State Board

May 31, 2012 - Volume 32 Issue 20

State Board / State Department of Education News

West Virginia Board of Education Member Lloyd G. Jackson II was inducted into the Harless Hall of Fame at Marshall University on May 1, 2012.

The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development hosts the annual induction ceremony as a way to honor and show appreciate to individuals who have advocated and contributed to West Virginia education, particularly in rural areas of the state.

Jackson, of Hamlin, West Virginia, is a member of the West Virginia Board of Education and a former chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Jackson is best known for his writing of the PROMISE Scholarship legislation and Comprehensive Early Childhood Legislation. Jackson is an attorney and businessman in the oil and natural gas production business.

The June Harless Center is a partner with the West Virginia Department of Education and is dedicated to providing support to educators through the state. Its mission is to provide leadership in education initiatives for rural West Virginia educators and students and offers a support system that addresses educational problems, sustains school improvement and provides positive growth in all educational factors.


The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) has announced that a long-time Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) employee will take the reins of RESA III. Kelly Watts has been hired as the executive director of RESA III. She has served as the RESA II Assistant Executive and Program Development Director since 2005.

As the assistant executive and program development director, Watts was responsible for the management and supervision of the program development, regional health/wellness and special education departments. Prior to her work with RESA II, Watts worked for the Wayne County Board of Education in different positions from 1995 to 2005.Watts has also served as an adjutant professor for Marshall University Graduate College since 2006.

There are eight RESAs throughout West Virginia. Their mission is to provide high quality, cost effective, life-long education programs and services to students, schools, school systems and communities. RESAs play an important role in offering:

  • technical assistance to low performing schools;
  • high quality professional development;
  • training services to state agencies, emergency first responders and the private industry; and
  • technology repair and training to school districts.

RESA III serves a four-county region. These counties include Boone, Clay, Kanawha and Putnam. Watts will replace Chuck Nichols upon his retirement at the end of June 2012.


About 26 percent of bus routes targeted by a week-long effort to stop motorists who illegally pass school buses ended Friday with multiple violators receiving tickets and fines.

Throughout the week, West Virginia State Police troopers boarded buses on 23 routes in 12 counties across the state: Berkeley, Cabell, Grant, Jefferson, Harrison, Kanawha, Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio, Raleigh, Randolph and Wood. Six of the routes reported incidents of motorists ignoring flashing red lights and the extended stop arm, according to data collected by the West Virginia Department of Education. Five tickets were issued. One violation occurred when a trooper was not on board.

Troopers in many counties said they were so concerned with the disrespect given to school buses by the public that they plan additional unannounced ride-a-longs and increased patrols to catch violators.

"We are appreciative of our partnership with the State Police and other organizations to keep our children safe,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “We cannot allow motorists to continue to put the lives of our children at risk of injury or death. When motorists fail to obey the law, they endanger the lives of our children, our drivers and themselves."

The safety sweep was prompted by a 2011 National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation survey of county transportation directors. The survey showed that about 600 motorists illegally pass stopped school buses every school day in West Virginia, putting the lives of schoolchildren at risk of injury or death about 120,000 times each school year.

Results of the 2012 survey conducted April 25 are still being collected. However, initial results show that the problem persists. In one day, Kanawha County reported 37 violations; Cabell County, 34; and Berkeley County, 27.

The startling statistics are what prompted the West Virginia Department of Education to reach out to other state agencies, law enforcement, businesses and media to address the problem. The West Virginia State Police, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, the West Virginia Department of Transportation, the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, West Virginia Media, the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association and others joined the West Virginia Department of Education in increasing awareness about the dangers.

“It’s disturbing to learn that as many as 600 motorists a day fail to stop for school buses loading and unloading students,” said State Police Col. C. R. "Jay" Smithers. “Our recent partnership with the West Virginia board of education has confirmed the fact that education and enforcement efforts must be continued if we are to provide a safer environment for West Virginia’s most valuable resources -- our children.”

State law allows for drivers who fail to stop when a school bus stops and flashes its warning lights to be charged with a felony if their actions result in injury or death. A driver who causes an injury faces up to three years in prison and a $2,000 fine. A driver who kills someone could be put in prison for up to 10 years and fined $3,000. Drivers who simply fail to stop can be fined $500, charged with a misdemeanor and jailed up to six months.

