State Board

April 12, 2013 - Volume 33 Issue 19

State Board / State Department of Education News

The West Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with other state agencies is commemorating the state’s 150th anniversary with a student summer camp that celebrates social studies and the arts.

This West Virginia Ambassadors Camp will be a week-long event conducted at the University of Charleston June 17 through June 21. Campers will stay on the UC campus during the week while they learn about West Virginia history as well as participate in classes taught by West Virginia artisans.

“As both an educator and parent, I believe that we cannot afford to overlook the significant and dramatic effect social studies and the arts have on student achievement,” said state Superintendent Jim Phares. “Research shows that the study of the arts can have a positive effect on student performance, while the study of social studies leads to a well-informed and civic-minded citizenry. This camp will allow our students to experience both.”

County superintendents have been invited to work with the middle schools in their area to select two ambassadors as well as two alternates per county to participate in the program. The students are to be eighth graders during the 2012-2013 school year. Students selected to participate are expected to return to their home counties and serve as ambassadors. Activities throughout the year following the camp are to include presentations at school-wide assemblies, scheduled classroom events at local elementary schools and the creation of an exhibit at county commission buildings.

During the camp, students will spend a day at the West Virginia Capitol Complex, where they will participate in a mock Legislature, tour the state museum, capitol, state archives and state library. In addition, the arts experience will include hands-on art projects as well as a workshop with the West Virginia Dance Company and dress rehearsal with the Charleston Light Opera Guild.

The ambassador program is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, the Sesquicentennial Commission, the City of Charleston, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, the West Virginia Power baseball team, the University of Charleston, and various other state agencies and non-profit organizations.

For more information, contact Joey Wiseman or Jack Deskins in the Office of Instruction at 304-558-5325, or the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.


Two public schools and one county school district have been nominated by the West Virginia Department of Education for consideration as U.S. Green Ribbon School Award honoring sound environmental practices.

Hometown Elementary School in Putnam County, Petersburg Elementary School in Grant County and Marshall County Schools were nominated for the national award. All three schools also were named West Virginia Sustainable Schools, while Hometown received West Virginia’s Black Bear Award as the state’s highest achiever.

“Many West Virginia schools have worked hard to support healthy school environments and accelerate learning,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “This program allows us to recognize schools that have incorporated sustainability practices into all aspects of school life.”

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 in three criteria: environmental and sustainability education; healthy school environments; and environmental impact and energy efficiency of facilities. Educational efforts should incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), civic skills and green career pathways.

The national recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to improve student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and work force preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security.

Schools named West Virginia Sustainable Schools must agree to work to save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement. The state program is a joint project of the West Virginia Department of Education; Canaan Valley Institute; the West Virginia School Building Authority; the U.S. Green Building Council, West Virginia Chapter; the West Virginia Environmental Education Association; the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources; the West Virginia Division of Energy; McKinley and Associates; Green School Leadership Institute; and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.