October 18, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 10


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – All West Virginia high schools are now able to submit academic transcripts digitally through a new e-transcript provider, Parchment. Through the “West Virginia eTranscript” initiative, all 122 public high schools have access to a secure and trusted platform to submit academic transcripts and other credentials electronically to higher education institutions and other organizations, including the NCAA and scholarship agencies.

“I was accustomed to processing transcripts manually,” said Karla Mace, registrar at Parkersburg High School in Wood County. [With Parchment] I am now able to process 25 transcripts in a minute versus the hours it would take me to pull files, copy transcripts and address the envelopes!”

Prior to engaging Parchment, high school transcripts in West Virginia were printed and processed manually and mailed primarily through the USPS, providing minimal insight to students into the request, fulfillment and delivery process. Digitizing credentials is proven to streamline operations for both the sending and receiving institutions, and enables receiving colleges and universities to use the data to optimize course placement, transfer articulation and reverse transfer.

Further emphasizing college readiness, the West Virginia Department of Education has committed to providing all high school students with two free transcripts to send to any institution within the Parchment network. Today, more than 82,000 students are enrolled in high school in West Virginia and can benefit from this initiative.

“Using Parchment not only provides our students with increased access and efficiencies, but also enables schools to directly connect Parchment with the electronic student information system which eliminates so much manual work and allows our counselors to reinvest their time in other student needs,” said Dr. Barbara Brady, School Counseling Coordinator for the Office of Student and School Supports with the West Virginia Department of Education. “Historically, it would take schools hours to process transcripts and days for them to be sent via mail. With Parchment, it’s only a matter of minutes.”

Parchment emphasizes the security and accuracy of their system, noting that 80 percent of all university admissions offices in the U.S. rely on Parchment for the protected delivery of applicant credential.

The admissions office at West Virginia University has been working with Parchment since April 2012 and has received more than 83,000 academic credentials and supporting documents via Parchment from students applying to the university. Processing incoming credentials electronically allows admissions offices to provide more timely admissions and scholarship decisions to applicants. Today, more than 90 percent of public higher education institutions in West Virginia are part of Parchment’s network to receive digital credentials.

Nitro High School in Kanawha County was among the first schools in West Virginia to launch with Parchment under this new initiative. “The transition from our previous process (printing and mailing) transcripts is remarkably improved and counselors spend much less time processing transcripts now that we are using Parchment to process electronically,” said Jon Duffy, Director of Counseling & Testing at Kanawha County School District. “Our students participating in the e-transcript pilot have been thrilled with the simple request process which has resulted in an overall improvement to our student satisfaction.”

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


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Feed to Achieve (WVFTA), an initiative of the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Children Nutrition, officially launched today during a special event on the Capitol lawn.

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano served as keynote speaker and addressed the importance of working together to end childhood hunger in West Virginia.

“Hunger among children has a major impact not only on health care costs later in life, but also educational achievement, worker productivity and eventually the ability of the region and nation to compete in a global economy,” Martirano said. “Feed to Achieve will be a tremendous asset to our state. It will also help build the foundation for other states to develop and carry out similar programs for children.”

West Virginia Feed to Achieve is a nonprofit, donation-based program that aims to end childhood hunger in West Virginia by providing grants to programs that are feeding children outside of the school day such as backpack feeding programs, school-based food pantries, community-based food pantries, and church-based feeding programs.

“In West Virginia there are nearly 1 in 4 children that live in a household that does not have sufficient access to food,” said Samantha Snuffer-Reeves, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition Coordinator. “Feed to Achieve’s main goal is to feed children when they’re most at risk: after school hours, holidays, weekends, snow days and during the summer months.”

The inspiration for WVFTA occurred when West Virginia Senator John Unger was visiting an elementary school in Martinsburg. He asked what students would change about their school and one boy said he would like to receive two lunches so there would be enough food left over for his parents and siblings. “That was a huge wakeup call for our department- something had to be done about childhood hunger in our state, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Martirano said.

West Virginia Feed to Achieve is solely dependent on donations from individuals, businesses and corporations. All donations received directly fund grants that are distributed to eligible social service organizations statewide twice a year.

Grant applications will be received in September in preparation for winter and in April 2017 in preparation for next summer. Funds will then be awarded in November 2016 and June 2017. The West Virginia Feed to Achieve Selection Committee will review grant applications and award funding. Funding amounts will be dependent on the amount of money in the state West Virginia Feed to Achieve fund.

Since West Virginia Feed to Achieve programs are strictly donation based, interested corporate or individual donors are encouraged to visit and make donations on the West Virginia Feed to Achieve website at www.wvfeedtoachieve.com.

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

West Virginia Feed to Achieve is a progressive state-wide program that strives to provide nutritious meals for West Virginia children outside of the school day when kids are most risk: weekends, holidays, snow days, and summer vacation. West Virginia Feed to Achieve relies 100% on donations to support grants that serve as a funding source for social service organizations providing meals to children during these times.


Rutgers University, NJ – First-year findings in a long-term National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and Marshall University study of young students and early education classrooms in West Virginia reveal performance advantages among children attending Pre-K and provide useful information on classroom quality.

