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February 16, 2012 - Volume 32 Issue 11

 

“Journalism is literature in a hurry.” – Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet and cultural critic.


By Jim Wallace

Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia’s 35th governor, is the keynote speaker for the West Virginia School Board Association’s 2012 Winter Conference.

Tomblin, a native of Logan County, will speak at 1:00 p.m., Friday, February 17.

The Conference will be held in Charleston at the Town Center Marriott Hotel on Feb. 17 and 18.

About 215 county board members, county superintendents and county administrators are registered for the conference, according to WVSBA Conference Registrar Shirley Davidson.

The meeting will commence tomorrow  with Tomblin’s presentation. The Conference, which will include training workshops and the FY13 Annual Business Meeting, will conclude at noon, Saturday, Feb. 18.

A self-employed businessman and former school teacher, Gov. Tomblin was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1974 at the age of 22 and held that position until he was elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1980. Gov. Tomblin was the longest-serving Senate president, a position he has held from 1995 until he was elected governor in 2011. As Senate president, he was named the state’s first lieutenant governor in 2000. He has dedicated his professional career to public service for the betterment of West Virginia. Tomblin received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University, a master’s degree in business administration from Marshall University and attended the University of Charleston.

As president of the Senate, he was called upon to fulfill the state’s highest office when then-Gov. Manchin resigned the position to fill the unexpired term of U. S. Senator Robert C. Byrd. Tomblin won the October 4, 2011, special gubernatorial election to fulfill the remainder of Manchin’s unexpired term. Tomblin was sworn in for that term on November 13, 2011.

Gov. Tomblin enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including riding ATV trails and gardening. He has been married for 31 years to the former Joanne Jaeger. They have one son, Brent.

 


By Jim Wallace

The main focus of the Senate Education Committee this week is Senate Bill 568, which would create a college- and career-readiness initiative.

“This is a very comprehensive bill,” Chairman Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, said when the committee started looking at it on Tuesday. Because it is such a hefty bill, he told committee members he would wait until their Thursday meeting before trying to get approval for it, so they would have plenty of time to consider all of its implications.

The bill would have the West Virginia Board of Education, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education collaborate to adopt uniform college- and career-readiness standards for English/language arts and math.

In attempting to achieve that main goal, the bill has many other goals, including:

  • Requiring that certain assessments or exams be used to determine whether a student meets the standards;
  • Requiring that an explicit focus be embedded in each course on the development of English/language arts and math skills;
  • Requiring a 12th-grade transitional course for both English/language arts and math for students who are not ready for college;
  • Requiring that professional development on teaching the college- and career-readiness standards be included in the state board’s goals for professional staff development and ultimately in its Master Plan for Professional Staff Development;
  • Requiring the state board to require all teacher preparation programs in the state to include appropriate training for teachers teaching in at least grades eight through 12 on how to teach the adopted standards;
  • Requiring the use of certain assessments or exams, as applicable, to determine whether a student is to enroll in a remedial course or be placed immediately in a college-level introductory course;
  • Requiring accountability for increasing the percentage of students who meet the standards and for increasing the percentage of students who make adequate progress toward meeting the standards; and
  • Deleting the requirement that a school or school system that achieves adequate yearly progress is eligible for no less than full accreditation or approval status, as applicable.

Plymale said his office has been collaborating closely with the Department of Education and the Higher Education Policy Commission on the bill. Robert Hull, an associate state superintendent in the Division of Curriculum and Instructional Services, said about the bill, “It pretty much comes in line with the direction we want to go in.”

Kathy Butler, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Higher Education Policy Commission, said, “The bill is very comprehensive. We’ve been looking at it closely and will continue to look at it very closely over the next 48 hours.” She further said that the commission is pleased with the academic rigor included in the bill, which could increase the number of West Virginians who go to college and get degrees.

”The comments that we received from SREB is that if we would pass legislation such as this, we would be probably one of the leaders as a state in trying to develop a comprehensive plan for college and career readiness.” – Sen. Bob Plymale

Plymale added that the bill is the result of an initiative from officials at the Southern Regional Education Board. “They have spent a fair amount of time on this. The comments that we received from SREB is that if we would pass legislation such as this, we would be probably one of the leaders as a state in trying to develop a comprehensive plan for college and career readiness.”

