Section I: Instruction

IA: INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The Smyth County School Board develops and implements a program of instruction for grades kindergarten through 12 that is aligned to the Standards of Learning established by the Virginia Board of Education and that meets or exceeds the requirements of the Virginia Board of Education. The program of instruction emphasizes reading, writing, speaking, mathematical concepts and computations, proficiency in the use of computers and related technology, computer science and computational thinking, including computer coding, and scientific concepts and processes; essential skills and concepts of citizenship, including knowledge of Virginia history, world and United States history, economics, government, foreign languages, international cultures, health and physical education, environmental issues and geography necessary for responsible participation in American society and in the international community; fine arts, which may include, but need not be limited to, music and art, and practical arts; knowledge and skills needed to qualify for further education, gainful employment, or training in a career or technical field; and development of the ability to apply such skills and knowledge in preparation for eventual employment and lifelong learning and to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

The School Board also implements:

  1. programs in grades kindergarten through three that emphasize developmentally appropriate learning to enhance success;
  2. programs based on prevention, intervention, or remediation designed to increase the number of students who earn a high school diploma and to prevent students from dropping out of school; such programs shall include components that are research-based;
  3. career and technical education programs incorporated into the kindergarten through grade 12 curricula;
  4. educational objectives in middle and high school that emphasize economic education and financial literacy pursuant to Va. Code § 22.1-200.03;
  5. early identification of students with disabilities and enrollment of such students in appropriate instructional programs consistent with state and federal law;
  6. early identification of gifted students and enrollment of such students in appropriately differentiated instructional programs;
  7. educational alternatives for students whose needs are not met in programs prescribed elsewhere in the Standards of Learning;
  8. adult education programs for individuals functioning below the high school completion level;
  9. a plan to make achievements for students who are educationally at risk a division-wide priority that shall include procedures for measuring the progress of such students;
  10. an agreement for postsecondary degree attainment with a community college in Virginia specifying the options for students to complete an associate‘s degree or a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies from a community college concurrent with a high school diploma; such agreement shall specify the credit available for dual enrollment courses and Advanced Placement courses with qualifying exam scores of three or higher;
  11. a plan to notify students and their parents of the availability of dual enrollment and Advanced Placement classes, career and technical education programs, including internships, externships, apprenticeships, credentialing programs, certification programs, licensure programs, and other work-based learning experiences; the International Baccalaureate Program, and Academic Year Governor‘s School Programs, the qualifications for enrolling in such classes, programs, and experiences; and the availability of financial assistance to low-income and needy students to take the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations; this plan shall include notification to students and parents of the agreement with a community college in Virginia to enable students to complete an associate‘s degree or a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies concurrent with a high school diploma;
  12. identification of students with limited English proficiency and enrollment of such students in appropriate instructional programs, which programs may include dual language programs whereby such students receive instruction in English and in a second language
  13. early identification, diagnosis, and assistance for students with reading and mathematics problems and provision of instructional strategies and reading and mathematics practices that benefit the development of reading and mathematics skills for all students;
  14. incorporation of art, music, and physical education as a part of the instructional program at the elementary school level;
  15. a program of physical activity available to all students in grades kindergarten through five consisting of at least 20 minutes per day or an average of 100 minutes per week during the regular school year and available to all students in grades six through 12 with a goal of at least 150 minutes per week on average during the regular school year; such program may include any combination of (i) physical education classes, (ii) extracurricular athletics, or (iii) recess, or (iv) other programs and physical activities deemed appropriate by the School Board;
  16. a program of student services for grades kindergarten through grade 12 that shall be designed to aid students in their educational, social, and career development;
  17. the collection and analysis of data and the use of the results to evaluate and make decisions about the instructional program;
  18. a program of instruction in each government course in the school division on all information and concepts in the civics portion of the U.S. Naturalization test
  19. Adopted: January 25, 2010
    Revised: August 12, 2013
    Revised: July 11, 2016
    Revised: December 11, 2017
    Revised: September 10, 2018

