July 2, 2019 - Volume 39 Issue 11


Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) held the inaugural session of its School Leadership Network for experienced principals, June 17 – 19 in Morgantown. Nearly 100 experienced school administrators, with three or more years’ experience, representing 41 counties throughout the state attended the first of three sessions to help build a statewide network of support for all school administrators.

Each year West Virginia faces critical shortages in its educational system as experienced principals retire or matriculate through the professional ranks. As a result, counties often have vacancies at the school-level that are difficult to fill. The School Leadership Network was designed to build capacity at the local level in order to provide skilled, effective school leaders that are prepared to meet the demands of the profession while effectively advancing student learning and achievement.

During the three-day session, experienced administrators worked in teams with peers, national researchers and national and local practitioners to discuss research-proven strategies that lead to enhanced instructional leadership and greater student achievement. The goal is to provide a network of resources, knowledge and support for each principal that will sustain professional learning, growth and development. Former West Virginia University head football coach Don Nehlen served as the keynote speaker for the event. Coach Nehlen provided a message promoting strong leadership and adopting a ‘believe in yourself’ mentality while providing coaching tips to support teacher and student growth.

“The School Leadership Network will help us retain the best and brightest professionals in our state,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “County superintendents struggle to fill principal positions, and our efforts will assist in building capacity and a developing a pipeline of highly skilled instructional leaders. These educators are so important to our success and progress as a state, and we must build a support structure that allows them to network with one another and inspire them to be great leaders.”

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDE) National Board Certification (NBC) Awareness and Support program brought teachers to the Bridgeport Conference Center in Bridgeport, June 18 – 20, 2019, for an in-depth look at the process for those considering pursuing their certification. Sustained support of the NBC program in the state has resulted in gains above the national average.

National Board Certification is the most respected certification available in K-12 education. West Virginia educators pursue NBC on a voluntary basis, and renewal is voluntary as well. The Certification was created by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and represents a deep understanding of content, student learning and continuous reflection and renewal. According to NBPTS data, teachers with this credential have a greater impact on student learning especially among low-income and minority students.

West Virginia’s national ranking for the percentage of National Board Certified teachers (NBCTs) increased from 17th to 15th since last school year, and it remains 24th in the country for the actual number of NBCTs (996). WVDE supports 276 educators who are actively pursuing NBC, and there are an additional 150 educators who will participate in summer sessions as they consider pursuing the certification.

“The success of our NBC professional learning rests on the sustained commitment we have for this program,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “Those who voluntarily undertake the certification process exemplify the type of life-long learning and dedication that makes an NBC teacher highly effective. It is also the type of teacher that has a tremendous impact on student learning. We want to continue to develop the resources and support available to our National Board Certified teachers to encourage even more educators to pursue their certification.”

WVDE will also host NBC sessions in South Charleston, West Virginia, at the Holiday Inn, West, July 9 – 11, 2019.

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia KidStrong Conference brings approximately 1,000 participants to Charleston, West Virginia, for a professional learning opportunity Thursday and Friday, June 13 – 14, 2019. Currently in its 16th year, the conference addresses the growing and pressing needs that affect children through a network of partnerships.

KidStrong was originally established as an annual event to serve the training needs of school nurses and other school health staff. It has since grown to include school-based health center personnel, counselors, social workers, psychologists, educators and administrators, and specialists in family and community engagement. The goal of the two-day event is assists those who work in social, educational and healthcare fields to better address the needs of students and children. This year, the conference offers almost 100 session through 11 pathways ranging from immunization to trauma and physical activity in the classroom to substance use prevention.

The West Virginia Department of Education works with a host of partners to support the conference including the West Virginia Immunization Network; the Kanawha Charleston Health Department; the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) Bureau of Public Health; the WVDHHR’s Oral Health Program; ReClaimWV; Project Aware; the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University; the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network; and the West Virginia Primary Care Association.

“KidStrong has become the premier professional learning conference in our state to address the needs of the whole child, and many needs of the family,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “The growth of this program over the past 16 years reflects the complexities of our region and the conference partners are working to build capacity in the state to address the growing needs.”

Much of the discussion will focus on the fallout from the opioid crisis and the trauma it imposes on individuals, families and communities. The goal is for participants to be better equipped to help students and families to advance their wellness and resilience in order to become lifelong learners, more productive citizens and successful, healthy individuals.

KidStrong will be held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) has given Dr. Steven Paine an exemplary evaluation for his job performance during its annual review of the State Superintendent of Schools. Currently in his second year since returning to the position in March 2017, Paine has given direct focus to increasing math achievement, leadership capacity within the school system and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and to the social/emotional support for West Virginia students. He first served as the state superintendent of schools from 2005 to 2011.

During the past year under Paine’s leadership, the WVDE has implemented an aggressive and comprehensive math initiative called math4life. This five-year program provides support to counties to increase teacher preparation and student achievement in math. He has provided more effective pathways to various math certifications and advocated for increased compensation for math teachers.

Under Paine’s leadership WVDE has also developed better avenues to build leadership capacity within the school system as well as within the Department. This is reflected in professional learning efforts to increase the pipeline of future county superintendents, school principals and teacher leaders. Within WVDE the Elevated Leadership Development Program assists participants to gain greater awareness of leadership strengths, weaknesses, and supervisory and management skills.

A third critical component that Paine has addressed is student and school safety. WVDE has launched ReClaimWV to leverage its resources and those of partners to assist West Virginia students affected by the opioid epidemic. This is done through increased professional learning for teachers and educators, collaboration with programs such as Communities in Schools and by supporting ongoing research-based approaches to those on the frontlines of this crisis.

“Dr. Paine is uniquely suited to fulfill the requirements of State Superintendent of Schools,” said WVBE member Debra Sullivan, who led the evaluation process. “He leads with purpose, vision, conviction and determination. Dr. Paine is methodical, politically-astute and pragmatic while at the same time optimistic about the potential of our schools to change students’ lives and the trajectory of our state.”

Paine has established goals for the upcoming school year including continued implementation of an aggressive five-year plan to improve mathematics achievement, strengthening collaborative work with institutions of higher education to ensure teacher preparation programs produce candidates fully prepared to become effective teachers, strengthening policy and developing strong procedures to monitor the merger of innovation with accountability to advance the state’s education system to create new systems of support allowing systems to act on what they value and fostering leadership capacity within the WVDE and in the ranks of principals and superintendents to strengthen the system.

The WVBE’s next regular meeting will is scheduled for July 10, 2019, in Charleston.

Editor’s Note: Provided by West Virginia Department of Education. For more information, contact Kristin Anderson, Executive Director of Communications / (304) 558-2699 / kristin.anderson@k12.wv.us