April 14, 2021

CHARLESTON, WVA – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) provided an update on Special Circumstance Reviews of Summers and Lincoln counties during the April meeting of the State Board of Education (WVBE) today in Charleston.

Special Circumstance Reviews were conducted at the direction of State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch to address issues and official complaints received by the WVDE.  Summers County’s review dates back to June 2020 and the Lincoln County review dates back to March 2020. A team from the WVDE Office of Support and Accountability is conducting the onsite and virtual meetings (when in-person visits were not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions) to compile information, provide insight into areas of non-compliance, and to address deficiencies and the necessary corrective actions.

The team reported overall continued progress in Summers County’s five focus areas that include Financial Indicators and Purchasing Compliance; Grading Policies and Practices; County Board Member Effectiveness – Open Governmental Meetings Act; County Board Member Effectiveness – FERPA; and County Board Member Effectiveness – Policy to Promote Board Effectiveness.

The team reported improved culture and climate in the central office;  improvement in legal services expenditures and purchasing compliance practices, improved county Board of Education administrative practices; staff trainings for virtual learning and grading practices; and other key points of improvement.

The county is addressing the high expulsion rate among the student body with a greater focus on an effective preventative discipline program. Additionally, the team recommends the county continue to focus on county board member roles and responsibilities.

Lincoln County is experiencing continued progress in focus areas pertaining to special education and personnel. Special education focus areas include Child Find; Evaluation, Re-evaluation and Eligibility; Individualized Education Programs; and Administration Services. Personnel focus areas include Licensure and Certification; Evaluation; Staff Development and Professional Learning; Employee Code of Conduct; and Hiring.

Areas of continued improvement include records and schedules of professional and service personnel; evaluation practices of professional personnel; and professional learning opportunities.

“It is evident by the updates that each county is working well with the WVDE team to address the designated focus areas,” said WVBE President Miller Hall. “We know that we are doing all that we can to make the necessary improvements that will lead to a better education system for our children.”

“The WVBE and the WVDE take these reviews very seriously and are pleased the counties see our involvement as a resource to address important areas that lead to more effective and efficient operations,” said Superintendent Clayton Burch. “While this process will take time, we have put in place supports that allow us to focus on deficiencies and challenges in a timely manner. We believe that each county is in a better place today than they were a year ago, and our collective and collaborative efforts are the reason why.”

Finally, Superintendent Burch released the state’s 2019-20 school year graduation rate which is 92.07 percent up from 91.40 percent for the 2018-19 school year. Thirty-two counties have rates higher than the state rate, and the most recent graduation data is posted at https://zoomwv.k12.wv.us/Dashboard/dashboard/2111.

The April Board meeting will resume Thursday, April 15, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. in the WVBE Boardroom, Building 6 of the State Capitol Complex in Charleston.

For more information, contact Christy Day in the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.

For information about COVID-19, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID19.

Follow the WVDE on Facebook and Twitter.