Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
2/28/2021

Part VIII. School Accreditation

8VAC20-131-370. Expectations for school accountability and accreditation.

A. The system of school accountability and accreditation provides a means of determining the quality and effectiveness of schools for the purposes of:

1. Building on strengths in schools and addressing specific areas needing improvement;

2. Driving continuous improvement in school achievement for all schools;

3. Identifying areas for technical assistance and the use of school improvement resources; and

4. Providing a comprehensive picture of school quality information to the public.

B. Components of the accountability system, which present expectations and standards for schools and school divisions, include:

1. The Code of Virginia's Standards of Quality, which provide the foundational education program to be offered by school divisions, including priorities for instructional programs supporting the Standards of Learning and encompassing requirements for assessments and school accreditation;

2. The School Quality Profile, as referenced in 8VAC20-131-270 A 2, which provides information to parents, citizens, the community, businesses and other agencies, and the general public about school characteristics and about a comprehensive range of school indicators;

3. The federal accountability provisions required under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-95, as amended) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 USC § 1400 et seq.); and

4. The state accreditation provisions for schools and school divisions as presented in this part.

C. Each school shall be accredited based on achievement of the conditions specified in 8VAC20-131-400 and on continuous improvement of performance levels on measures of selected school quality indicators as described in 8VAC 20-131-380.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

8VAC20-131-380. Measurement of school quality for accreditation.

A. School quality for the purposes of accreditation shall be measured for each school using multiple indicators as provided for in this part. School quality indicators include student academic outcomes and other factors that are associated with student learning.

Designation of school quality indicators for accreditation purposes by the board is based on the following criteria:

1. Research demonstrates that the indicator is related to academic performance;

2. Standardized procedures exist across schools and school divisions for collection of data used for the indicator;

3. The data about the indicator is reliable and valid;

4. Performance in the indicator can be positively impacted through division and school-level policies and procedures;

5. The measure meaningfully differentiates among schools based on progress of all students and student reporting groups;

6. The indicator does not unfairly impact one type or group of schools or students; and

7. The indicator is moderately to strongly correlated with school-level pass rates on state assessments.

B. Specific indicators designated by the board for accreditation purposes and defined in subsection F of this section include the following:

1. Academic achievement for all students in English (reading and writing), mathematics, and science as measured through board-approved assessments, including measures of student growth in English (reading and writing), mathematics, and English learner (EL) progress;

2. Academic achievement gaps in English (reading and writing) and mathematics for designated reporting groups, as determined through the performance of each reporting group against the state standard;

3. Graduation and school progress for schools with a graduating class as measured by the Graduation Completion Index;

4. Dropout rates in schools with a graduating class;

5. Student participation and engagement as measured by chronic absenteeism in schools; and

6. College, career, and civic readiness in schools with a graduating class.

C. When calculating passing rates and student growth on Virginia Assessment Program tests to measure academic achievement school quality indicators for the purpose of school accreditation, the following tolerances for EL and transfer students shall apply:

1. The scores of EL students enrolled in Virginia public schools fewer than 11 semesters may be removed from the calculation used to measure academic achievement school quality indicators applied to accreditation. Completion of a semester shall be based on school membership days. Membership days are defined as the days the student is officially enrolled in a Virginia public school, regardless of days absent or present. For a semester to count as a completed semester, a student must have been in membership for a majority of the membership days of the semester. These semesters need not be consecutive.

2. In accordance with the provisions of 8VAC20-131-30, all students who transfer into Virginia public schools are expected to take and pass all applicable SOL tests in the content areas in which they receive instruction.

3. All students who transfer within a school division shall have their scores counted in the calculation of the school's academic achievement school quality indicators. Students who transfer into a Virginia school from home instruction or from another Virginia school division, another state, or another country in grades kindergarten through 8 shall be expected to take all applicable SOL tests or additional tests approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110. If the transfer takes place after the 20th instructional day following the opening of school, the scores on these tests may be used in calculating academic achievement school quality indicators applied to school accreditation.

4. Students who transfer into a Virginia middle or high school from home instruction or from another Virginia school division, another state, or another country and enroll in a course for which there is an end-of-course SOL test shall be expected to take the test or additional tests for that course approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-30 and 8VAC20-131-110. If the transfer takes place after 20 instructional hours per course have elapsed following the opening of school or beginning of the semester, if applicable, the scores on those tests may be used in calculating academic achievement school quality indicators applied to school accreditation in the year the transfer occurs.

