain a positive, safe, and healthy learning environment that enforces state, division, and local rules, policies, and procedures and consistently model and collaboratively promote high expectations, mutual respect, care, and concern for students, staff, parents, and the community;

7. Create a culture of shared accountability and continuous school improvement;

8. Involve students, families, staff, and other stakeholders to promote community engagement;

9. 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;

10. 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

11. 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. Support, manage, and oversee the school's organization, operation, and use of resources;

2. Demonstrate and communicate a knowledge and understanding of Virginia public education rules, regulations, laws, and school division policies and procedures;

3. 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;

4. Ensure the use of data systems and technology to support goals;

5. Disseminate information to staff, parents, and other stakeholders in a timely manner through multiple channels and sources;

6. Work with the community to involve parents and citizens in the educational program;

7. 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;

8. Manage the supervision and research-based evaluation of staff in accordance with local and state requirements;

9. Maintain a current record of staff's licenses and endorsements to ensure compliance and professional development completed by staff;

10. Follow local and state laws and policies with regard to finances, school accountability, and reporting;

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

12. Ensure the security of all tests administered to students, including those required by the board and the local school division. This includes:

a. The requirement that all schools adhere to a policy that prohibits students' access to cell phones and other electronic devices with texting or camera capabilities during the administration of the SOL tests;

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

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

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

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-253.13:3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 14, Issue 01, eff. October 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006; Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 31, 2009; Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

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 use of standard English;

2. Strive to strengthen the basic skills of students in all subjects and to close any achievement gaps among 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.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-253.13:3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 14, Issue 01, eff. October 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

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.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16, 22.1-19 and 22.1-253.13:3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 14, Issue 01, eff. October 29, 1997.

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 shall employ school counseling staff as prescribed by the Standards of Quality. School 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 this chapter is being followed.

D. Each member of the school counseling staff in the counseling program for elementary, middle, and secondary schools shall spend at least 80% of his staff time during normal school hours in direct counseling of individual students or groups of students.

E. A middle school classroom teacher's standard load shall be based on teaching no more than the instructional day minus one planning period per day or the equivalent with no more than 150 students or 25 class periods per week. If a middle school classroom teacher teaches more than 150 students or 25 class periods per week, an appropriate contractual arrangement and compensation shall be provided.

F. The secondary classroom teacher's standard load shall be based on teaching no more than the instructional day minus one planning period per day or the equivalent with no more than 150 students or 25 class periods per week. If a secondary school classroom teacher teaches more than 150 students or 25 class periods per week, an appropriate contractual arrangement and compensation shall be provided.

G. Middle or secondary school teachers shall teach no more than 150 students per week; however, physical education and music teachers may teach 200 students per week. If a middle or secondary school physical education or music teacher teaches more than 200 students per week, an appropriate contractual arrangement and compensation shall be provided.

H. Each elementary classroom teacher shall be provided at least an average of 30 minutes per day during the students' school week as planning time. Each full-time middle and secondary classroom teacher shall be provided one planning period per day or the equivalent, as defined in 8VAC20-131-5, unencumbered of any teaching or supervisory duties.

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

J. Student 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 students in the school.

Statutory Authority

§ 22.1-253.13 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 14, Issue 01, eff. October 29, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 28, 2000; Volume 22, Issue 24, eff. September 7, 2006; Volume 27, Issue 24, eff. August 31, 2011; Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018; Volume 36, Issue 03, eff. October 30, 2019.

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.

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