WVBE/WVDE

March 1, 2019 - Volume 39 Issue 8

WVBE / WVDE News

Gov. Justice Signs Bill Expanding Computer Science Education at West Virginia Schools

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice held a ceremonial bill signing Thursday for Senate Bill 267 at Cranberry-Prosperity Elementary School in Beckley, WV. The new law makes West Virginia the first state in the nation to give all students access to computer science education before graduating high school.

“I’ve said all along that we need to make education our centerpiece here in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “For a long time, our state was 50th in just about everything. That’s why I’m so proud that we’re the first state to make sure all of our students get a top-notch education in a subject as important as computer science. This will help us attract even more technology companies to our state and encourage our brightest young minds to build their careers right here at home.”

Signing SB 267 into law accomplishes one of the goals Gov. Justice highlighted during his 2019 State of the State address. In that speech, he called for West Virginia to become the first state to offer computer science education in every school within the state. The bill passed unanimously in the Legislature.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine, emphasized the importance of such training for students.

“I commend Governor Justice for endorsing a bill to ensure all West Virginia students graduate with a knowledge of computer science,” Paine said. “We collectively recognize that computer science is fundamental for students’ success in future careers and receiving this instruction will assist them in the transition to industry credentialing and college degrees.”

The bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt a policy detailing the appropriate level of computer science instruction for students at each educational level. It also requires the Department of Education to develop and offer appropriate professional development opportunities to teachers providing computer science instruction.

Gov. Justice’s support for this bill follows his education agenda in the Mountain State since he took office.

Today’s ceremonial signing coincided with the state’s celebration of Digital Learning Day — a national event highlighting instructional technology and innovative teachers. Gov. Justice presented a proclamation at the ceremony proclaiming today Digital Learning Day in West Virginia and classrooms across West Virginia participated in the annual celebration to illustrate best technology practices that enhance teaching and learning. Students statewide participated in a creative and diverse range of activities that highlight various technology tools, applications and teaching approaches used throughout West Virginia classrooms and around the country.

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is seeking partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer months. When school is out of session during the summer months, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas.

County boards of education, local government agencies and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which ensures children (ages 18 and under) in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access to the programs that are available to them during the school year, like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program. Feeding sites often include schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes and summer camps.

“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine. “Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn.”

An average of 208,000 children in West Virginia or about 76 percent of school children, depend on free and reduced-price meals at school, yet only about 21,000 receive the free meals provided by the SFSP.

“In 2018, 554 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2019,” said Amanda Harrison, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “We encourage new organizations in communities all across the Mountain State to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Organizations interested in becoming a 2019 summer sponsor should contact Cybele Boehm or Samantha Reeves with the Office of Child Nutrition by calling (304) 558-3396. Summer sites will be announced in June 2019.

For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699 or Kristin.anderson@k12.wv.us.