February 23, 2017 - Volume 37 Issue 4


The West Virginia Board of Education is accepting applications for a new state superintendent of schools. The deadline for receipt of applications is 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 10, 2017. A full job description can be found by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/wvde-vacancies/index.html?vac_id=1732.

Board President Thomas Campbell appointed the following board members to be the superintendent search subcommittee: Miller Hall, Chuck Hatfield, David Perry and Scott Rotruck.

West Virginia’s current superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano, announced his resignation effective June 30, 2017, so he can move closer to his family in Maryland.

Applications can be mailed to: Thomas W. Campbell, President, West Virginia Board of Education, Capitol Building 6, Room 617, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia 25305. Applications may also be emailed to West Virginia Board of Education Secretary, Virginia Harris: vharris@k12.wv.us.

For more information, contact Mary Catherine Tuckwiller at the West Virginia Board of Education at (304) 558-3660 or mctuckwiller@k12.wv.us.


The West Virginia Board of Education took several actions regarding statewide testing at its meeting last week. The board voted to eliminate English language arts and mathematics statewide assessments in grades nine and 10. Beginning during the spring 2017 testing window, high school students will be tested only in grade 11. The change puts West Virginia in line with federal requirements to test at least once at the high school level.

The board also voted to move away from the Smarter Balanced assessment beginning with the 2017-18 school year and directed the Department of Education to explore options to adopt another statewide assessment.

In response to comments received during a 30-day public comment period on assessment policy 2340, the board voted to remove policy language that would have used end-of-course exams in selected high school courses. The public overwhelmingly did not support the use of end-of-course exams based on comments received.

The state board also approved a change in grade levels for the statewide science assessment from grade four to five in elementary school and grade six to eight in middle school. West Virginia students will now be tested at the end of each programmatic level in science, resulting in a more accurate depiction of how well students master science skills.

“As a board, we are committed to finding the best assessment solution for the students in West Virginia,” Tom Campbell, president of the state board, said. “With that goal in mind, our board will listen to the public and our state’s educators who always have students’ best interest at heart.”


The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) has announced that for the third year in a row, West Virginia is ranked first in the nation in school breakfast participation. The School Breakfast Scorecard ranks states on participation of low-income children in the national School Breakfast Program.

“Children perform at their best when they receive proper nutrition,” state Supt. Michael Martirano said. “We must continue to ensure our children are well fed and ready to learn. Part of our success is that our school breakfast and lunch programs are not viewed as an interruption to the school day, but rather, an integral part of the education process.”

Nationally, on an average school day, 56 low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program for every 100 participating in the National School Lunch Program, up from 54.3 the previous school year and 50.4 percent in the 2011–12 school year. The report finds that 83.9 low-income children in West Virginia ate school breakfast for every 100 that received free or reduced-price school lunch during the 2015-2016 school year. That exceeded FRAC’s goal of reaching 70 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 who ate school lunch.

“The West Virginia Department of Education has partnered with legislators, community members and schools to ensure that every child receives the nutrition they need to succeed in school,” Amanda Harrison, the West Virginia Department of Education’s executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition, said. “Better nutrition for West Virginia’s children doesn’t just impact their school performance; it impacts their overall health and wellbeing. We will continue to work closely with schools to remain leaders in breakfast participation, and help our state’s children thrive.”

During the past several years, the Office of Child Nutrition has focused on increasing school breakfast participation. West Virginia schools provide students with a minimum of two nutritious meals per day and, where feasible, at no cost to the student. As a result of the efforts of Office of Child Nutrition, the federal revenue for the School Breakfast Program in West Virginia has increased by over $6.4 million. Schools have implemented innovative breakfast delivery strategies such as Grab-N-Go Breakfast, Breakfast in the Classroom and Breakfast After First Period. Many schools have doubled their breakfast participation rates, dramatically increasing federal reimbursements and improving food service operations.

About the School Breakfast Scorecard

The School Breakfast Scorecard measures the reach of the School Breakfast Program in the 2015–2016 school year — nationally and in each state — based on a variety of metrics, and examines the effects of select trends and policies on program participation. On an average school day, 12.1 million low-income children participated in the School Breakfast Program in school year 2015–2016. Participation among low-income children increased by just over 433,000 students, or 3.7 percent, over the previous school year.

The full report can be found by visiting: http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/school-breakfast-scorecard-sy-2015-2016.pdf 


Seventy West Virginia high schools have been recognized for achieving exemplary graduation rates of 90 percent or greater during the 2015-2016 school year. Schools were honored by Gov. Jim Justice’s chief of staff, Nick Casey, state Supt. Michael Martirano and the West Virginia Board of Education.

“Our state becomes stronger with each student that graduates high school,” Martirano said. “The high schools here today deserve the praise they are receiving for achieving a 90 percent or higher graduation rate. Our schools see the potential that a high school graduate holds for our state and they, along with the Department of Education and board of education, have made it a top priority to ensure our students show up, work hard, and earn a diploma.”

Recent data show more students in West Virginia are graduating from high school when compared to previous years. Several statewide initiatives contributed to the steady increase in the graduation rate. Most notable is the creation of the state’s Early Warning System, which tracks 45 different indicators – the most important being attendance, behavior and grades – to identify students at risk of dropping out.

West Virginia’s graduation rate has continued to rise throughout the last several years. Data from the U.S Department of Education placed West Virginia among the top 20 states for graduation rates in 2014-2015 with a rate of 86.5 percent. The average graduation rate in West Virginia for the 2015-2016 school year increased even more to 89.81 percent.

Of the 70 schools recognized, four schools achieved a graduation rate of 100 percent. Those schools include: Union Educational Complex, Harman High School, Pickens High School and Paden City High School.

The 70 schools recognized represent 60.3 percent of the 116 high schools in West Virginia.