Results include:

  • Children who attended Pre-K outperformed those who had no Pre-K experience in every measure
  • Benefits of Pre-K were most profound in print knowledge
  • Classroom quality averages all exceed minimal quality, and several demonstrate higher quality
  • On average, classrooms demonstrated high quality in fostering a nurturing and safe environment

The initial West Virginia Universal Pre-K Evaluation showed, on average, children with Pre-K experience outperformed those without Pre-K in every measure. Benefits were “large and statistically significant,” with the widest margin in print knowledge.

“We recognize that our state’s future depends on early investment in our youngest citizens,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano. “We must ensure that every child has access to high-quality preschool to build the foundation for success.”

In addition, the study scored both Pre-K and kindergarten classrooms above average for emotional support, such as fostering and nurturing and safe environment, and organization.

These findings are detailed in a new report, the first in a series spotlighting Pre-K education in West Virginia. NIEER is proud to partner with Marshall University on behalf of West Virginia Department of Education on this five-year study of how the state’s Universal Pre-K program affects child outcomes, with a specific focus on reading outcomes.

The study, launched in August 2015, includes 599 children starting Pre-K, and 573 children starting kindergarten who had attended Pre-K, in seven counties, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, Putnam, Roane and Wood. Researchers will follow the progress of these children through completion of third grade. About half the children are girls, more than 90 percent are white and about 73 percent are from low-income households. In upcoming years, additional students and families will be invited to participate.

Researchers evaluated skills including language, print knowledge, math, and executive functions such as memory, self-control, and attention.

High quality preschool education has been shown to close achievement gaps afflicting American children from minority and low-income families—and this study shows similar effects in West Virginia. The goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of children’s development over time, classroom environments and teaching practices across the participating counties, enabling WVDE to develop a data-driven approach to continuous improvement across all classrooms.

Researchers also are evaluating the quality of Pre-K and kindergarten classrooms, focusing on Pre-K and kindergarten rooms in the same seven counties. Evaluation includes both environmental factors and teacher-child interactions, measuring Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language and Literacy, Learning Activities, Interaction, and Program Structure.

Results show a range of classroom quality, demonstrating some classrooms are of good quality and others have room for improvement. Teacher experience also varies, with Pre-K teachers generally having less experience teaching and fewer graduate degrees.

“We applaud West Virginia for its leadership in providing quality early learning opportunities,” said Shannon Ayers, Ph.D., associate research professor at NIEER. “We look forward to continuing our work with the West Virginia Department of Education and educators across the state to help achieve the best outcomes for children.”

The National Institute for Early Education Research (www.nieer.org) at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy and practice through independent, objective research.



CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved Fayette County School’s revised Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan (CEFP) today during its monthly meeting. Executive Director of the School Building Authority (SBA), David Sneed and Fayette County Superintendent, Terry George presented the plan which was outlined with input from Fayette County citizens.

“Throughout this nine-month process, we learned a lot about Fayette County,” Sneed said. “We implemented a data-driven planning process that allowed the data to guide us with the input of representatives from all areas of Fayette County.”

The School Building Authority created the Fayette County Capital Planning Committee which was comprised of three representatives from each Fayette school including the principal, a member of the school’s community and the chairperson or a representative of its Local School Improvement Council. The committee of 54 met throughout the summer to share ideas which helped develop the final plan.

The revised CEFP includes construction of new buildings, consolidation of existing buildings and closures as follows:

  • A new pre-K through second grade school built in Oak Hill
  • The existing Oak Hill High School will be renovated to include Fayetteville High School’s grade nine through twelve students
  • A new Collins Middle School will be constructed for grades six through grade eight
  • The existing New River Elementary will be reconfigured to accommodate grades three through five
  • The existing Fayetteville High School will be reconfigured to become a pre-K through eighth grade school
  • A new Ansted/Divide Elementary will be constructed for grades pre-K through five
  • The existing Midland Trail High School will become a middle/high school
  • A new pre-K through eight school will be built at Meadow Bridge
  • A portion of Meadow Bridge High students will be redistricted to Greenbrier West High School; remaining students will attend Midland Trail High School
  • A portion of Valley High School students will be redistricted to Riverside High School in Kanawha County; remaining Valley High School students will attend Oak Hill High School
  • The existing Valley High School will be reconfigured into a pre-K through eighth grade school

State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano celebrated the vote as a path forward for the county whose facilities have deteriorated for several years.

“I applaud this data-driven process which resulted in a product supported by both the Fayette County community and the School Building Authority,” Martirano said. “We must do right by kids and our young people in Fayette County deserve better. This vote is a step in the right direction for their future.”

The amended CEFP will be submitted to the SBA board for approval at its quarterly meeting on September 26, 2016. The NEEDs Grant will be submitted by October 1, 2016 and the SBA will award funding for projects on December 12, 2016.

Editor’s Note:For additional information regarding these articles and other state Department of Education-related news, contact Kristin Anderson, Executive Director Office of Communications and Partnerships, at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us