School Board Policies » Section A: Foundations and Basic Commitments

Section A: Foundations and Basic Commitments


The Constitution of the Commonwealth provides that the General Assembly establish a system of free public elementary and secondary schools for all children of school age throughout the state, and seek to ensure that an educational program of high quality is established and continually maintained. The General Assembly requires that such an educational system be maintained and administered by the Virginia Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, division superintendents and school boards. The Virginia Board of Education divides the Commonwealth into school divisions of such geographical area and school-age population as will promote the realization of the Standards of Quality, and will periodically review the adequacy of existing school divisions for this purpose. The supervision of schools in each school division is vested in a school board selected in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Code of Virginia.

Adopted: January 21, 2008
Revised: April 24, 2013

Legal References

  • Constitution of Virginia, article VIII, sections 1, 7.
  • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-2, 22.1-28, 22.1-71.

Cross References

  • BB: School Board Legal Status
  • BBAA: Board Member Authority

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The Smyth County School Board is committed to nondiscrimination with regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, military status, age, religion, disability, national origin, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. This commitment prevails in all of its policies and practices concerning staff, students, educational programs and services, and individuals and entities with whom the Board does business.

Adopted: January 21, 2008
Revised: June 25, 2013
Revised: April 9, 2018
Revised: November 9, 2020
Revised: June 14, 2021
Revised: July 11, 2022

Legal References

  • 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688
  • 29 U.S.C. § 794.
  • 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d-2000d-7, 2000e-1-2000e-17, 2000ff-1.
  • 34 C.F.R. 106.9.34 C. F. R. 106.9.
  • Constitution of Virginia, article I, section 11.
  • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 2.2-3900, 2.2-3901, 2.2-3902, 22.1-23.3, 22.1-26.2, 22.1-295.2.

Cross References

  • GB: Equal Employment Opportunity/Nondiscrimination
  • GBA/JFHA: Prohibition Against Harassment and Retaliation

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The Smyth County School Board is committed to providing equal opportunity for every student to achieve maximum intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth and to ensuring that each student be equipped to communicate effectively with other people, to be competent both in the work place and in higher education, and to feel confident of the ability to make creative and constructive decisions.

The Smyth County School Board:

  • Provides the necessary trained and dedicated leadership, qualified personnel, equipment and materials to assure an appropriate education for every student;
  • Treats all members of the school community equitably and with respect;
  • Allocates and uses assets fairly and efficiently.
Adopted: January 21, 2008
Revised: June 25, 2013
Revised: April 9, 2018
Revised: June 14, 2021
Revised: November 8, 2021


Legal References

  • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-23.3, 22.1-78


Cross References

  • AC: Nondiscrimination
  • GA: Personnel Policies Goals
  • GB: Equal Employment Opportunity/Nondiscrimination
  • GBA/JFHA: Prohibition Against Harassment and Retaliation
  • IGBC: Parental Involvement
  • JB: Equal Education Opportunities/Nondiscrimination

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A. Generally

The school division is committed to excellence in education, equality of educational opportunity, and the recognition of each student's individuality. Inasmuch as students differ in their rate of physical, mental, emotional and social growth and vary in their needs and abilities, learning opportunities are provided that are consistent with personal development and potential. Programs emphasize diagnostic and prescriptive instruction, allowing an individual approach to each student's learning style and educational needs.

The educational program introduces each student to a variety of interest and subject areas that offer exposure to the range of opportunities available in later years. These experiences produce the basis for further education and future employment. As students demonstrate increased maturity, they may assume more responsibility for the decisions regarding their education.

The school environment should be responsive and conducive to learning. The physical environment facilitates and enhances the learning experiences available to each student. A responsive environment includes competent, dedicated teachers using a variety of techniques and a classroom atmosphere where students can function and develop according to their abilities. Safety, physical comfort, and appearance also are vital environmental components.

B. Standards of Quality and Objectives

The School Board accepts the overall goals of public education as expressed by the Standards of Quality legislated by the Virginia General Assembly and implemented by State Board of Education regulations.