5. Students who enroll on the first day of school and subsequently transfer to a school outside of the division for a total amount of instructional time equal to or exceeding 50% of a current school year or semester, whether the transfer was a singular or multiple occurrence, and return during the same school year shall be expected to take any applicable SOL test. The scores of those tests may be used in measuring the school academic indicator in the year in which the transfers occur.

D. Performance benchmarks. Each school shall be held accountable for attainment on each of the school quality indicators adopted by the board for accreditation purposes, based on measurement against performance benchmarks. Benchmarks measure actual performance or improvement or decline in performance over time, or a combination of the two, for each school quality indicator used for accreditation.

In establishing performance benchmarks, the board shall use standard analytic protocols to assess the impact on schools. Consideration is to be given to whether a proposed benchmark reflects the board's values and expectations, or if the proposed benchmark results in consequences that were not anticipated.

The board may incorporate additional indicators of school quality used for accreditation into this chapter according to the criteria in subsection A of this section, provided that when the board incorporates additional indicators, the board shall also establish performance benchmarks to assign performance levels.

E. Performance levels. Performance levels on school quality indicators are determined through the definition and application of board-established benchmarks. Performance levels shall be designated for each indicator as one of the following: (i) Level One: At or Above Standard; (ii) Level Two; Near Standard; or (iii) Level Three: Below Standard.

The performance levels are described as follows:

1. Level One: At or Above Standard. A school's achievement on the specific indicator demonstrates acceptable performance or performance above the benchmark or adequate improvement on the indicator.

2. Level Two: Near Standard. A school's achievement on the specific indicator, although below Level One: At or Above Standard, is within specified ranges of performance that either represent: (i) achievement near Level One or (ii) improvement from Level Three: Below Standard, within a specified range.

A school quality indicator within the Level Two: Near Standard range that does not improve to the Level One: At or Above Standard at the end of four years, with progress evaluated by the end of the second year as specified in 8VAC20-131-400 C 5, shall be designated as Level Three: Below Standard, at the end of the four-year period.

3. Level Three: Below Standard. A school's achievement on the specific indicator is below the performance benchmarks for Level One and Level Two.

Performance levels illustrate a school's standing for each school quality indicator. Displaying accountability information in this manner provides a comprehensive picture of a school's areas of strength, as well as specific areas where improvement is needed. Areas needing improvement shall be addressed through a multi-year school improvement plan or corrective action plan as provided in 8VAC20-131-400 D, which shall include specific interventions and strategies.

F. School quality indicators for accreditation purposes. Effective with the 2018-2019 school year, the board shall measure performance levels on the school quality indicators and apply them to accreditation, except as provided in 8VAC20-131-390 B 1 for the 2018-2019 school year.

1. The school quality indicators and performance levels for each are described in this subdivision:

School Quality Indicator

Performance Levels

a. Academic achievement indicator for all students for English (reading and writing): the academic indicator shall be calculated based on the rate of (i) students who passed board-approved assessments, (ii) any additional students who showed growth using board-approved measures, and (iii) any additional students who are English learners who showed growth toward English proficiency using board-approved measures.

Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year average rate of at least 75%, or schools that were at Level Two the prior year and decrease the failure rate by 10% or more from the prior year.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year or three-year average rate of at least 66%, or schools with a prior year rate of at least 50% that decrease the failure rate by 10% or more from the prior year. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

b. Academic achievement indicator for all students for mathematics: the academic indicator shall be calculated based on the rate of (i) students who passed board-approved assessments and (ii) any additional students who showed growth using board-approved measures.

Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year average rate of at least 70%, or schools that were at Level Two the prior year and decrease the failure rate by 10% or more from the prior year.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year or three-year average rate of at least 66%, or schools with a prior year rate of at least 50% that decrease the failure rate by 10% or more from the prior year. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

c. Academic achievement indicator for all students for science: the academic indicator shall be calculated based on the rate of students who passed board-approved assessments.

Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year average rate of at least 70%, or schools that were at Level Two the prior year and decrease the failure rate by 10% or more from the prior year.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year or three-year average rate of at least 66%, or schools with a prior year rate of at least 50% and decrease the failure rate by 10% or more from the prior year. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

d. Academic achievement gaps for English (reading and writing): A single performance level is assigned for academic achievement gaps for English (reading and writing), based upon the composite of performance levels calculated individually for each reporting group using the same methodology and benchmarks as provided for in the academic achievement indicators for all students, as provided in subdivision F 1 a of this subsection.