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    IAA: NOTIFICATION OF LEARNING OBJECTIVES

    I. Annual Notice

    At the beginning of each school year, each school within Smyth County Public Schools provides to its students‘ parents or guardians information on the availability of and source of receiving:

    1. The learning objectives developed in accordance with the Standards of Accreditation to be achieved at their child‘s grade level, or, in high school, a copy of the syllabus for each of their child‘s courses;
    2. A copy of the Standards of Learning (SOLs) applicable to the child‘s grade or course requirements and the approximate date and potential impact of the child‘s SOL testing;
    3. An annual notice to students in all grade levels of all requirements for Virginia Board of Education approved diplomas; and
    4. The board‘s policies on promotion, retention, and remediation.

    The Superintendent certifies to the Virginia Department of Education that the notice required by this policy has been given.

    No later than the end of the first semester of each school year, the Superintendent must certify to the Department of Education that it has given the notice required by this policy.

    II. Notice of Credits Needed for Graduation and of the Right to a Free Public Education

    1. The school board notifies the parent of rising 11th and 12th grade students of:
      1. requirements for graduation pursuant to the standards for accreditation; and
      2. the requirements that have yet to be completed by the individual student.
    2. The school board will notify the parent of students with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and who fail to meet the graduation requirements of the student‘s right to a free and appropriate education to age 21, inclusive, pursuant to Va. Code § 22.1-213 et seq.
    3. The school board will notify the parent of students who fail to graduate or who fail to achieve graduation requirements as provided in the Standards of Accreditation and who have not reached 20 years of age on or before August 1st of the school year of the right to a free public education. If the student who does not graduate or complete such requirements is a student for whom English is a second language, the school board will notify the parent of the student‘s opportunity for a free public education in accordance with Va. Code § 22.1-5.

    Adopted: September 13, 2010
    Revised: February 11, 2013
    Revised: July 11, 2016

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    IB: ACADEMIC FREEDOM

    The School Board seeks to educate young people in the democratic tradition, to foster a recognition of individual freedom and social responsibility, and to inspire meaningful awareness of and respect for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Freedom of individual conscience, association, and expression will be encouraged and fairness in procedures will be observed both to safeguard the legitimate interests of the schools and to exhibit by appropriate examples the basic objectives of a democratic society as set forth in the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work shall be evaluated by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.

    Adopted: March 23, 2009

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    IC/ID: SCHOOL YEAR/SCHOOL DAY

    School Year

    The length of the school year will be at least 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours. Days on which a school(s) or all the schools in the division are closed due to severe weather or other emergencies will be made up as provided below if necessary to meet these requirements.

    Students are provided a minimum of 680 hours of instructional time in elementary school, except for students in half-day kindergarten, in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science and a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time in half-day kindergarten in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.

    Unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills, and overall physical fitness may be included in the calculation of total instructional time or teaching hours for elementary school, provided that such unstructured recreational time does not exceed 15 percent of total instructional time or teaching hours.

    Make Up Days

    The School Board will make up days missed in accordance with Virginia Code and the Virginia Board of Education regulations. The general rule for making up missed days due to inclement weather is to make up each day missed. If severe weather or another emergency exists which causes a school or schools to be closed for an extended period of time, the superintendent shall follow the Virginia Code and the Virginia Board of Education regulations regarding the required amount of time that must be made up based on the status of the emergency.

    If severe weather conditions or other emergency situations result in the closing of any school in the school division and such school has been unable to meet the 180 teaching day requirement, the school division may make up the missed teaching days by providing its students with instructional hours equivalent to such missed teaching days to meet the minimum 990 teaching hour requirement.

    The Virginia Board of Education may waive the requirement that the school division provide additional teaching days or teaching hours to compensate for school closings resulting from a declared state of emergency, severe weather conditions, or other emergency situations under certain circumstances. If the school board desires a waiver, it will submit a request to the Virginia Board of Education. The request will include evidence of efforts that have been made by the school division to reschedule as many days as possible and certification by the superintendent and chairman of the school board that every reasonable effort for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours was exhausted before requesting a waiver. If the waiver is denied, the school division will make up the missed instructional time.

