Sept. 17-23, 1999
"Slow Dance" almost halts U.Va. e-mail
Continuing Ed. preparing Va. teachers for SOL curricula
Property Accounting helps U.Va. stay eligible for grants

Ethicist urges hospitals to learn from their errors

Correction- wrong URL
U.Va. garners EPA's top national award
Take Our Advice/
e-mail spam
"Notable" - faculty & staff
Architect Peter Waldman wins Rome Prize
Hot Links - Oracle of Bacon

Writer Wendell Berry to visit Sept. 22-25

Talk on Rehnquist Court to initiate lectures honoring Abraham


Continuing Ed. preparing Virginia teachers for SOL curricula

By Ida Lee Wootten

The state's Standards of Learning have not only changed the way public schools teach, they have also prompted changes in how U.Va. delivers its continuing education offerings to school personnel.

U.Va. Continuing Education officials have engaged in two major efforts to help school divisions meet the state-mandated standards in mathematics, science, English, history and social sciences, classroom technology applications, assessment and instruction. They have increased efforts to provide courses and workshops on-site in school districts, and they have placed greater emphasis on statewide conferences. As a consequence, they have worked with teachers and administrators in nearly all of Virginia's 132 school divisions.

In 1998-99 more than 7,400 public school educators enrolled in Continuing Education courses to get help in implementing the standards-based curricula. Another 2,000 since 1996 have taken part in SOL-focused conferences, many planned collaboratively with the Virginia Department of Education.

"We believe U.Va. was the first higher education institution in the state to offer courses to assist school divisions in meeting the SOLs," said associate dean Dennis "Skip" Parks. To gain an understanding of what help school districts would need, Continuing Education representatives began meeting with Virginia Department of Education officials in 1995, three years before the first SOL test results were made public.

Recognizing that there would be a tremendous need for districts to change their curricula to meet the accountability-driven standards, Continuing Education established in 1997 a Center for State and National Programs for Educators, led by Nancy R. Iverson. A former public school administrator who had watched the SOLs development closely, Iverson realized early on what impact the standards would have.

"We offered our first workshop in 1995, and no one signed up. No one seemed to appreciate just how challenging the SOL implementation would be until the first round of test results were made public in 1998," Iverson said. (Slightly over 2 percent of Virginia public schools had passing SOL test results in 1998; last year 6.5 percent made the grade.)

Iverson and other Continuing Education representatives have been meeting statewide with school officials to learn exactly what their needs are and to design programs that meet those needs. "The Standards of Learning Project is grounded in the principle that U.Va. Continuing Education must redouble its efforts to partner with school divisions to assist them in their efforts to align their curricula with the SOLs, to implement research-based instructional practices, and to make structural changes needed to meet requirements of the Standards of Accreditation," Iverson said.

Schools that do not have at least 70 percent of students pass the SOL tests by 2007 will be denied accreditation. To assist in gaining feedback from schools about their needs, Iverson established two program-development teams. The Standards of Learning focus group, composed of educators throughout the state who also hold doctorates from the Curry School of Education, help develop course materials. The education programmers group, comprised of statewide program planners, regularly reviews courses and workshops that have been offered and gives suggestions for modifications or new programs.

New offerings and modifications to existing programs are also reviewed by a diverse group of U.Va. faculty in Charlottesville. For example, mathematics professor Loren Pitt, physics professor Steve Thornton and faculty associated with the Center for Math, Science and Engineering Education have helped in the development of math and science offerings. Numerous Curry School faculty have assisted in course development and evaluation, and they and leading educators in Virginia public schools have taught the courses.

The most popular course sequence in the SOL Project has been the certificate program in classroom technology applications. This summer the certificate program attracted more than 11,000 registrants -- and generated about $1.4 million in revenue for Continuing Education.

To earn a certificate, participants must complete six hours of credit course work. "The beauty of the program is that as school personnel acquire technology skills, courses can be customized to meet their increased sophistication," Parks said. Demand for the technology courses has been unusually heavy at the Northern Virginia Center, located in Falls Church, and at the Richmond Center.

Helping meet other school needs

To help meet a critical shortage of special education teachers, Continuing Education has worked closely with the Curry School to deliver its master's degree program in special education. Programs are being offered in the Roanoke and Northern Virginia centers. U.Va. and Bridgewater College are also jointly offering special education courses this fall.

Continuing Education has also increased its reading courses by more than 38 percent -- offering 56 courses this fall -- to help meet heavy demand for teachers with advanced credentials in reading. Master's degree programs in reading are currently available in Lynchburg, Richmond and Northern Virginia; another program will begin soon in Shenandoah County and others are being developed.

Continuing Education and the Curry School are also working closely on a series of four new courses in gifted education delivered at off-Grounds locations. The courses are designed for classroom teachers seeking an endorsement in gifted education.

For more information on programs, see http://uvace.virginia .edu.


School accreditation and improvement during the implementation years of the accrediting standards for public schools
1998-1999 1st year N/A All schools provisionally accredited
1999-2002 2nd-4th year If under 70% but showing improvement over previous year Provisionally accredited
2002-03 5th year

If under 70% but showing improvement over previous year

Showing no improvement or dropping over previous year

Provisionally accredited


Accredited with warning

2003-04 6th year Must meet 70% student pass-rate benchmark All schools under 70% accredited with warning
2004-05 7th year Must meet 70% student pass-rate benchmark If under 70% accredited with warning
2005-06 8th year Must meet 70% student pass-rate benchmark If under 70% accredited with warning
2006-07 9th year Must meet 70% student pass-rate benchmark If under 70% accreditation denied






© Copyright 1999 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

UVa Home Page UVa Events Calendar Top News UVa Home Page