Level One: Schools with no more than one reporting group demonstrating Level Two performance.

Level Two: Schools with two or more reporting groups demonstrating Level Two performance and no more than one reporting group demonstrating Level Three performance.

Level Three: Schools with two or more reporting groups demonstrating Level Three performance.

e. Academic achievement gaps for mathematics. A single performance level is assigned for academic achievement gaps for mathematics, based upon the composite of performance levels calculated individually for each reporting group using the same methodology and benchmarks as provided for in the academic achievement indicators for all students, as provided in subdivision F 1 b of this subsection.

Level One: Schools with no more than one reporting group demonstrating Level Two performance.

Level Two: Schools with two or more reporting groups demonstrating Level Two performance and no more than one reporting group demonstrating Level Three performance.

Level Three: Schools with two or more reporting groups demonstrating Level Three performance.

f. Graduation and completion index (GCI) for schools with a graduating class: The GCI is the percentage of students graduating from or completing high school based upon a graduation and completion index prescribed by the board. The board's GCI shall include weighted points for diploma graduates, recipients of high school equivalency credentials approved by the board, students not graduating but still in school, and students earning certificates of program completion.

Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year average index of at least 88, or schools that were at Level Two the prior year and increase the index by 2.5% or more from the prior year.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year or three-year average index of at least 81, or schools that were at Level Three the prior year and increase the index by 2.5% or more from the prior year. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

g. Dropout rate for schools with a graduating class.

Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year average rate of no more than 6.0%, or schools that were at Level Two the prior year and decrease the rate by 10% or more from the prior year.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year or three-year average rate of no more than 9.0%, or schools that were at Level Three the prior year and decrease the rate by 10% or more from the prior year. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

h. Chronic absenteeism: Chronically absent students are defined as those who are enrolled in a given school who miss 10% or more of the school year, regardless of reason. Students receiving homebound instruction, as defined in 8VAC20-131-5, shall be excluded from the chronic absenteeism rate.

Level One: Schools with a current year or three-year average rate of no more than 15%, or schools that were at Level Two the prior year and decrease the rate by 10% or more from the prior year.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year or three-year average rate of no more than 25%, or schools that were at Level Three the prior year and decrease the rate by 10% or more from the prior year. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

i. College, career, and civic readiness index for schools with a graduating class: The college, career, and civic readiness index measures the extent to which a school's students successfully complete advanced coursework, career and technical education (CTE) coursework and credentialing, and work-based and service-based learning.

Application of the college, career, and civic readiness index indicator to performance levels for accreditation purposes shall occur no later than the 2021–2022 school year.

Level One: Schools with a current year index of at least 85.

Level Two: Schools not meeting Level One performance with a current year index of at least 71. A school shall not receive a Level Two performance designation for more than four consecutive years.

Level Three: Schools not meeting Level One or Level Two performance.

2. To focus on continuous improvement for all schools, the benchmarks delineating the performance levels provided in subdivision 1 of this subsection may be adjusted as provided in subsection D of this section, through board-approved guidance. Adequate notice shall be provided to local school boards of any such adjustment.

3. The board may adopt special provisions related to the measurement and use of a school quality indicator as prescribed by the board. The board may also alter the inclusions and exclusions from the performance level calculations by providing adequate notice to local school boards.

4. The board may add new assessments or discontinue the use of existing assessments in the Virginia Assessment Program by providing adequate notice to local school boards. As specified in the Standards of Quality, the board may adopt special provisions related to the administration and use of any SOL tests as applied to school quality indicators for any period during which the Standards of Learning content or assessments in that area are being revised and phased in. Notice shall be provided to local school boards regarding the special provisions prior to statewide administration of such tests.

5. The board may adopt valid and reliable measures of student growth to be used in calculating the Academic Achievement Indicators for English and mathematics and in determining the progress of English learners toward English proficiency.

6. The board shall provide a process for a local school board to appeal the performance level designation for a specific school quality indicator for any school in the division. The board shall grant such appeals only in limited circumstances that warrant special consideration in designating performance levels. In order to appeal such designation the local school board shall submit a request to the board, signed by the chairman of the school board and the school superintendent, explaining why the school board is appealing the designation and shall include documentation supporting the request to change the performance level designation.

