HJ622: Public schools; Board of Education to establish and regularly convene an Educational Roundtable.

Offered January 10, 2007
Prefiled January 8, 2007
Requesting the Board of Education to establish and regularly convene a Commonwealth Educational Roundtable to facilitate the implementation and continuation of efforts to improve and sustain quality educational leadership in the Commonwealth's public schools. Report.
Patron-- Hamilton

Committee Referral Pending

WHEREAS, the General Assembly and the Board of Education have articulated in the Standards of Quality ( § 22.1-253.13:5 B) that "leadership is essential for the advancement of public education in the Commonwealth"; and

WHEREAS, consistent with this finding, the 1999 Regular Session of the General Assembly enacted the Education Accountability and Quality Enhancement Act, which among other things directed the Board of Education to amend leadership standards for superintendents and principals that would "include training in the implementation of the Standards of Learning and training in the evaluation and documentation of teacher and administrator performance based on student academic progress and the skills and knowledge of instructional personnel"; and

WHEREAS, echoing this priority are the December 2003 report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, stating that strong leadership provided by the school principal is critical to the academic success of students, and the Standards of Accreditation (8 VAC 20-131-210), which acknowledge the principal as the "instructional leader of the school"; and

WHEREAS, more than five years ago the Commonwealth joined 14 other states in a multimillion dollar mission to improve leadership in public schools, the State Action for Educational Leadership Project (SAELP), a grants initiative created by the Wallace Foundation to assist states in the development and implementation of policies and laws designed to enhance the capacity of school principals and superintendents to improve student performance; and

WHEREAS, to support this initiative, the 2002 Regular Session of the General Assembly created a 21-member Joint Commission to Review, Study and Reform Educational Leadership (HJR 20/SJR 58) to "evaluate the policy environment for educational leadership" as well as propose appropriate statutory and regulatory changes based on its review and research; and

WHEREAS, complementing the work of the legislative Commission was a Task Force to Evaluate and Redesign Preparation Programs and Professional Development for School Leaders, led by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Executive Director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; and

WHEREAS, supported by many of the Task Force recommendations, the legislative Commission ultimately adopted more than 20 recommendations that addressed, among other things, (i) guidelines for mentorships and internships for school administrators; (ii) revision of licensure requirements for principals to require passage of the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA); and (iii) review of potential alternative licensure routes and a two-tiered licensure system; and

WHEREAS, some of these recommendations have already resulted in statutory changes addressing school leaders, while others are included in currently proposed changes to Board of Education regulations addressing licensure and preparation programs for princpals; and

WHEREAS, also supporting the development of effective school leaders in the Commonwealth are competitive grants for school divisions, first provided by the 2004 Regular Session of the General Assembly as five $100,000 awards in each year of the biennium to school divisions entering into partnerships with Virginia institutions of higher education or other entities "for a defined leadership development training program that addresses the leadership standards established for such training as defined by the Board of Education"; and

WHEREAS, the leadership training grants were continued in the 2006-2008 biennial budget, again demonstrating the Commonwealth's commitment to effective educational leadership in Virginia's public schools; and

WHEREAS, there is a need for sustained focus on these educational leadership initiatives in the Commonwealth and continued and ongoing dialogue regarding strengthening and supporting educational leadership in our public schools generally; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Board of Education be requested to establish and regularly convene a Commonwealth Educational Roundtable to facilitate the implementation and continuation of efforts to improve and sustain quality educational leadership in the Commonwealth's public schools. Membership should include but need not be limited to legislators, state agency leaders in public and higher education, representatives of educational leadership organizations, and other such individuals and organizations as the Board and the Superintendent may deem appropriate.

In conducting its work, the roundtable shall, among other things, (i) monitor the implementation of current proposed revisions to licensure of principals and preparation program regulations; (ii) continue to review and evaluate the policy environment for educational leadership; (iii) communicate regularly with the Board of Education about any relevant findings, with recommendations for any regulatory action; and (iv) provide a forum for educational leaders to report the challenges and effects of their work.

The Board of Education shall submit to the Division of Legislative Automated Systems an executive summary and a report of its progress in meeting the requests of this resolution no later than the first day of the 2008 Regular Session of the General Assembly. The executive summary and report shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.