CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved a significant investment in a Special Community Development Project for schools in one of West Virginia’s most challenged areas during its November meeting in Charleston today. The project will implement additional Communities In Schools (CIS) resources in schools that serve the West Side of Charleston providing an increased service network to address the academic and expanded needs of children.
Based on the proven track record of CIS, students in the targeted area will benefit from four CIS coordinators whose work will focus on Mary C. Snow Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Grandview Elementary, West Side Middle School and Capital High School. First-year funding for the project totals $380,000.
“Educators are working extremely hard to deliver instruction while students are still recovering from the loss of instruction and increased trauma,” said State Superintendent David L. Roach. “These resources will be helpful and effective because they address not only the academic needs of children, but also the social-emotional and developmental recovery that is necessary. By wrapping comprehensive supports around children and providing professionals who build relationships with students and families, we will offer supports that were not previously available while also building upon existing structures.”
“Communities In Schools is already operating in Kanawha County, but we believe that providing another layer of services and support in this vulnerable community will assist with the challenges facing our education and greater community,” said WVBE President L. Paul Hardesty. “CIS has a distinguished record, and we know this investment that allows targeted support at the school-level and increased focus among community partners will make a difference. We look forward to getting to work and helping those who need it most.”
The WVBE also received the Annual County Board of Education Accountability Report and issued each county board of education an “Approval Status.” County status is established based on two accountability criteria. Counties receive a rating of “Meets Requirements” or “Needs Assistance” on 11 efficiency indicators for county operational effectiveness. Additionally, the West Virginia Balanced Scorecard Indicators on the County Balanced Scorecard are applied to the accountability process as outlined in WVBE Policy 2322: WV System of Support and Accountability.
This is the first year the West Virginia Accountability System (WVAS) will include the West Virginia Balanced Scorecard Student Performance and Student Success criteria for County Approval Status. This is due to the extended timeline generated by COVID-19. Student assessments were not given in 2020 and assessment scores were not used for accountability in 2021, instead, they were used to establish new baselines. The Balanced Scorecard, released publicly in August 2022, is a part of the accountability system and was compared to 2021 student assessments and other student measures such as attendance and being on-track to graduate.
For counties with West Virginia Balanced Scorecard Student Performance and Student Success indicators identified as “On-Watch” in the report, it serves as a caution highlighting the importance of placing priority on these areas locally. The county is expected to diagnose, monitor and facilitate improvements in the identified deficiencies. For the current school year, counties have an opportunity to address the designations and demonstrate growth. If growth is not demonstrated the following year, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will become more involved in addressing the deficiencies as outlined in the West Virginia System for Support and Accountability.
Counties identified as “Needing Assistance” for the Efficiency Indicators will receive support from the WVDE to address the deficiencies immediately. Repeated deficiencies in the same efficiency standards could result in a Special Circumstance Review to be conducted by the Office of Support and Accountability at the State Superintendent’s direction.
“Having reliable baseline information is a critical first step in any improvement process,” said WVBE Member Debra Sullivan. “By looking at the facts, and being brave enough to ask the tough questions, it is possible to envision and plan for a better future. How will we know where we want to go and then determine the road that will take us there if we don’t first know where we are?”
“These reports are designed to offer a transparent and thorough look at county operations and student assessments,” said Superintendent Roach. “We are working diligently with our counties to develop a comprehensive plan for long-term growth in all areas. Although the WVDE began the recovery work during the pandemic, the process requires that we continuously monitor, modify and strengthen our efforts.”
To view the WVAS report, visit the WVDE website.
The Board also heard an update on recent recognitions for West Virginia’s computer science (CS) program. According to the 2022 State of Computer Education Report by Code.org and other national organizations, 78% of West Virginia high schools taught CS in 2021-22 compared to the 53% national average. This places the Mountain State in 9thplace overall. Additionally, Code.org recently honored West Virginia for growth of young women participating in CS classes as 34% of those enrolled in a CS class in the state are female. This compares to 32% nationally. To read more about these recognitions, read the release posted on the WVDE website.
In other WVBE news, board members received the 2022 official student enrollment for public schools in West Virginia of 250,049 which is down slightly from the 2021-22 count of 250,899. Enrollment trends for public schools are listed on the WVDE’s website.
The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is 9 a.m., Wednesday, December 14, 2022, in Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.
For more information, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.