CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Jim Justice announced in his State of the State address Wednesday evening that the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Department of Education on its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan.

“I am pleased the U.S. Department of Education has approved West Virginia’s ESSA plan,” said West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice. “This plan eliminates the A-F school rating system and provides a balanced approach to school accountability. It allows our schools the flexibility to determine the supports needed for their schools and ensure our students are prepared to meet the growing economic and workforce needs for our great state.”

West Virginia is one of the first of the second-round submission states to get their ESSA Plan approved. West Virginia can now begin implementing the changes within its revised plan and fully operationalize the program flexibilities that were provided with the ESSA reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“The intent of our ESSA plan is to be a catalyst for economic growth and development in West Virginia,” said Dr. Steven Paine, West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools. “Our comprehensive system will individualize support and capitalize on a network of education partnerships to ensure that every student is provided the opportunity to be successful after graduating high school in their chosen career and/or post-secondary endeavors.”

The WVDE was charged with developing a state plan to articulate how West Virginia will strengthen and support student achievement. The major components of the ESSA state plan address school accountability and support for improvement, academic standards and assessment, support for excellent educators, and supports for all students. West Virginia’s plan is a comprehensive, individualized system of support that will utilize education partnerships to promote student growth.

The approval process required the WVDE to respond to U.S. Department of Education concerns expressed during the review process. West Virginia addressed each area of concern, provided additional clarification as requested, and negotiated revisions to obtain approval and ensure stability of the education system moving forward. The WVDE will begin working with county school district leaders to review the changes made through the negotiation process and move forward with plan implementation.

“Together, with Governor Justice’s leadership, support from the West Virginia Legislature, and input from stakeholders across the state, we were able to create a plan that will provide flexibility and individualized support for our schools,” said Superintendent Paine. “We truly appreciate all of those individuals that engaged in the development of our state plan. The input WVDE received from superintendents, principals, teachers, students, parents, education groups, and community members allowed us to develop a comprehensive system of support that will strengthen student achievement.”

West Virginia’s approved ESSA state plan can be accessed here:

For additional information, contact Jessica Hall at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or

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