“Nearly 230,000 children safely travel about 46 million miles of roadway in West Virginia every year on about 3,000 school buses,” Marple said. “Yet their lives are endangered every time they get on or off a school bus and inpatient drivers fail to stop. I ask all motorists when they see flashing red lights, be smart, be patient and stop.”

The public awareness and safety campaign will continue with the placement of public service announcement posters at convenience stores statewide. In addition, law enforcement officers will continue to do ride-a-longs in problem areas.


Ten West Virginia Schools have been named Schools of Excellence for the 2012-2013 school year.

“Rewarding the hard work and dedication of school administrators and teachers is vital as our state increases rigor across the curriculum,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “These schools have continually exceeded the academic bar and they deserve this prestigious recognition.”

Schools of Excellence are selected based on the following criteria: a rigorous and challenging curriculum; a safe and drug-free learning environment; participatory leadership; active teaching and learning; an environment that strengthens teacher skills; documented student achievement; and implementing advanced and innovated programs.

The 2012-2013 Schools of Excellence are:

  1. Boone County: Ashford-Rumble Elementary
  2. Fayette County: Fayette Institute of Technology
  3. Kanawha County: Shoals Elementary
  4. Lincoln County: West Hamlin Elementary
  5. Marion County: Whitehall Elementary
  6. Mercer County: Princeton Primary
  7. Mingo County: Dingess Elementary
  8. Nicholas County: Craigsville Elementary
  9. Putnam County: Eastbrook Elementary
  10. Raleigh County: Liberty High School

Individual school applications were reviewed by a reading panel over a two-day period resulting in site visits. During the site visits, the schools provided each site visitor with verification and documentation to support a final recommendation for recognition.
For more information regarding West Virginia Schools of Excellence, please contact David Price, coordinator for the Office of School Improvement, at 304-558-3199, or


The West Virginia Board of Education on Wednesday honored two West Virginia schools named U.S. Green Ribbon Schools for their sound environmental practices.

Hilltop Elementary School in Marshall County and the Wyoming County Career and Technical Center were among 78 schools in 29 states to receive the inaugural award that recognizes schools that exercise a comprehensive approach to creating green environments. The winning schools will be honored in Washington, D.C., on June 4.

“West Virginia schools are making great strides toward creating healthy environments in schools, including some that have become Energy Star schools for their conservation efforts,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “We want to recognize schools that strengthen that work by imbedding sustainability practices into school life.”

To be considered for the U.S. Green Ribbon School awards, both Hilltop Elementary and the Wyoming County Career and Technical Center first were named West Virginia Sustainable Schools. Hilltop Elementary received the Black Bear Award for the Highest Achievement, while Wyoming County Career and Technical Center was recognized for Environmental Impact and Energy Efficiency of the Facility.

Both the federal and state programs recognize schools that exemplify a commitment to sustainable practices in their facilities. They also have worked to integrate those practices into the curriculum and helped build healthy and sustainable communities. All schools must meet rigorous standards, including environmental and sustainability education; healthy school environments; and environmental impact and energy efficiency of facilities.

“Science and environmental education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the jobs of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can expand their coursework while also helping children build real world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”

The 78 national award winners were chosen from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. The list of winners include 66 public schools and 12 private schools composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high poverty schools.


As children statewide prepare to put the school year behind them, state Superintendent Jorea Marple is challenging them to keep learning this summer by reading.

Marple has issued a ReadWV Summer Reading Challenge in an effort to help children improve their reading abilities and to keep their academic skills sharp during the summer break.

“Reading well is one of the most important skills a child can possess,” Marple said. “Yet research tells us that young readers who don't continue to read over the summer are likely to lose crucial skills. We cannot allow that to happen.”

One way teachers and parents can help students continue to read over the summer is to help them find books tailored to their own interests. The West Virginia Department of Education has created a website at with free reading resources, including a free online search tool, dubbed Find a Book, West Virginia, Teachers, parents and older students can use this tool to build custom reading lists based on individual interests.

The database also allows students to locate books that best complement each student’s reading ability based on Lexile measures. A Lexile measure represents both a child's reading ability and the difficulty of a text, like a book or magazine article. It is derived from the WESTEST2 given to students every year.

