State Board

September 1, 2011 - Volume 31 Issue 21

State Board / State Department of Education News


The West Virginia Board of Education settled on its wish list during August for the 2012 legislative session. At the top of its agenda is a request to address Other Post-employment Benefits, or OPEB, expenses that include an unfunded liability for retiree benefits.

Also high on the state board’s priority list are pay raises for both educators and service personnel to make salaries competitive nationally and with neighboring states. The average teacher salary in West Virginia currently ranks 48th in the nation.

“This ranking is detrimental to the economic and educational well-being of our state,” state Supt. Jorea Marple said. “West Virginia needs a long-term plan to address this fundamental issue of attracting and retaining high quality educators.”

Also included in the board’s 2012 legislative agenda is a request to invest nearly $23 million to expand the state’s technology infrastructure, tools and support to serve students and teachers and to lift the funding cap on the state’s eight Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.

Board members also are asking lawmakers to increase appropriations for educator mentoring and induction by $930,466.

 

As part of the first-ever Act Now for Student Success Summit, the West Virginia Department of Education, the Education Alliance and the West Virginia Center for Civic Life reached out to businesses, media, government, community, health and education leaders to make a commitment to improving public education in West Virginia. The summit focused on dropout prevention strategies developed and implemented through a community approach.

“Fixing what needs to be fixed in public education is everybody’s responsibility,” Supt. Jorea Marple said. “I am convinced that we can make great leaps forward if we can rally the concerted and unified efforts of parents, community agencies, lawmakers and business leaders to provide the support needed for our schools to improve.”

Each summit participant was asked to make a personal commitment to lead the change and identify ways to engage the community to improving public education.

“Local community members' actions can positively impact high school completion rates,” Patricia Kusimo, executive director of Education Alliance, said. “We hope everyone attending [the] meeting will be a part of at least one community conversation that improves students' attendance, behavior, or course performance.”

The West Virginia Department of Education has identified four priorities as part of Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it., the state’s 21st century teaching and learning program. The priorities include honoring and elevating teachers; providing greater flexibility to schools related to such areas as: the length of the school year and class sizes; serving the personal learning needs of each student; and convincing all parents, agencies, community and business leaders, and legislators that they have important roles in improving schools.

The Act Now for Student Success Summit embraced the importance of community involvement and personalized learning.
“I am determined that this summit won’t just be another meeting,” Marple said. “All of the partners are dedicated to not only continuing the conversations but to also have tangible action steps and a commitment to change.”

 

Schools in eight West Virginia counties have been selected to participate in a program that provides free meals to all students regardless of income.

All schools in Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell and Mingo counties and West Side Elementary in Kanawha County are participating in the Universal Feeding Pilot program, which the state Board of Education discussed during its August meeting. Schools participating in the program will offer breakfast or lunch or both.

“Research consistently shows that children who eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch perform better on standardized tests, have higher math scores and lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness,” Supt. Jorea Marple said. “This program is designed to support child nutrition programs and increase breakfast and lunch participation while eliminating any barriers hindering a child’s ability to participate.”
Schools and counties that volunteered to participate in the one-year pilot have a high percentage of children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. By increasing participation, schools likely will be able to recover much of the cost associated with the program through federal subsidies.

To participate, volunteers agreed to not only increase their breakfast and lunch participation but also eliminate processed foods and increase school-made meals, offer more choices to students and offer breakfast after first period, in the classroom or through grab-and-go options.

Success of the program depends largely on parents’ completing applications to participate in the free and reduced meal program. Data provided on applications will determine the federal reimbursements school systems will receive for providing free meals. Parents eventually will be able to complete applications online. For now, they are available from the central offices of the participating county school systems.

“It’s unfortunate, but many West Virginia children rely on school meals for their main nutrition,” Supt. Jorea Marple said. “By increasing participation in school meal programs we can decrease childhood hunger. In a state with a 60 percent poverty rate, promoting good nutrition in schools is good for the community.”