7. The board may designate and approve additional school quality indicators, according to its criteria as specified in subsection A of this section, provided that when the board incorporates additional indicators, the board shall also establish performance benchmarks to assign performance levels.

G. To establish performance levels for any of the school quality indicators that are based on Virginia Assessment Program outcome data in schools with grade configurations that do not house a grade or offer courses for which SOL tests or additional tests approved by the board as outlined in 8VAC20-131-110 are administered, such schools shall be paired with another school in the division housing one or more of the grades in which SOL tests are administered. The pairing of such schools shall be made upon the recommendation of the division superintendent. The schools should have a "feeder" relationship and the grades should be contiguous.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

8VAC20-131-390. Accreditation.

A. The board shall accredit schools based on achievement of the school accountability requirements of this chapter.

The principal of each new or existing school and the division superintendent shall annually document and report to the Department of Education, in a manner prescribed by the board, the following:

1. The division's promotion and retention policies have been developed in accordance with the requirements of 8VAC20-131-30;

2. Compliance with the requirements to offer courses that shall allow students to complete the graduation requirements in 8VAC20-131-50 and 8VAC2021-131-51, as applicable;

3. The school and school division's ability to offer the instructional program prescribed in 8VAC20-131-70 through 8VAC20-131-100;

4. The school and school division's offering of history and social science and English, to include writing, as prescribed in 8VAC20-131-70 C;

5. Compliance with the leadership and staffing requirements of 8VAC20-131-210 through 8VAC20-131-240;

6. Compliance with the facilities and safety provisions of 8VAC20-131-260;

7. Compliance with the parental notification provisions of 8VAC20-131-270 B;

8. The Standards of Learning have been fully incorporated into the school division's curriculum in all accreditation-eligible schools, and the Standards of Learning material is being taught to all students eligible to take the SOL tests;

9. A comprehensive school plan has been prepared and implemented as required by the Standards of Quality, in conjunction with the long-range comprehensive plan of the division. Such plan shall be available to students, parents, staff, and the public. Each school plan shall be evaluated as part of the development of the next plan. Schools may use other plans to satisfy this requirement with prior written approval from the Department of Education;

10. Actions prescribed by 8VAC20-131-400 have been completed; and

11. Each school continues to meet the standards in this chapter that the school reported that it met in the previous year, and actions taken to correct any noncompliance issues that the school reported in the previous year.

B. Accreditation ratings. Effective no later than the academic year 2018-2019, schools that meet the conditions described in subsection A of this section shall be assigned one of the following accreditation designations as described in this section.

1. Accredited: When a school has each of its school quality indicators at Level One or Level Two, it shall be "Accredited." For the transition year of 2018-2019, when a school meets the accreditation standards for designation as accredited under either the 2017-2018 accreditation calculation rules or the 2018-2019 rules for multiple school quality indicators, it shall be designated "Accredited."

2. Accredited with Conditions: When a school has any school quality indicator at Level Three, it shall be "Accredited with Conditions."

3. Accreditation Denied: If a school is designated "Accredited with Conditions," and the school or school division fails to adopt and implement school division or school corrective action plans with fidelity as specified by 8VAC20-131-400 D, it may be designated by the board as "Accreditation Denied" as provided in 8VAC20-131-400 D 4.

C. Any school in violation of this chapter shall be subject to appropriate action by the board including withholding the school's accreditation rating.

D. A school's accreditation rating may be withheld by action of the board for any school found to be in violation of test security procedures pursuant to § 22.1-19.1 of the Code of Virginia.

E. Review cycles.

1. The board shall review annually the status of the performance levels for school quality indicators applied to accreditation for all schools in the Commonwealth.

2. If a school has been designated "Accredited" for three consecutive years, the board shall review the accreditation status of the school every three years. However, the board shall review the status of each school quality indicator used for accreditation each individual year within that triennial period. If the board finds that the school would have been accredited every year of the triennial review period, the board shall accredit the school for another three years. A multi-year accreditation status shall not relieve any school or division of annual reporting requirements, nor shall it relieve any school or division of annual review of school quality indicators used for school accreditation and subsequent actions as appropriate and provided for in 8VAC20-131-400, depending on performance level.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

8VAC20-131-400. Application of the school quality indicator performance levels to actions.

