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2017 SESSION


CHAPTER 760
An Act to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 13 of Title 22.1 an article numbered 1.5, consisting of sections numbered 22.1-212.28 through 22.1-212.32, relating to School Divisions of Innovation.
[H 1981]
Approved March 24, 2017

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Chapter 13 of Title 22.1 an article numbered 1.5, consisting of sections numbered 22.1-212.28 through 22.1-212.32, as follows:

Article 1.5.
School Divisions of Innovation.

22.1-212.28. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"School Division of Innovation" or "SDI" means a school division in which the local school board has developed and for which the Board has approved pursuant to regulations as set forth in this article a plan of innovation to improve student learning; educational performance; and college, career, and citizenship readiness skills in each school in the local school division.

"Innovation" means a new or creative alternative to existing instructional or administrative practices or school structures that evidence-based practice suggests will be effective in improving student learning and educational performance.

22.1-212.29. Purpose.

The Board shall promulgate regulations for the designation of School Divisions of Innovation in which the local school board in the local school division so designated shall, pursuant to a plan of innovation, be exempted from selected regulatory provisions and be permitted to adopt alternative policies for school administrators, teachers, and staff to meet the diverse needs of students.

22.1-212.30. Board regulations; procedure.

Any local school board may apply to the Board for the local school division or any school therein to be designated as an SDI. Such application shall consist of a plan of innovation for the local school division. The Board shall include in regulations promulgated pursuant to 22.1-212.29:

1. The procedure and timeline for application, review, amendment, approval, renewal, and revocation of SDI designation;

2. The procedure for the ongoing evaluation of an SDI; and

3. Any other process or procedure that the Board deems appropriate.

22.1-212.31. Board regulations; application; expectations.

The Board shall establish in regulations promulgated pursuant to 22.1-212.29 expectations for the plan of innovation of an SDI applicant, including:

1. Establishing goals and performance targets that may include:

a. Reducing achievement and opportunity gaps among groups of public school students by expanding the range of engaging and relevant learning experiences for students who are identified as academically low-achieving;

b. Increasing student learning through the implementation of high, rigorous standards for student performance and balanced assessments that measure both student growth and achievement;

c. Creating opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery of learning at different points in the learning process based on readiness;

d. Increasing student participation in opportunities that enhance students' preparation for college, career, and citizenship;

e. Increasing the number of students who are college, career, and citizenship ready;

f. Increasing opportunities for students to learn from content experts through integrated course opportunities; and

g. Motivating students at all levels by offering additional curricular choices, personalized learning opportunities, and relevant student learning experiences such as community service projects, internship opportunities, and job shadowing.

2. Identifying divisionwide and school-level policies that will lead students to be better prepared for success in work and life.

3. Describing the ways in which all schools will incorporate innovative practices.

4. Incorporating relevant professional development.

5. Providing evidence of collaboration, support, and shared leadership among teachers in the school division.

6. Providing evidence of the support and engagement of educators, parents, the local community, and the local business community in the development of the plan of innovation and of the capacity of such individuals and entities to support the implementation of innovation.

7. Providing the rationale for requests for waivers from regulatory and statutory provisions.

8. Identifying specific measures of student success that may include alternate assessments or approved substitute tests that will be used to determine if students have met graduation requirements, as applicable.

22.1-212.32. SDI designation; duration; renewal.

A. The initial designation of an SDI shall be for a five-year period.

B. The initial designation of an SDI may be renewed for subsequent periods not to exceed five years each.