K-12 Advisory Council History
Formed in November 2001, the Council featured 11 founding members (Chesterfield, Fairfax, Hanover, Hopewell, King and Queen, Manassas Park, Orange, Prince Edward, Roanoke City, Staunton, and Virginia Beach). In the first several months, Council members identified that there were partnership opportunities that existed through the leveraging of the resources at UVA and within the member districts.
Among the greatest opportunity for partnerships imagined early on is one that has become the signature project of the Council, the Statewide Communities of Practice for Excellence (SCOPE). Born out of a recognition that leadership and funding provided previously by the state would not be available to address the increasing challenge of succession management, the founding members committed to the creation of a two-year cohort experience for emerging leaders within their districts. From SCOPE’s inception, cohort experiences continue to be facilitated by UVA leaders and the content continues to be delivered by Council members and UVA faculty. The expense of the cohorts has been largely absorbed by the participating districts. Because of the Council’s critical mass, we have also been able to attract large grant awards, most notably from the Wallace Foundation in support of our leadership succession emphasis.
The SCOPE program will begin its fifteenth cohort in September 2019. At the conclusion of this cohort, the Council will claim that over 750 Virginia school leaders will have graduated.
As the Council membership has grown, it is conceivable that concurrent SCOPE cohorts could be offered one day to meet the needs and demand of the membership.
SCOPE graduates have moved into all levels of leadership positions within Virginia school districts, including superintendent roles.
The Council has embraced other agendas on a smaller, but equally impactful scale. Among them have been these: school business officers’ certification in partnership with UVA, VASBO, and VASS; mathematics leadership professional development; instructional coaching academies; Leading from Central Office symposia; and others. As well, the Council’s initiatives have been placed on statewide professional association conference agendas, have been featured before the Virginia General Assembly, and have been highlighted in presentations with Chinese delegations visiting UVA.
Most recently, the Council has identified the chronic teacher shortage as a topic to examine more deeply through the facilitation of discussions and recommendations to address it within Virginia. In October 2017, the Council and the Curry School of Education co-sponsored the summit, “Teacher Shortages in the Commonwealth: A Conversation with Education Leaders and Policymakers.” In October 2018, the Council and Curry co-sponsored a second summit, “The 2018 Teacher Retention Summit.” In October 2019, a third summit, "Early Childhood Education," will be co-sponsored by the Council and Curry.
Council membership has grown steadily since 2001 as invitations have been extended to other districts. It has always been viewed that no fee should be assessed a member district. Rather, if there is a service that the Council offers, then a fee for service would be assessed. In 2018, following the prior year’s invitation to all superintendent members of the organization formerly known as the Virginia School University Partnership, the Council has issued invitations to all Virginia school superintendents.
At this writing, there are 106 school districts on the UVA K12 Advisory Council, representing over 100,000 (91%) of Virginia’s school children. The member districts are geographically dispersed across the Commonwealth. As well, there is a strong mix of large, midsize, small, rural, suburban, and urban districts. Largely an organization comprised of active school superintendents, there are other district level and school-based leaders involved, as well. In addition, the Council counts as partners several education affiliates, program consultants and emeritus members. SCOPE graduates are also represented on the Council either as practicing superintendents or as representatives of recent cohort graduates.
Most importantly, the Council counts the Dean of the Curry School and Curry’s outstanding faculty and staff as our leading partners as we serve alongside one another imagining the possibilities that lie ahead for our collaboration.