    School Calendar

    The first day of school is after Labor Day unless the Virginia Board of Education waives this requirement based on the School Board’s certifying that it meets one of the good cause requirements in the Va. Code § 22.1-79.1.B.

    The school board establishes the division’s calendar and teaching contracts in accordance with applicable regulations of the Virginia Board of Education to include contingencies for making up teaching days and teaching hours missed for emergency situations.

    An advisory committee composed of teachers, parents, and school administration may be utilized to recommend a proposed calendar to the superintendent. The recommendation of this committee is advisory.

    School Day

    The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 averages at least 5 1/2 instructional hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess. The standard school day for kindergarten is a minimum of three instructional hours.

    All students in grades 1 through 12 maintain a full day schedule of classes (5 1/2 hours), unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the School Board.

    Each elementary school provides students with a daily recess during the regular school year, as determined appropriate by the school.

    The secondary school class schedule contains a minimum of 140 clock hours for each unit of credit. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded is no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction provided.

    The time for opening and closing schools is established by the School Board upon recommendation of the superintendent, provided that the daily program for students in grades 1 through 12 averages at least 5-½ hours, not including meal intermissions. If the required program length is maintained, the School Board may approve occasional shortened days for parent-teacher conferences, staff development, the day prior to a holiday break or other activities designed to improve the instructional program, provided that no more than one day in each five-day week may be shortened to no less than four hours. The daily program for kindergarten is at least three hours, not including meal intermissions.

    When exceptions in the length of the daily program are necessary for special education, alternative education, double shifts, and scheduling or other unusual situations, the Board requests approval by the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the exceptions by August 1 preceding the school year for which they are requested.

    The length of the work day for employees is determined by the School Board. It is of sufficient length to allow for the daily program for students and additional time as may be necessary for such activities as planning, preparation, meetings, workshops, conferences, meal intermissions, or other contractual obligations.

    Certification

    The superintendent and School Board chair certify the total number of teaching days and teaching hours each year as part of the annual report to the Virginia Board of Education.

    Adopted: July 29, 2015
    Revised: September 10, 2018

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    IE: MOMENT OF SILENCE

    The Smyth County School Board recognizes that a moment of silence before each school day prepares students and staff for their respective work or school days. Therefore, each teacher shall observe one minute of silence at the beginning of the first class of each school day.

    The teacher responsible for each class shall make sure that each student: (1) remains seated and silent and (2) does not disrupt or distract other students during the moment of silence. The moment may be used for any lawful silent activity, including personal reflection, prayer and meditation. Teachers shall not influence, in any way, students to pray or meditate or not to pray or meditate during the moment of silence.

    Adopted: October 13, 2008
    Revised: May 28, 2013

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    IEA: PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

    The Pledge of Allegiance, as established in 4 U.S.C. § 4, shall be recited daily in each classroom of the Smyth County School Division.

    During the recitation of the Pledge, students shall stand and recite the Pledge while facing the flag with their right hands over their hearts or in an appropriate salute if in uniform.

    No student shall be compelled to recite the Pledge if he, his parent or legal guardian objects on religious, philosophical, or other grounds to his participating in this exercise. Students who are exempt from reciting the Pledge shall quietly stand or sit at their desks while others recite the Pledge and shall make no display that disrupts or distracts those who are reciting the Pledge.

    Appropriate accommodations shall be made for students who are unable to comply with the procedures described herein due to disability.

    Adopted: October 13, 2008

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    IEB: NATIONAL MOTTO

    The statement "‘In God We Trust,‘ the National Motto, enacted by Congress in 1956" shall be posted in a conspicuous place in each school for all students to read.

