February 14, 2019 - Volume 39 Issue 6


Martinsburg, W.Va.– First Lady Cathy Justice visited Berkeley County today, to kick-off the expansion of the Communities in Schools (CIS) program. Berkeley County Superintendent Manny Arvon and Curator for the Department of Arts, Culture and History Randall Reid Smith joined First Lady Justice to celebrate the expansion of the program that aims to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning.

The visit was made February 9.

The national CIS model recognizes that traditional education reform strategies fail to address what kids are dealing with every day: poverty, lack of adult role models and the absence of such basic needs as food, shelter and health care. CIS is designed to reduce dropout rates by connecting at-risk students to community resources such as food and clothing, counseling, family engagement, life skills and physical health needs – all with the goal of keeping them in school.

Under First Lady Justice’s leadership, beginning this school year, CIS has expanded into three counties throughout the state including Berkeley, McDowell and Wyoming.

“I am thrilled to promote this program to help our students graduate high school and provide any resource necessary to make that happen,” Justice said. “Our goal is to have a 100% graduation rate of students in this program and together, I believe we can make sure our students have the tools they need to succeed.”

State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine emphasized the importance of going beyond high school to students in attendance.

“Through this program, we want to make sure students have the opportunity to achieve their goals,” Paine said. “I hope each student thinks beyond high school graduation, whether that be obtaining a two-year degree, an industrial credential or a four-year degree,” he said.

One hundred and forty-four students from four schools in Berkeley County are participating including Martinsburg North Middle School, Martinsburg South Middle School, Eagle Intermediate School and Orchard View Intermediate School. All students participating in the CIS program in Berkeley County along with their parents were invited to today’s event, which included a pep rally and luncheon.

“Thanks to the leadership of West Virginia’s Governor and First Lady, Communities In Schools is poised to serve more students than ever before throughout the state,” Communities in Schools CEO Dale Erquiaga said. “No matter what challenges they face, students can count on Communities In Schools to find resources that help unlock their potential, stay in school, and ultimately succeed in life.”


February 1, 2019

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is seeking partnerships with organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer months. When school is out of session during the summer months, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas.

County boards of education, local government agencies and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which ensures children (ages 18 and under) in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access to the programs that are available to them during the school year, like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program. Feeding sites often include schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes and summer camps.

“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine. “Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn.”

An average of 208,000 children in West Virginia or about 76 percent of school children, depend on free and reduced-price meals at school, yet only about 21,000 receive the free meals provided by the SFSP.

“In 2018, 554 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2019,” said Amanda Harrison, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition. “We encourage new organizations in communities all across the Mountain State to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Organizations interested in becoming a 2019 summer sponsor should contact Cybele Boehm or Samantha Reeves with the Office of Child Nutrition by calling (304) 558-3396. Summer sites will be announced in June 2019.

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

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