A. In accordance with the Standards of Quality at § 22.1-253.13:6 C of the Code of Virginia, all schools shall develop a comprehensive, unified, long-range plan. To develop such plans, schools shall conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, in collaboration with their school division staff, to identify needed actions to ensure continuous improvement for their students. Results of the comprehensive needs assessment shall be used to develop a multi-year improvement plan, which shall be a component of the school's comprehensive, unified, long-range plan. The multi-year improvement plan shall be reviewed and updated as needed on an annual basis. Confirmation of completion of the actions required by this section shall be provided to meet requirements of 8VAC20-131-390 A 10.

In determining required actions for schools and school divisions, levels of performance shall be considered separately for each school quality indicator. Responses and actions to be taken by school divisions and schools, under the leadership of division superintendents and school principals, according to the performance level of each school quality indicator are as prescribed in subsections B, C, and D of this section.

B. Level One. If a school quality indicator is at Level One, the school and its school division shall continue to monitor the indicator and the multi-year school improvement plan for continuous improvement.

C. Level Two. If a school quality indicator is at Level Two, the school and its school division shall have primary responsibility to revise and implement its multi-year school improvement plan.

In developing such plan, the school and its school division shall determine the issues and conditions that are likely contributing to the school's performance on the indicator and plan and implement essential actions and research-based strategies designed to improve performance on the indicator to achieve the Level One standard.

School division and school staff shall:

1. Identify factors related to the school's performance on the indicator as part of the school's comprehensive needs assessment;

2. Use the results of the comprehensive needs assessment to develop and revise the multi-year school improvement plan to address the factors identified in the needs assessment that are related to the performance on the indicator. The school's multi-year improvement plan shall be approved by the local school board. The department may implement an audit process to ensure compliance with this provision;

3. Implement the essential actions and research-based strategies with fidelity;

4. Regularly evaluate evidence of the school's progress in implementing the plan, monitor changes on the school quality indicator, and make adjustments as warranted; and

5. Evaluate the progress of the school quality indicators at Level Two at the end of each year and assess the results of the school improvement plan actions at the end of two years. If no progress is made within the two-year period on such school quality indicators, the plan shall be revised.

If any of the academic achievement indicators for all students, as provided in 8VAC20-131-380 F 1 a, 1 b, or 1 c is at Level Two, the school must undergo an academic review conducted by the department, or under its guidance, to further identify required actions to improve student achievement. Review of other indicators by the department, or under its guidance, may occur based on the school's multi-year school improvement plan. School improvement plans developed for academic achievement indicators for all students that are at Level Two shall be reviewed through a department-established process, which may include peer review by staff from other school divisions.

School divisions with indicators at Level Two may request technical assistance from the department.

D. Level Three.

1. Corrective action plans. If any school quality indicator is at Level Three, the school and school division shall work cooperatively and in consultation with the department to develop a corrective action plan, which shall be incorporated as a component of the school's comprehensive, unified, long-range plan.

In developing such plan, the school and school division, in consultation with the department, shall determine the issues and conditions that are likely contributing to the school's performance on the indicator and plan and implement essential actions and research-based strategies to achieve improvement to the Level One standard.

All schools with indicators at Level Three must undergo an academic or other review, as appropriate, conducted by the department, or under its guidance, to further identify required actions to improve student achievement and the school quality indicators that are at Level Three.

a. Considerations for the level of direction and intervention from the department include:

(1) Specific characteristics of the school and school division;

(2) The number of school quality indicators at Level Three for the school;

(3) A school's trajectory on the indicators at Level Three;

(4) The length of time the school indicator has been at Level Three; and

(5) The number of schools in the division with multiple school quality indicators at Level Three.

b. In consultation with department staff, school division and school staff shall:

(1) Identify factors related to the school's performance on the indicators at Level Three as part of the school's comprehensive needs assessment;

(2) Use the results of the comprehensive needs assessment to develop a multi-year corrective action plan that addresses the factors identified in the needs assessment that are related to the performance on the indicator through essential actions and research-based strategies;

(3) Submit the completed corrective action plan to the department through the division superintendent for department approval;

(4) Amend the plan if the department disapproves any portion thereof, as needed to secure the department's approval;

(5) Implement the approved corrective action plan with fidelity; and

(6) Meet regularly with department staff to monitor evidence of the school's progress in implementing the plan, to track improvement on the indicator, and to identify next steps.

