State Board

September 30, 2011 - Volume 31 Issue 22

State Board / State Department of Education News

West Virginia is among 20 states selected to lead a national effort to improve science education for all students through the development of Next Generation Science Standards. 

The standards will clearly define the content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation. West Virginia Supt. Jorea Marple announced the selection at Sissonville Middle School last week. She was joined by representatives from Kanawha County schools, the National Youth Science Foundation, TechConnect consortium, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, West Virginia State University, Marshall University and the June Harless STEM Center at Marshall.

“Research tells us that common, rigorous standards lead to more students reaching higher levels of achievement,” Marple said. “In the 21st century, preparing today’s students for deeper levels of scientific investigation and understanding is critical to their future success.”

West Virginia and the other states applied to participate in the program with support of their chief state school officers and the presidents of the state boards of education. West Virginia has strong support for science education from legislators as well as collaborative efforts among public schools and higher education and business and industry, a plus in its application.

As a lead state partner, West Virginia will guide the standard writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges.

“We are fortunate that West Virginia’s voice will be heard as Next Generation Science Standards are developed,” Marple said. “As West Virginia moves forward with the possible adoption of these standards, we will see them evolve first hand. It is quite an honor.”

The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a two-step process being managed by Achieve, an education reform non-profit organization. The other participating states are  Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and  Washington.

“The Lead State Partners will provide important leadership and guidance throughout the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and are to be congratulated for making a strong commitment to improving science education,” Michael Cohen, president of Achieve, said. “This will be a collaborative process that will lead to a set of standards that provides America’s students with a strong foundation in science and supports college and career readiness for all.”

The first step of the standards development was the creation of a framework that identified the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should be familiar with by the time they graduate from high school.

In July, the National Research Council released “A Framework for K-12 Science Education,” developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy.

The second step is the development of science standards based on the framework. The 20 state participants have agreed to commit staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards.

A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study shows that over the past 10 years, growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. The report also shows that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the coming decade.

“There is a clear benefit to providing our students with the strong science education they need to compete in college and the workplace,” Stephen Pruitt, Achieve vice president and coordinator of the Next Generation Science Standards effort, said. “A strong science education provides all students with opportunities to be successful in the 21st century.”

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at 304-558-2699, or visit the Next Generation Science Standards website at


West Virginia public school students are taking significantly more Advanced Placement exams than ever before, according to a national report.  

The Annual Student Achievement Report, published by the College Board, shows that in the past five years the total number of AP exams taken by public school students in West Virginia increased about 63 percent from 5,655 to 9,201.

“The AP report validates that our decision in West Virginia to increase the rigor of our curriculum and encourage our students to take more difficult classes is paying off,” state Supt. Jorea Marple said. "But we also know that we have not reached our final goal if we want to prepare all students for the 21st century through ‘Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.’”

West Virginia public school students also are passing AP exams with increasingly higher scores. All AP exams are scored on a 5-point scale. Students must score a three or higher to receive college credit. From 2009-2010 to 2010-2011, public school students receiving a score of 3 or higher on AP exams increased 22.3 percent from 3,264 to 3,992. Many students voluntarily enrolled in more than one AP course as they sought to take on higher level content and more intense classroom work.

At the same time, the number of West Virginia public school students taking college-level Advanced Placement courses in 2010- 2011 jumped 14.1 percent, outperforming the national average increase of about 8 percent.  

The Annual Student Achievement Report also showed that minority public school students in West Virginia are experiencing the greatest participation growths on the SAT college entrance exam. In the 2010-2011 school year, Hispanic students taking the SAT increased nearly 41 percent to 59, while African-American students taking the exam increased about 31 percent to 136. Overall, West Virginia public school student participation on the SAT increased nearly seven percent to 2,455.

While more public school students in West Virginia are taking the SAT, their overall performance decreased this year. In reading, the average score was 511, down three points from last year, while math was 499, down 7 points. The average writing score was 494, down 4 points.

“West Virginia has seen steady growth in participation but we know we must do better,” Marple said. “We are cautiously optimistic that as the 21st century next generation and Common Core standards are incorporated into our curriculum, student performance will grow.”