Although the committee put off most of its work on the bill, members on Tuesday did accept one amendment from Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, to remove all references to the Process for Improving Education Council. That’s a body that supposedly includes representatives from the state school board, the Legislature and the governor’s office. But if it seems unfamiliar, there is good reason: It exists in name only.

Plymale agreed with Boley that legislation should not refer to a nonexistent body.

“It is pretty ludicrous that we identify something that we did, what, eight or nine years ago, and they have never met,” he said. “They don’t intend to meet, and it was done that way to not complete anything.”

The Process for Improving Education Council was part of a law passed in 2002, and it was again referred to in a bill approved in 2008. The Senate tried once before to remove references to it from state code but couldn’t get the House of Delegates to go along with it.

 


The House Education Committee has approved House Bill 4119, which would define the term “athletic director.”

While the bill provides a definition for the position, there is no mandate for county boards to employ athletic directors, according to committee counsel David Mohr in response to a question by Delegate Kevin Craig, D-Cabell. Several previous House bills would have effectively required the employment of athletic trainers. 
 
Mohr said that §18-1-1, the definitional section of the education code, also defines “social worker” as well as other terms used in Chapter 18 such as “county superintendent,” “county board” and “teacher.”

Under terms of the bill, an athletic director is someone employed by the county board who, “under the supervision of the school principal and in accordance with the rules of the county board, is responsible for the planning, management, operation and evaluation of the athletic program for the school or schools to which he or she is assigned. The responsibilities of an athletic director may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Supervising of athletic games;
  2. overseeing the athletic budget;
  3. hiring game officials;
  4. scheduling athletic contests;
  5. knowing and upholding all county, West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) and league rules;
  6. maintaining proper records as required by West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) participation;
  7. scheduling transportation for athletic teams;
  8. preparing and verifying athletic eligibility lists;
  9. supervising coaches and, if appropriately certified, observing and evaluating coaches;
  10. securing all needed personnel for basic athletic event operations;
  11. procuring and caring for athletic equipment; and
  12. performing other duties involving athletics as assigned by the principal or as a part of a county job description for athletic director.”

Mohr and others responded to several questions about the legislation, including an inquiry by Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, who said his county board employs one athletic director in a central office administrative position. Caputo’s questions related to bill language saying the athletic director works under the “supervision” of the school principal. He wondered how the bill’s provisions would be applied in terms of individual schools, given wording of the proposed legislation.

Several committee members responded that a county athletic director – someone having that central office title and those job duties – would effectively work under the direction or supervision of the principal while athletic events were occurring at a particular school.
 
House Education Vice Chairman Brady Paxton, D-Putnam, said the bill was introduced on behalf of the state Athletic Directors Association. He has introduced similar bills in past legislative sessions, but the sponsors of House Bill 4119 are Delegates David Perry, D-Fayette, and Tiffany Lawrence, D-Jefferson. The bill now goes to the full House of Delegates.

 

Bills aim to get teachers into schools sooner.          

The full House approved two other education bills on unanimous votes earlier this week. Both bills are designed to get more teachers into classrooms.

House Bill 4101 would authorize teacher-in-residence programs. Each program would have a teacher education program enter into an agreement with a county school board and get the approval of the state school board. The proposal, which came out of the monthly interim meetings that legislators hold between their annual, regular sessions, would be a means to get teachers into high-need areas and very rural areas. It has been described as letting students who are in their final semester of student teaching programs to do their student teaching on the job. They would be paid stipends and have the rights and responsibilities of fulltime teachers.

The other bill, House Bill 4122, would authorize alternative certification programs so that people with experience in other fields, especially science and math, could become teachers. It also came out of a proposal developed during legislative interim meetings. The candidates would go through special summer training sessions and apply what they learn in the classroom. This bill also is meant to be a way of getting more teachers into rural schools. American Sign Language would be among the subjects the individuals could be certified to teach.

The House approved both bills on votes of 97 to zero with three members absent. They now go to the Senate for further consideration.

 


    

The following is a compilation of news media articles relating to public education in the Mountain State.