The school board reports its compliance with the Standards of Quality to the Board of Education annually. The report of compliance is submitted to the Board of Education by the chairman of the board and the superintendent.

C. Standards of Quality—Programs and Services

The School Board commits itself to providing programs and services as stated in the Standards of Quality to the extent funding thereof is provided by the General Assembly.

Adopted: January 21, 2008
Revised: June 10, 2019
Revised: June 14, 2021

Legal References

  • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-23.3, §§ 22.1 253.13:1, 22.1-253.13:8.

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The Smyth County School Board adopts a division-wide comprehensive, unified, long-range plan based on data collection, an analysis of the data, and how the data will be utilized to improve classroom instruction and student achievement. The plan is developed with staff and community involvement and includes, or be consistent with, all other division-wide plans required by state and federal laws and regulations. The school board reviews the plan biennially and adopts any necessary revisions. Prior to the adoption of the plan or revisions thereto, the School Board posts the plan or revisions on the division’s Internet website if practicable and makes a hard copy of the plan or revisions available for public inspection and copying and conducts at least one public hearing to solicit public comment on the plan or revisions.

The division-wide comprehensive plan includes:

  1. the objectives of the school division, including strategies for first improving student achievement, particularly the achievement of educationally at risk students, then maintaining high levels of student achievement;
  2. an assessment of the extent to which these objectives are being achieved;
  3. a forecast of enrollment changes;
  4. a plan for projecting and managing enrollment changes including consideration of the consolidation of schools to provide for a more comprehensive and effective delivery of instructional services to students and economies in school operations;
  5. an evaluation of the appropriateness of establishing regional programs and services in cooperation with neighboring school divisions;
  6. a technology plan designed to integrate educational technology into the instructional programs of the school division, including the division's career and technical education programs, consistent with or as part of the comprehensive technology plan for Virginia adopted by the Board of Education;
  7. an assessment of the needs of the school division and evidence of community participation, including parental participation, in the development of the plan;
  8. any corrective action plan required pursuant to Va. Code § 22.1-253.13:3; and
  9. a plan for parent and family involvement to include building successful school and parent partnerships that will be developed with staff and community involvement, including participation by parents.
Effective with the 2024-2025 school year, 
  1. the divisionwide comprehensive plan will also include a divisionwide literacy plan for pre-kindergarten through grade eight, and
  2. the School Board will post, maintain, and update as necessary on its website a copy of its divisionwide literacy plan and the job description and contact information for any reading specialist employed by the division pursuant to subsection G of Va. Code § 22.1-253.13:2 and for any dyslexia specialist it employs.

The School Board presents a report to the public by November 1 of each odd-numbered year on the extent to which the objectives of the divisionwide comprehensive plan have been met during the previous two school years.

Each school prepares a comprehensive, unified, long-range plan, which the School Board considers in the development of the divisionwide comprehensive plan.

Adopted: January 21, 2008
Revised: April 14, 2014
Revised: June 10, 2019
Revised: July 6, 2023 

Legal References

  • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1 253.13:6.

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The School Board reviews its performance annually to ensure its proper discharge of responsibilities to the community. Evaluation is based on a positive approach, identifying the strengths of the School Board and opportunities for improvement.

The following elements are included in the self-evaluation process:

  1. School Board members are involved in the development of an evaluation instrument and procedure.
  2. The School Board evaluation instrument is completed by individual board members, and submitted to the School Board Chairman, or his or her designee, for compilation.
  3. The School Board meets, with all members present, to review and discuss the composite results.
  4. Each conclusion is supported by objective evidence.

Upon final discussion of the results, the School Board develops both short- and long-range goals and objectives to ensure continued proficiency in its areas of excellence, to strengthen weak areas, and to improve the efficiency of the Board.

Adopted: January 21, 2008
Revised: April 14, 2014
Revised: June 10, 2019

Legal References

  • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-78.

Cross References

  • AE: School Division Goals and Objectives
  • AF: Comprehensive Plan
  • BBA: School Board Powers and Duties

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