P.O. BOX 2120



April 18, 2008



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Bringing High School Successful Practices to Scale in Virginia Study


As part of Virginia's grant from the National Governors Association (NGA) to Redesign the American High School, two research studies were conducted to provide information about promising practices as well as areas of need in Virginia's high schools. The Virginia Department of Education contracted with the International Center for Leadership in Education to prepare a study entitled Bringing High School Successful Practices to Scale in Virginia. The purpose of the study was to provide insight into school policies and instructional practices that are associated with student success across a number of high school indicators. The results have identified common factors that lead to high performance on statewide assessments and are associated with success among all student populations. The study is available on the Department's website at


Ten schools were selected to participate in the study based on several criteria. Care was taken to ensure that each school met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), achieved full accreditation status in Virginia for the past two years, and had a ninth-grade retention rate below the state average of 12 percent at the time of the study. Schools meeting these criteria were sorted by Superintendents' Regions, and student populations were analyzed to ensure that they accurately reflected the demography of Virginia. Additional state testing data and other indicators, such as graduation and attendance rates, were used to select schools that served diverse populations. A copy of the Department of Education's study will be mailed to all middle and high school principals in the Commonwealth.


The Department would like to thank the following school divisions and high schools participating in the research study that culminated in this report:


The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) conducted a second study that was also supported with NGA grant funds. The College Readiness Report How Virginia's Community Colleges are Addressing the Academic Weaknesses of Recent High School Graduates focuses on the academic preparedness of recent Virginia high school graduates enrolled in Virginia's community colleges. This second report is available on the VCCS website at:


Questions regarding the Department of Education's study may be directed to Dr. Felicia D. Dyke, director, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, by e-mail at or telephone at (804) 225-2651; or Cheryle C. Gardner, principal specialist of fine arts, by e-mail at or telephone at (804) 225-2881. Questions related to the Virginia Community College System's study may be directed to Dr. Gretchen Schmidt, director of educational policy, Virginia Community College System, by e-mail at or telephone at (804) 819-4697.