Most college-bound students in the South and Midwest, including West Virginia, opt to take the ACT instead of the SAT. The SAT exam is the most popular college entrance exam for private schools and those on the East and West coasts. Both exams are accepted for consideration for the PROMISE Scholarship, West Virginia’s merit-based scholarship.  The College Board oversees the SAT and the AP program.

In West Virginia, the Center for Professional Development is responsible for training educators to teach Advanced Placement courses.

“All the education partners are pleased with the Advanced Placement (AP) report indicating double digit percent increases in access and success for West Virginia Students,” Dixie Billheimer, chief executive officer of the West Virginia  Center for Professional Development (WVCPD), said. "WVCPD continues to work with the state Department of Education, the state Board of Education, the College Board and individual schools to make sure all students have the opportunity to take and excel in these courses.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.


The West Virginia Board of Education is concerned about school safety and is considering updates to state policy about student behavior.

The board has voted to place proposed revisions to Policy 4373, Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools, on public comment for 60 days.

This proposed policy would combine five existing policies that deal with behavior into one comprehensive policy.  If approved, the existing five policies would be repealed and replaced with the new proposed Policy 4373, Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools.  The five existing policies include: 

2418 Regulations for Alternative Education Programs for Disruptive Students
2421 Racial, Sexual, Religious/Ethnic Harassment and Violence
2422.5 Substance Abuse and Tobacco Control
4372 Student Rights and Responsibilities
4373 Student Code of Conduct

This policy update defines expected behavior standards specific to programmatic grade levels including self-management skills, social skills and responsible decision-making skills.  The policy would require schools to assure that these skills are taught appropriately across all grade levels to prepare students for success in school, in the community and in the work world.

Inappropriate behaviors are defined within this policy, and lists of meaningful interventions and consequences for such behaviors are provided. 

The revision would remove “out-of-school suspension” for Level 1 disruptive behaviors.  “Out-of-school suspension” is also removed for Level 3 Tobacco, Imitation Drug and Inhalant behaviors because these behaviors warrant parental involvement and treatment services.

The policy also outlines requirements for counties to have consistent procedures for receiving complaints of inappropriate behavior, investigating complaints and taking appropriate action on substantiated complaints.

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 logging onto the West Virginia Department of Education website at

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.


The West Virginia Board of Education is seeking comment on changes to state policy governing Local School Improvement Councils.  

Board members voted to place proposed updates to Policy 2200, Local School Improvement Councils (LSICs); Engaging Parents, Families, Students, Business and Community in Education, on a 30-day comment period.

The changes reflect the role of LSICs in supporting schools, school improvement and innovations. The revisions would repeal the existing policy and replace it with new language that supports the board’s belief that education is a shared responsibility that benefits children. The intent of the policy is to provide guidelines for establishing effective LSICs that help develop and promote the school and system vision for excellence by being a catalyst for innovation.

The West Virginia Legislature recognized the importance of community and parental input about 20 years ago when it created Local School Improvement Councils. West Virginia Code §18-5A, the same state code article that established faculty senates, school curriculum teams and school of excellence awards, outlines rules and responsibilities of LSICs . The intent of the legislation is to encourage the involvement of the total school community, including teachers, service personnel, parents, students, business leaders and community organizations in the operation of local schools to promote innovations and improvements in the environment for teaching and learning.

One way LSICs engage parents and other interested parties in an interactive dialogue is through annual meetings with their county boards and the community. Information from such meetings is included in the LSIC’s annual report.  

Educators, parents and community members are encouraged to review the proposed changes and make suggestions. The policies can be viewed on the West Virginia Department of Education website at

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.


Open for Public Comment

Open for Public Comment

The proposed Policy 4373 Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools incorporates the content of five existing policies. Approval of the proposed policy would cause those existing policies to be repealed. The five policies that would be repealed include:

  • 2418, Alternative Education Programs for Disruptive Students
  • 2421, Racial, Sexual, Religious/Ethnic Harassment and Violent
  • 2422.5, Substance Abuse and Tobacco Control
  • 4372, Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • 4373, Student Code of Conduct

POLICY 5112- Athletic Trainers in the Public Schools of West Virginia (PDF)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 2200- Local School Improvement Councils: Engaging Parents, Families, Students, Business and Community in Education (PDF)
Until 4:00 PM October 11
Comment Online!

POLICY 4373- Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools (PDF)
Until 4:00 PM November 8
Comment Online!