    Adopted: October 13, 2008

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    IEC: BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

    The Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States shall be posted in a conspicuous place in each school for all students to read.

    Adopted: October 13, 2008

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    IF: CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND ADOPTION

    The curriculum is a coherent and comprehensive plan for teaching and learning built upon a framework that promotes continuity and the cumulative acquisition and application of skills. The curriculum shall state clearly and specifically what students are expected to know and be able to do by grade level and course. The Smyth County School Board curricula shall meet or exceed the requirements of the Code of Virginia and regulations of the Virginia Board of Education and, at a minimum, shall be aligned to the Standards of Learning.

    Adopted: June 30, 2009
    Revised: May 28, 2013

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    IFB: PILOT, RESEARCH OR EXPERIMENTAL PROJECTS

    Right to Inspect Instructional Materials

    In addition to any other rights with respect to the inspection of instructional materials, the parent or guardian of a child enrolled or engaged in any research or experimentation program or project which is funded by the United States Department of Education shall be entitled to inspect all instructional materials which will be used in conjunction with such program or project.

    Research and Informed Consent

    As used herein, the term "research or experimentation program or project" means any systematic investigation which departs from the application of established and accepted methods which are appropriate to meet the students‘ needs and may result in physical or psychological injury to the participants. The designation of any program or project as a research or experimentation program or project shall be made by the superintendent of schools.

    Informed Consent

    No research shall be conducted or authorized unless the student‘s parents or legally authorized representative or emancipated student signs a student consent form and has it witnessed. The form shall comply with the Va. Code § 32.1-162.18.

    Any research involving students shall be approved and conducted under the review of a human research committee established by the school division. The human research committee will consist of the Superintendent, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, and any individual assigned to the committee due to their knowledge of the particular topic.

    If the subjects cannot be identified and the research falls within the exemptions of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, the research is exempted from these requirements.

    Any complaints arising under this policy shall be submitted under Policies KL or KLB as appropriate.

    Adopted: November 9, 2009

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    IGA: BASIC INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM

    Because education is a lifelong process, the educational program will provide both formal studies to meet the general academic needs of all students, and opportunities for individual students to develop specific talents and interests in career and technical education, arts education, and other specialized fields that encourage growth toward independent learning.

    The various instructional programs will be developed with a view toward maintaining balanced, integrated, and sequentially articulated curricula which will serve the educational needs of all school-aged children in the division.

    The Smyth County School Board subscribes to the philosophy that well developed reading, math, and other basic skills, including the ability to speak and write effectively are essential in society. It will adopt specific requirements to ensure that high school graduates are sufficiently competent in these essential skills.

    At all levels, provisions will be made to meet the educational needs for a wide range of individual differences in student abilities, learning rates, and learning styles through the use of a variety of materials, differentiated instruction, adjustments in programs, and courses adapted for the special needs of students.

    The curriculum will meet or exceed the requirements established by the Code of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Board of Education. In addition, the curriculum will be aligned to the Standards of Learning.

    Adopted: December 14, 2009

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    IGAD: CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

    The Smyth County School Board provides career and technical educational programs incorporated into the kindergarten through twelfth grade curricula that include:

    The School Board develops and implements a plan to ensure compliance with this Policy. This plan is developed with the input of area business and industry representatives and local community colleges and is submitted to the Superintendent of Public Instruction in accordance with the timelines established by federal law.

    The School Board may establish High School to Work Partnerships or delegate the authority to establish Partnerships to the division’s career and technical education administrator or the administrator’s designee, in collaboration with the guidance counselor office of each high school in the school division, and educates high school students about opportunities available through such Partnerships.

    Adopted: October 12, 2009
    Revised: February 11, 2013
    Revised: December 11, 2017
    Adopted: September 10, 2018

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    IGAE/IGAF: HEALTH EDUCATION/PHYSICAL EDUCATION

    Each school organizes and maintains a health and physical education program in accordance with Virginia Board of Education regulations and Virginia Board of Health guidelines.

    Such health instruction