 

The West Virginia Board of Education is hoping a pilot program that allows students to access electronic books while riding the school bus will help encourage reading. Books on the Bus will be launched in select rural counties this fall.

“This program will address not only the issues of long bus rides for students but also will engage them in personalized learning through the use of technology,” Supt. Jorea Marple said. “Reading well is the gateway to future success. This program is one more way we can strive to help children develop a love for reading that will last a lifetime.”

Each pilot school will receive funding to purchase some equipment and establish OverDrive digital library collections. With an iPod Touch, students then will be able to download eBooks and audio books from the digital library. Students who are not part of the bus pilot or special education may use their personal devices to download titles.

Library media specialists can assist students in book selection based on reading abilities. The pilot also will provide professional development to the library media specialists and special education teachers in each school.

Participating schools include Capon Bridge Elementary, Capon Bridge Middle School and Hampshire High in Hampshire County and Elkins High in Randolph County. Other schools may be added.

The Books on the Bus pilot is part of the state Department of Education’s Read WV campaign to encourage reading. The department has created a resource page to help parents, teachers and others with this endeavor. The site can be accessed at www.readwv.com.

“These resources can be used to ignite a passion for reading,” Marple said. “Remember, a child who can read is a child who can learn. And a child who can learn can succeed not only in school but in life.”

 

The state Board of Education is a driving force behind keeping students safe on the road. The board has adopted updated state driver’s education content standards to add rigor and address distracted driving that poor use of today’s technology can cause.

Updates to Policy 2520.8, Next Generation Driver Education Content Standards and Objectives for West Virginia, were suggested by teachers during the West Virginia Safety and Driver Education Conference in March. Teachers who worked on the proposed changes said the growing use of cell phones, global positioning systems (GPS), and other technologies while driving has made distractive driving an issue soon to surpass driving under the influence as the major cause of car crashes among teenagers, accounting for 25 percent of all accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“In this electronic age, distracted driving is leading to more and more accidents,” state Supt. Jorea Marple said. “It is our responsibility as parents, students, bus operators, motorists and school administrators to do what we can to keep our children safe.”

The changes also incorporate 21st century learning and rigor to strengthen the standards.

 

The West Virginia Board of Education is seeking comment on proposed updates designed to improve the health care of student athletes in public schools. Board members voted at their August meeting to place the policy revisions on a 30-day public comment period.

Updates to Policy 5112: Athletic Trainers in the Public Schools of West Virginia, addresses licensure requirements of athletic trainers who work in public schools.

The proposal revises language to include the requirement that an athletic trainer hired by a county board of education must be registered with the West Virginia Board of Physical Therapy. It also amends requirements for the athletic trainer authorization to comply with state code requiring athletic trainers be certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification and be registered with the West Virginia Board of Physical Therapy.

The update also would revise unclear or inaccurate language and delete continuing education and professional development requirements that address the renewal of an Athletic Trainer Student Support Certificate, which is no longer a specialization option.
The update also would grandfather athletic trainers who currently hold Athletic Trainer Student Support Certificates and Athletic Trainer Student Support Permits.

Educators, parents and community members are encouraged to review the policies and make suggestions. The policies can be viewed and comments can be submitted by going to the West Virginia Department of Education website at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies

Note: The West Virginia Department of Education is source for all articles. For more information, contact the the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

 

 

Open for Public Comment

Open for Public Comment
 

POLICY 2340 - West Virginia Measures of Academic Progress (PDF)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 3236 - Education Innovation Zones (PDF)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 5100 - Approval of Educational Personnel Preparation Programs (PDF)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 5202 - Minimum Requirements for the Licensure of Professional/Paraprofessional Personnel and Advanced Salary Classifications (PDF)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 5112 - Athletic Trainers in the Public Schools of West Virginia (PDF)
Until 4:00 PM September 12
Comment Online!