Vol. 35 Iss. 26 - August 19, 2019

Chapter 760
Final Regulation

Title of Regulation: 8VAC20-760. Regulations Governing the Designation of School Divisions of Innovation (adding 8VAC20-760-10 through 8VAC20-760-50).

Statutory Authority: § 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: September 19, 2019.

Agency Contact: Emily V. Webb, Director for Board Relations, Department of Education, James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th Street, 25th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 225-2924, FAX (804) 225-2524, or email


The regulation establishes the School Division of Innovation (SDI) designation process and timeline, expectations for a plan of innovation, procedures for ongoing evaluation of an SDI, and regulations that may be waived in conjunction with an SDI application.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: No public comments were received by the promulgating agency.


8VAC20-760-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Board of Education" or "board" means the board responsible for the general supervision of the public school system in Virginia as prescribed in Section 4 of Article VIII of the Constitution of Virginia and § 22.1-8 of the Code of Virginia.

"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.

"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 a plan of innovation to improve student learning; educational performance; and college, career, and citizenship readiness skills in one or more schools, for the benefit of all schools in the school division.

8VAC20-760-20. School Division of Innovation designation.

A. Any local school board may apply to the board for the local school division to be designated as an SDI.

B. Pursuant to a plan of innovation, an SDI shall be exempted from selected regulatory provisions and permitted to adopt alternative policies for school administrators, teachers, and staff to meet the diverse needs of students.

C. An application for an SDI designation shall consist of a plan of innovation for the local school division, following a format prescribed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The plan of innovation shall include:

1. 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; or

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. Divisionwide and school-level policies that will lead students to be better prepared for success in work and life;

3. A description of the ways in which designated schools will incorporate innovative practices;

4. A description of how schools in the division will benefit from innovative practices and share experiences and practices for application in other schools;

5. The incorporation of relevant professional development;

6. Evidence of collaboration, support, and shared leadership among teachers in the school division;

7. 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;

8. Any requests for exemptions from regulatory provisions as provided in 8VAC20-760-30, including the rationale for such exemptions and alternative policies; and

9. 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.

D. Applications for SDI designation shall conform to a format and timeline prescribed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The timeline shall include deadlines for (i) a preapplication conference to be held with staff if any exemptions are requested and (ii) submission for consideration by the board.

8VAC20-760-30. Exemption from regulatory provisions.

A. In conjunction with the designation of an SDI, the board may exempt a local school board from board regulations as requested in a school division's plan of innovation. However, the board shall not grant exemptions from the following provisions:

1. Regulations mandated by state or federal law;

2. Regulations designed to promote health or safety;

3. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (8VAC20-81);

4. Student achievement expectations (8VAC20-131-30);

5. Requirements for graduation (8VAC20-131-50 and 8VAC20-131-51);

6. Program of instruction and learning objectives (8VAC20-131-70); or

7. Part VIII of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, School Accreditation (8VAC20-131-370 through 8VAC20-131-430).

B. The board may grant all or a portion of any request for such an exemption and designate conditions as appropriate.

8VAC20-760-40. Approval, amendment, and renewal.

A. The designation of an SDI shall be for a five-year period beginning with the school year following the board's approval.

B. SDI designations may be renewed for subsequent periods not to exceed five years each.

C. School boards seeking to amend a plan of innovation shall be required to seek board approval following the same procedure as provided in 8VAC20-760-20.

8VAC20-760-50. Evaluation.

A. Each SDI shall annually submit to the Department of Education, prior to a date designated by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, information demonstrating progress toward meeting the goals and performance targets included in the approved plan of innovation.

B. Such information shall be considered by the board when possible SDI designation renewals are being reviewed.

C. The board may revoke an SDI designation prior to the end of the five-year approval period in circumstances where it deems appropriate, including:

1. Continued failure to meet goals and performance targets established in the plan of innovation.

2. Continued failure to maintain accredited status for any school subject to the SDI designation.

VA.R. Doc. No. R18-5324; Filed July 26, 2019, 9:52 a.m.