2. Superintendent agreement. The level of direction and intervention from the department may include requiring the local school division superintendent and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to enter into an agreement that shall delineate the responsibilities for the school division staff, school staff, and department staff and shall also include required essential actions to improve student achievement and to improve performance on school quality indicators.

3. Memorandum of understanding. School divisions that do not demonstrate evidence of progress in adopting or implementing corrective action plans for a school or schools with indicators at Level Three shall be required to enter into a memorandum of understanding between the local school board and the board. The memorandum of understanding shall delineate responsibilities for the local school board, the board, school division staff, school staff, and department staff and shall also include required essential actions to improve student achievement and to improve performance on school quality indicators.

Department staff shall meet regularly with school division staff to monitor the memorandum of understanding and corrective action plan, to track progress on the indicators, and to identify next steps.

School divisions that do not demonstrate evidence of progress under the memorandum of understanding and the associated corrective action plan shall be subject to additional actions, which may include more frequent meetings with department staff, required technical assistance, or appearance before the board.

4. Denial of accreditation. If a school is designated "Accredited with Conditions," and the school or school division fails to adopt and implement corrective action plans with fidelity as specified by this section, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall review the school for potential designation by the board as "Accreditation Denied" and shall present the results of such review to the board with recommendations. If the board determines that any such school is at Level Three on any school quality indicator due to its failure to adopt and implement corrective action plans with fidelity as required by this section, the board shall designate such school as "Accreditation Denied." The local school board shall be given an opportunity to correct such failure, and if successful in a timely manner, the school's "Accreditation Denied" designation may be rescinded at the board's discretion.

5. At-risk add-on funds. As provided in the appropriation act, if the board has required a local school board to submit a corrective action plan pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:3 A of the Code of Virginia, either for the school division pursuant to a division level review or for any schools within its division that have been designated as not meeting the standards as approved by the board, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall determine and report to the board whether each such local school board has met its obligation to develop and submit such corrective action plan and is making adequate and timely progress in implementing the plan. Additionally, if an academic review process undertaken pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:3 A of the Code of Virginia has identified actions for a local school board to implement, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall determine and report to the board whether the local school board has implemented required actions. If the Superintendent of Public Instruction certifies that a local school board has failed or refused to meet any of those obligations, the board shall withhold payment of some or all at-risk add-on funds otherwise allocated to the affected division pursuant to this allocation for the pending fiscal year. In determining the amount of at-risk add-on funds to be withheld, the board shall take into consideration the extent to which such funds have already been expended or contractually obligated. The local school board shall be given an opportunity to correct its failure and, if successful in a timely manner, may have some or all of its at-risk add-on funds restored at the board's discretion.

6. Additional remedies. The board may exercise its authority to seek school division compliance with school laws pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Code of Virginia when any school within a division receives an accreditation designation other than "Accredited."

In accordance with the Standards of Quality at § 22.1-253.13:3 A of the Code of Virginia, if the board determines that a school division has failed or refused, and continues to fail or refuse, to comply with any of the Standards of Quality, including the requirement for local school boards to maintain schools designated as "Accredited" as provided in § 22.1-253.13:3 A of the Code of Virginia, the board may petition the circuit court having jurisdiction in the school division to mandate or otherwise enforce compliance with such standard, including the development or implementation of any required corrective action plan that a local school board has failed or refused to develop or implement in a timely manner.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

8VAC20-131-410. Recognitions and rewards for school and division accountability.

Schools and divisions shall be recognized by the board in accordance with guidelines the board shall establish for the Exemplar School Recognition Program to recognize (i) schools or school divisions that exceed board-established requirements or show continuous improvement on academic and school quality indicators and (ii) schools, school divisions, and school boards that implement effective, innovative practices. Such recognition may include:

1. Public announcements recognizing individual schools and divisions;

2. Tangible rewards;

3. Waivers of certain board regulations;

4. Exemptions from certain reporting requirements; or

5. Other commendations deemed appropriate to recognize high achievement.

In addition to board recognition, local school boards shall adopt policies to recognize individual schools through public announcements, media releases, and participation in community activities when setting policy relating to schools and budget development, as well as other appropriate recognition.

Statutory Authority

§ 22.1-253.13 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 03, eff. October 30, 2019.

8VAC20-131-420. Waivers and alternative accreditation plans.