Southern WV Community Mourns Sudden Death of Local Educator
http://www.wvpubcast.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=23936

Vaccines Now Required for Adolescents, Teenagers
http://www.wvpubcast.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=23905
 

Lester Elementary Students Take Recycling Seriously
http://www.register-herald.com/todaysfrontpage/x913136868/Lester-Elementary-students-take-recycling-seriously
 

Raleigh Ranks Well in National School Culture Survey
http://www.register-herald.com/local/x1118841452/Raleigh-ranks-well-in-national-school-culture-survey
 

Student Teaching Helps Give Students Hands on Experience
http://www.marshallparthenon.com/student-teaching-helps-give-students-hands-on-experience-1.2700854#.Tzu5z8US29U
 

State Should Pay More to get Certain Teachers
http://www.dailymail.com/Opinion/Editorials/201202140150
 

Capital High Teacher Honors Late Dad at Halfway Point of Show
http://www.dailymail.com/News/Kanawha/201202150093
 

Survey: McDowell, Mercer Counties Rank Poorly for Well-Being of Children
http://www.dailymail.com/News/Kanawha/201202150093
 

W. Va. Children’s Health Ranks 44th in Survey
http://wvgazette.com/News/201202140201
 

Wood School System Tries to Tackle Truancy
http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/557491/Wood-school-system-tries-to-tackle-truancy.html?nav=5061
 

Area Board Learns About Middle College Program
http://www.heraldstaronline.com/page/content.detail/id/570295/Area-board-learns-about-middle-college-program.html?nav=5010
 

Dolan Named Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent
http://www.wtrf.com/story/16933041/dolan-named-ohio-county-schools-assistant-superintendent
 

No Candy for West Virginia Students, Even on Valentine’s Day
http://www.wtap.com/news/headlines/No_Candy_For_Students_Even_On_Valentines_Day_139326653.html
 

White Hall Elementary Students Collect 1,300 Items for Food Drive
http://www.wboy.com/story/16934544/2012/02/14/white-hall-elementary-students-collect-1300-items-for-food-drive
 

Students Taken to Hospital after Bus Accident
http://www.wtrf.com/story/16937342/first-on-wtrfcom-students-taken-to-hospital-after-bus-accident
 

Fewer Snow Days Means Students Could See Summer Come Earlier
http://bdtonline.com/local/x741516057/Fewer-snow-days-means-students-could-see-summer-come-earlier
 

State Department of Education Cancels P.A.L.S.
http://www.wtap.com/news/headlines/State_Department_Of_Education_Cancels_PALS_139244763.html
 

Eighth-Graders Get Tour of PHS
http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/557444/Eighth-graders-get-tour-of-PHS.html?nav=5061
 

Student Set to Attend National Convention
http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/557445/Student-set-to-attend-national-convention.html?nav=5061
 

No Jail Time for Underage Drinkers in Senate Passed Bill
http://www.wvpubcast.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=23922
 

Students Blast in to Space at Harrison County Camp
http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Students-Blast-in-to-Space-at-Harrison-County-Camp791
 

George Washington Wins Kanawha Math field Day
http://www.dailymail.com/News/Kanawha/201202130091
 

BOE Can’t Reach Decision on Replacement for Newman
http://www.fayettetribune.com/local/x741515512/BOE-can-t-reach-decision-on-replacement-for-Newman
 

W. Va. Considers NCLB Waiver
http://wvgazette.com/News/201202090169
 

Bills Advance to Increase State’s Teacher Pool
http://wvgazette.com/News/politics/201202130233
 

West Virginia Rewards Teachers for Classroom Innovations
http://www.wboy.com/story/16906993/2012/02/10/west-virginia-rewards
 

Gas in Class? No Problem for Creative W. Va. Teacher
http://times-news.com/local/x980633637/Gas-in-class-No-problem-for-creative-W-Va-teacher
 

Mary Snow’s Many Experiences made her Much More than a Principal
http://dailymail.com/Opinion/LetterstotheEditor/201202090152
 

Rev. Matthew J. Watts: Abandoning our Most Troubled Youth
http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/OpEdCommentaries/201202130107
 

Neither Blame nor Credit for Some Schools
http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/DawnMiller/201202100052
 

Flunking 3rd Graders is not an Intervention
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/john_wilson_unleashed/2012/02/flunking_3rd_graders_is_not_an_intervention.html
 

School Board Approves 2002 Bond Surplus Disbursement
http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/575098/School-board-approves-2002-bond-surplus-disbursement.html?nav=5006
 

Sweets May Make a Comeback in Schools
http://www.wowktv.com/story/16926371/sweets-may-make-a-comeback-in-schools
 

‘College Goal Sunday’ Helping Students Apply for Financial Aid
http://www.wsaz.com/charleston/headlines/College_Goal_Sunday_Helping_Students_Apply_for_Financial_Aid_139190763.html