January 12, 2022

  The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) received the Educator Preparation Taskforce (EPT) report during its January meeting in Charleston today. The report was commissioned by State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch and West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education Sarah Armstrong Tucker and is the product of the Educator Preparation Taskforce, which was formed in 2020 to address issues surrounding the teacher shortage in West Virginia.

According to recent reports, West Virginia has a shortage of approximately 1,000 certified teachers. The EPT represents educators, administrators and stakeholders from across the state and has convened over the course of several months to focus on the spectrum of issues contributing to the state’s teacher shortage.

The EPT identified five challenges to recruiting and preparing a sufficient amount of teachers to adequately fill the classroom needs. While this does not mean classrooms are operating without teachers, there are a significant number of classrooms led by long-term substitutes or educators without certification in the specific content areas.

The challenges include:

  • Lack of robust multi-channel marketing campaign;
  • Costs associated with teacher preparation and licensure;
  • Barriers created by licensure testing and content-hour requirements;
  • Beginning teachers lack access to consistently high-quality induction and mentoring programs; and
  • Lack of a comprehensive, single platform to deliver data on teacher preparation, recruitment and retention.

The report outlines a long list of priority tasks to address each challenge area and is available on the WVDE website along with other supporting documents.

“The work of this taskforce is essential to our efforts in addressing teacher shortages and creating effective measures to keep educators in the profession,” said WVBE President Miller Hall. “What we heard today is no surprise, and it gives us a framework to tackle these issues with Dr. Tucker and our collaborative partners.”

“Teacher preparation, recruitment and retention are essential to our state’s economic stability and success. We have begun a process that requires the attention and energy of all stakeholders,” said Superintendent Burch. “The Taskforce has given us a data-informed framework to guide our efforts, and we know we can achieve the goals outlined in the report through our collective and committed focus.”

In other WVBE news, members approved the Special Circumstance Review of Berkeley County’s high school special education services. Conducted at the request of County Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, the WVDE Office of Support and Accountability began the comprehensive review process of the county’s special education program in May 2020. Today’s review included findings, recommendations and areas of non-compliance at the county’s high schools ranging from the need for more rigorous standards-based instruction to increasing training options for staff.

The Berkley County Special Circumstance Review and findings from today’s update are listed on the WVDE website.

Finally, the WVBE placed one policy on comment. Policy 5300 is being revised to meet WVBE formatting requirements and to clearly align with W.Va. Code §18A-2-8 and §18A-2-12. This policy will be placed on public comment for 30 days and may be reviewed at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

All presentation documents from the meeting are posted on the WVDE website.

The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is Wednesday, February 9, 2022, in Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.

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