Other summer programs also are available that allow children to earn free books or other prizes when they log their reading. Check out these sites:

Keeping children reading this summer is part of the West Virginia Department of Education’s ongoing efforts to encourage regular reading in West Virginia schools and homes through ReadWV. The campaign is designed to encourage children and the adults in their lives to make reading a priority early in life and to ensure that children read every day. By encouraging parents to read with their children, ReadWV strives to increase the literacy of all residents.

“ReadWV reminds us how important it is for all of us to read every day,” Marple said. “I hope all West Virginia students participate in the ReadWV Summer Reading Challenge. I encourage everyone to share their photos and tweets with us at #ReadWV and at as we help children discover a passion for reading.”


Students across West Virginia will have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school at no cost. West Virginia is one of only four states to be selected to participate in the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) for the 2012 to 2013 school year.

The CEO will allow the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) to expand its Universal Free Meals pilot, which currently serves eight counties - Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell and Mingo. All have seen increases in the number of students eating breakfast and lunch this year because of this project.

“We know that well fed children are able to focus in class and ultimately do better in school,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “We are unsure of the entire scope of this opportunity but we know that it will have a tremendous impact on our ability to feed West Virginia children both a healthy breakfast and lunch for free.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released data reporting high levels of food insecurity and hunger across the country. In West Virginia, nearly 14 percent of residents live in food insecure households and more than 88,500 children live below the poverty line.

The CEO was enacted as a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and provides universal meal service to children in high poverty areas. This is the second year for the option. The CEO is an alternative to collecting, approving and verifying household eligibility applications for free and reduced price eligible students in high poverty Local Education Agencies (LEA). If at least 40 percent of a school’s students are directly certified for free meal benefits, the entire school qualifies for the option.

At least 293 schools in West Virginia already qualify for the CEO, creating the opportunity to feed thousands more children every day.


West Virginia is one of three states selected to receive a $15,000 grant through the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

The three-year grant, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be used to develop and implement policies to foster healthy eating among students and promote school health programs. The money will be used to help provide training and technical assistance to school food service staff in making school meals healthier, including incorporating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

“Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle lead to solid academic success that will continue throughout a student’s lifetime,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “The grant will help our schools help children develop lifelong healthy eating habits at an early age.”

Strong nutrition and wellness programs are especially important in a state like West Virginia, where one in three children born today will likely develop diabetes by the time they grow up. Nearly 85,000 of West Virginia students are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Yet research proves repeatedly that there is a significant link between student health and learning.

That’s why since 1994, West Virginia has been a trailblazer in child nutrition improvements and has included health and wellness in its goals and priorities. More fruits and vegetables were added to school meals and must be offered fresh five times a week. Whole grains, dried beans and peas were incorporated to increase fiber and iron intake. And schools are encouraged to cook more with fresh ingredients.

“With this grant, we are pleased to support the continuation of the work already taking place in West Virginia,” said NASBE Executive Director Jim Kohlmoos.

During the grant period, West Virginia Board of Education members will work with NASBE personnel as well as health and education experts in West Virginia to compile a short list of critical student health areas for policy development, including nutrition. State board members also will work to modify existing policy to include annual assessments of every school’s food service program as well as training for district food service directors and school principals in the new assessment


Students and science seem to be a catalyst for academic success in West Virginia. Data released today by the National Center for Educational Statistics as part of the Nation’s Report Card indicate that science scores are improving.

The Nation’s Report Card also referred to as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), tests a representative sample of students statewide by distributing assessment questions in content areas among groups of test takers who take different versions of the test.

In 2011, the average score of eighth grade students was 149, a four point increase from the 2009 score. The percentage of students performing at or above the basic level in 2011 also increased to 63 percent, a five point jump from 58 percent in 2009.

“These latest science results are encouraging,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “We need to inspire children to take a greater interest in science, technology, engineering and math. In addition, we need to encourage young people to become science and math teachers to inspire the young scientists of tomorrow. I hope these results are a sign of a resurgence of interest in science.”

West Virginia will be updating its science standards in the near future as part of the Next Generation Science Standards initiative. Consequently, West Virginia was chosen to be one of 20 states to lead a national effort to set Next Generation Science Standards. The standards will clearly define the content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation.

“Research tells us that common, rigorous standards lead to more students reaching higher levels of achievement,” added Marple. “In the 21st century, preparing today’s students for deeper levels of scientific investigation and understanding is critical to their future success. I am optimistic that as the Next Generation Science Standards are embedded into West Virginia’s curriculum NAEP scores will increase even further.”

