Va. committee formed to reform SOL tests

School board members from Alexandria, Manassas and Prince William County, a new assistant superintendent in Loudoun County and a parent in Prince William are among the members of a new statewide committee tasked with charting the course of Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests.

The 30-member “SOL Innovation Committee” was created by the General Assembly this year when it voted to reform the state’s test-based accountability system.

The new law reduces the number of required state tests from 22 to 17 and requires school districts to develop alternative, project-based assessments. The committee is expected to recommend other changes to the General Assembly and State Board of Education.

The bill had overwhelming support from lawmakers and statewide education groups, reflecting widespread sentiment that students are being over-tested and that current tests do not reflect knowledge and skills students need to be successful.

“While we have already reduced the amount of SOL tests, the real work begins with enacting reforms to our educational system that will prepare our students for jobs of the 21st Century,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe in a statement.

“This is the first step in ensuring that our education system works for Virginia’s students, teachers and families,” he said.

Members of the committee were selected by Virginia’ Education Secretary Anne Holton and announced this week.

Four members of the House of Delegates, including Dels. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun) and Rob Krupicka (D-Alexandria), were also selected to participate by the speaker of the House. The first meeting is July 15.

Here’s the complete list of committee members posted on the Governor’s Web site:

●Shawnrell Blackwell of Chester, director of school improvement, Petersburg City public schools

●Kelly Booz of Alexandria, member, City of Alexandria School Board

●Jeffrey Bourne of Richmond, member, Richmond City School Board

●Terri Breeden of Loudoun, assistant superintendent for instruction, Loudoun County public schools

●Dabney Carr of Richmond, partner at Troutman Sanders law firm

●Jared Cotton of Henry County, superintendent, Henry County public schools

●Karen Cross of Washington County, teacher, Bristol public schools

●Veronica Donahue of Essex, teacher, Essex County public schools

●Jenny Sue Flannagan of Virginia Beach, president-elect, Virginia Association of Science Teachers

●Deborah Frazier of Spotsylvania, principal, Spotsylvania County public schools

●Sarah Gross of Richmond, parent, Richmond City public schools

●Meg Gruber of Prince William, teacher, Prince William County public Schools

●Roger Hathaway of Norfolk, head of education, NASA Langley Research Center

●Lillie Jessie of Woodbridge, member, Prince William County School Board

●Tarannum Lateef of Manassas, parent, Prince William County public schools

●Susan Magliaro of Blacksburg, director of VT-STEM, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

●Brian Matney of Virginia Beach, principal, Virginia Beach City public schools

●Laurie McCullough of Charlottesville, director, Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

●Stewart Roberson of Mechanicsville, chairman, Moseley Architects

●Alan Seibert of Salem, superintendent, Salem public schools

●Karen Thomsen of Bridgewater, principal, Rockingham County public schools

●Christine Walther-Thomas of Midlothian, professor and dean, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education

●Jeion Ward of Hampton, retired teacher, Hampton City public schools

●William White of Williamsburg, vice president, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

●Wade Whitehead of Roanoke, teacher, Roanoke City public schools

●Benjamin Williams of Roanoke, director of testing, Roanoke County public schools

●Sanford Williams of Manassas, member, Manassas City School Board

●Renee Zando of Henrico, guidance counselor, Henrico County public schools

Additionally, the committee will have representation from the General Assembly.

Four members of the House of Delegates will be appointed by the speaker of the House and two members of the Senate appointed by the president of the Senate.

Members of the Virginia House of Delegates are as follows:

●Thomas A. Greason

●Roxann Robinson

●Jim LeMunyon

●Rob Krupicka

Members of the Senate of Virginia are as follows:

●Creigh Deeds

●John Miller

Steven Staples, Virginia superintendent of public instruction; Christian Braunlich, president of the Board of Education; and the secretary of education will serve as ex-officio members.

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.
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