A. Except as specified in this section, the board may grant, for a period of up to five years, a waiver of requirements of this chapter that are not mandated by state or federal law or designed to promote health or safety. The board may grant all or a portion of the request for a waiver and designate conditions as appropriate. Waivers of requirements in 8VAC20-131-30, 8VAC20-131-50, 8VAC20-131-51, 8VAC20-131-70, and 8VAC20-131-370 through 8VAC20-131-430 shall not be granted, and no waiver may be approved for a program that violates the Standards of Quality.

B. Waivers of some of the requirements of this chapter may be granted by the board based on submission of a request from the division superintendent and chairman of the local school board. The request shall include documentation of the justification and need for the waiver. In no event shall waivers be granted to the requirements of Part III (8VAC20-131-30 et seq.) of this chapter except that the board may provide for the waiver of certain graduation requirements in 8VAC20-131-50 and 8VAC20-131-51 upon (i) the board's initiative or (ii) the request of a local school board on a case-by-case basis. The board shall develop guidelines for implementing this chapter.

Any student with a disability whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan documents that the student cannot successfully complete training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or the use of automated external defibrillators, including hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as required for graduation in 8VAC20-31-50 B 2 and C 2 and 8VAC20-131-51 B 2 and C 2 shall be granted a waiver from this graduation requirement.

C. Waivers for innovative or school experimental programs. With the approval of the local school board, schools seeking to implement experimental or innovative programs, or both, that are not consistent with this chapter shall submit a waiver request to the board for evaluation and approval prior to implementation. The request must include the following:

1. Purpose and objectives of the experimental or innovative programs;

2. Description and duration of the programs;

3. Anticipated outcomes;

4. Number of students affected;

5. Evaluation procedures; and

6. Mechanisms for measuring goals, objectives, and student academic achievement.

D. Alternative accreditation plans. Subject to the provisions of subsection B of this section, the governing school board of special purpose schools such as those provided for in § 22.1-26 of the Code of Virginia, Governor's schools, special education schools, alternative schools, or career and technical schools that serve as the student's school of principal enrollment may seek approval of an alternative accreditation plan from the board. Schools offering alternative education programs, schools with a graduation cohort of 50 or fewer students as defined by the graduation rate formula adopted by the board may request that the board approve an alternative accreditation plan to meet the graduation and completion index benchmark. Special purpose schools with alternative accreditation plans shall be evaluated on standards appropriate to the programs offered in the school and approved by the board prior to August 1 of the school year for which approval is requested. Any student graduating from a special purpose school with a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma must meet the requirements prescribed in 8VAC20-131-50 or 8VAC20-131-51.

As set forth in the Standards of Quality and according to department procedures, any school board may request the board for release from state regulations or, on behalf of one or more of its schools, for approval of an Individual School Accreditation Plan for the evaluation of the performance of one or more of its schools as authorized for schools enumerated in this subsection, based on special circumstances.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018.

8VAC20-131-430. Effective dates.

A. Graduation requirements.

1. The graduation requirements for students entering the ninth grade for the first time in the 2013–2014 school year and prior to the 2018–2019 school year shall be those provided in 8VAC20-131-50.

2. The graduation requirements for students entering the ninth grade for the first time in the 2018-2019 school year and beyond shall be those provided in 8VAC20-131-51.

3. The graduation requirements applicable to students transferring into a Virginia high school for the first time shall be as determined by 8VAC20-131-60 G.

B. Locally awarded verified credits.

1. Locally awarded verified credits conferred for English, mathematics, laboratory science, and history and social science for students entering the ninth grade for the first time prior to the 2018–2019 school year shall be as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 3 a.

2. Locally awarded verified credits conferred for English, mathematics, laboratory science, and history and social science for students entering the ninth grade for the first time in 2018–2019 or thereafter shall be as provided in 8VAC20-131-110 B 3 b.

C. Academic and career planning.

1. The requirements for academic and career planning prescribed in 8VAC20-131-140 B shall be effective beginning with the 2013–2014 academic year and through the 2017–2018 academic year.

2. The requirements for Academic and Career Plans prescribed in 8VAC20-131-140 C shall be effective beginning with the 2018–2019 academic year.

D. The application of the college, career, and civic readiness index as a school quality indicator used for accreditation shall be made no later than the 2021–2022 school year.

E. Unless otherwise specified, the remainder of this chapter shall become effective beginning with the 2018–2019 academic year.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-253.13.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 08, eff. January 11, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 19, eff. June 25, 2020.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.