March 4, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 8


The West Virginia Department of Education is seeking organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer months.

County boards of education and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program, which encourages communities to provide safe places for children and teenagers ages18 and under. Organizations receive funds to provide meals to complement recreational and educational programs. Feeding sites include schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes and summer camps.

While children have access to school meals throughout the school year, those meals end when school is out for the summer months, which puts many students at risk for poor nutrition.

“Promoting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,” Supt. Michael Martirano said. “Children benefit nutritionally by receiving complete, wholesome meals, while parents benefit by stretching their food dollars.”

The Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure children in lower-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during summer break. An average of 178,000 children in West Virginia, about 63 percent of school children, depend on free and reduced-price meals at school, yet only about 10,000 receive the free meals provided by the Summer Food Service Program.  

“In 2015, 485 Summer Food Service Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia, and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2016,” Rick Goff, executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition, said. “We are hopeful new organizations will opt to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Organizations interested in participating in the 2016 Summer Food Service Program should contact Cybele Boehm with the Office of Child Nutrition at or by calling (304) 558-2709.

Summer sites will be announced in May.

For more information, contact Kristin Anderson at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699 or

West Virginia PTA has scheduled its first Special Needs Conference to be held in conjunction with the 93rd Annual West Virginia PTA Convention on Saturday, April 16, at the Lakeview Golf Resort in Morgantown. 

The Special Needs Conference will host workshops specifically designed for Special Needs families. The workshops will be free to any parent in West Virginia. Pre-registration is required because space is limited to the first 50 people who register. While parents are attending the morning workshop sessions, the association will provide activities for their children so parents may participate fully in the workshops. That offer is limited to the first 25 children who are registered.

Workshops will include:

  • “Self-Advocacy for Parents” presented by Todd Rundle of the Center for Disabilities for Excellence;
  • “Understanding the Special Education Process” presented by Nancy Cline of the West Virginia Department of Education; and
  • “Raise Your Voice for Special Needs Students” presented by Enrique Escallon of the National PTA Board of Directors and Diversity Committee. 

All participants are invited to attend the National PTA Reflections Luncheon, which will recognize state winners in this year’s contest in the areas of visual arts, literature, photography, film production, dance choreography, and music composition. A new special artists’ division was created to allow all students with disabilities an opportunity to participate.

Registration forms can be found on the West Virginia PTA website ( under the “convention” section. Anyone who would like more information about the Special Needs Conference should email Ginnie Molnar at  

The West Virginia Department of Education Office of Special Programs has posted the annual funding application for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B, on its website at for public review and comment. To receive federal IDEA funding from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs, the state is required to publish the proposed plan at least 60 days prior to the date on which the plan is submitted and to accept public comment.

Public comments on the application will be accepted through April 22, 2016. A Comment Response Form is posted. Please submit comment forms by mail to the West Virginia Office of Special Programs at the address indicated on the form, by fax to (304) 558-3741 or by e-mail to For assistance, contact the office at (800) 642-8541.