As a lead state partner, West Virginia has guided the standard writing process, gathered and delivered feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges.

For more information about 2011 Science NAEP data visit


The West Virginia Board of Education is seeking comment to state policy governing its preschool program. The board voted during its May meeting to place proposed updates on a 30-day public comment period.

Revisions to Policy 2525, West Virginia’s Universal Access to a Quality Early Education System would address the implementation of West Virginia's Universal Pre-K system by the 2012-2013 school year.

The current policy focuses on designing and creating the system. However, beginning next school year, the revised policy will target implementation of the system and quality improvement within the system. The proposed changes improve the framework and create a new organizational structure for the policy. The revisions also highlight enrollment, eligibility, meals, transportation, environments, curriculum, and the county collaborative early childhood team. Other revisions include the annual requirements for county collaborative early childhood teams, ongoing program assessment and review, and increases to the minimum number of hours per week.

West Virginia has repeatedly received national accolades for its preschool programs, including being recognized by the Children’s Defense Fund as one of only 10 states and the District of Columbia to offer free full-day kindergarten. In addition, West Virginia students benefit from a progressive state law that established the Universal Pre-K system requiring universal preschool is available to all of the state’s 4-year-olds by the 2012-2013 school year. The law has boosted not only preschool enrollment but also kindergarten participation statewide.

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


The West Virginia Board of Education is seeking public comment on proposals to alter athletic transfer rules and other policies governing band and athletic programs.

During their May meeting, board members placed proposed changes to keep the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) current and updated on changes, trends, issues on public comment for 30 days. The changes would bring state policy in compliance with a court order in treating all member schools equal in transfers. The changes also would clarify middle school enrollment and team membership; student eligibility to practice; and when an individual must be removed from an event if a violation occurs.

A Monongalia County Circuit judge invalidated current rules governing student transfers in a December decision that said the WVSSAC does not treat public and private member schools the same in considering transfers. Robert Konchesky of Morgantown challenged the rules after his daughter transferred from the University High School, a public school in Monongalia County, to Trinity Christian, a private school, for her sophomore year and was ordered to sit out one year.

Most public and private schools in West Virginia are members of the WVSSAC. Each year, the principals of member schools submit revisions to the rules and regulations, and then the submitted proposals are presented and voted upon at the annual Board of Control meeting. Any approved changes are then submitted to the West Virginia State Board of Education for its review and approval.
The WVSSAC will present comments received about the changes to the state board at its June meeting.

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


NOTICE: Comments, as submitted, shall be filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office and open for public inspection and copying for a period of not less than five years.

POLICY 1471 - Education in West Virginias Correctional Institutions: Mission and Goals (URL)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 2800 - Regulations for the Education of Juveniles Placed in Secure Predispositional Juvenile Centers (URL)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 2520.1 - Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for English Language Arts in West Virginia Schools (URL)
Pending Board Action

POLICY 2520.2 - Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Mathematics in West Virginia Schools (URL)
Pending Board Action

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

POLICY 2423 - Communicable Disease Control (URL)
Pending Board Action

POLICY WVSSAC Series 2 - West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Series 2: Athletics, Provisions Governing Eligibility (URL)
Until 4:00 PM June 11
Comment Online!

POLICY WVSSAC Series 4 - West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Series 4: Provisions Governing Contests (URL)
Until 4:00 PM June 11
Comment Online!

POLICY 1224.1 - Accounting Procedures Manual for the Public Schools in the State of West Virginia (URL)
Until 4:00 PM June 11
Comment Online!

POLICY 2525 - West Virginias Universal Access to a Quality Early Education System (URL)
Until 4:00 PM June 11
Comment Online!

POLICY 2510 - Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education Programs (URL)
Until 4:00 PM June 11
Comment Online!

POLICY 8200 - Purchasing Procedures for Local Educational Agencies (URL)
Until 4:00 PM June 11
Comment Online!

Waiver Request Form (County) (DOC)
Waiver Request Form (School) (DOC)
Continuation of Waiver Request Form (DOC)
Waiver Request for Instructional Materials (DOC)
Waiver Procedures (DOC)

NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated please contact the WVDE Office of Communications for more information at 304.58.2699.