Audit Response
Main Content

Making West Virginia the Leader in Remote Technology and Distance Learning

Continue to work with private sector carriers to ensure high-speed broadband Internet access for public school teachers and students.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
The WVDE continues to work with the private sectors, including Suddenlink and Comcast, to provide options for home services.

Continuing to work to improve access to bandwidth, technology and school-based staff with the target of providing one-to-one technology for all students.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation and is currently collaborating with service providers to ensure all teachers and students have affordable high-speed broadband Internet service.

The goal must be to provide broadband service to every student, teacher, administrator, service personnel, etc, in the school, in the community, as well as in the home. If we are going to pursue a 24/7 learning ecosystem, then ubiquitous broadband access is mandatory.

Ensure that all public school students and teachers have accessible computers or similar mobile devices.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
The WVBOE requested $23 million in funding during the last legislative session to provide 1:1 technology to ensure implementation of current initiatives, such as SMARTER Balanced Assessment, online access content, personalized learning, online resources replacing textbook adoptions, etc. by providing a device.

Additional meetings have been held with legislative staff and leadership as well as personnel in the Governor's Office to continue the discussion of funding for necessary technology.
The WVBOE is currently working with the federal government to find funding for personalized learning as well as funding for infrastructure.

In an October 12 message to county superintendents, the following message was conveyed:
"As a result of discussions with members of the State Superintendent's Advisory Council and legislative staff, the decision has been made to begin distributing the Step 7b funds provided as an allowance for 21st Century Technology Systems under the Public School Support Program to the county boards for expenditure using local purchasing procedures rather than allocating the funds to the various county boards as a part of the Tools for Schools appropriated funding."
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation. One option is to call upon the Office of Instructional Technology to develop a plan and strategy for Bring Your Own Device protocol that will reduce the need for schools to supply 1:1 devices.

The Board recognizes that this does not come without possible controversy related to inequity in student access, but at least it is worthy of serious investigation.

The Board calls for the development of a 1:1 pilot program in select districts, one per RESA, to demonstrate proof of concept to the Legislature and governor.

It is important to note the bigger issue is that every member of the education ecosystem must have the appropriate technology for the 21st century. Technology changes very fast today. It is essential that everyone have some Internet access device. The cost to supply the appropriate device is coming down every day, as hardware becomes a commodity. Virtualization concepts, which architecturally will reduce the cost of computer endpoints, should be examined as a solution. The Board also recommends the Office of Grant Procurement to seek outside funding to support 1:1 technology.

Use lease-purchase agreements to acquire computers and peripherals so that additional computers and peripheral equipment can be obtained more quickly.

Estimated cost savings
If computers were lease-purchased for three years, the cost (with interest) would be the same for the three years, while the value of computers would decrease. Also the state contract requires that any computer cost decrease be applied to the orders to realize savings by the reduced cost.

Since funds cannot be obligated for future years, if a lease-purchase was implemented for three years, and the second year, funds were decreased or not appropriated, computers would have to be removed from schools.
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE does not necessarily support this recommendation as it has been determined that lease-purchasing finance is usually most advantageous when the costs of the items being financed are expected to increase, such as brick and mortar construction.

Conversely, the cost of computer hardware is declining with all of the technological advances. We do not think that lease-purchase should be completely ruled out at this time carte blanche, as there may be instances when this might be a viable solution and will free up purchasing dollars for other investments. A careful review of operation, upkeep, maintenance, breakage, etc. must be conducted.

Replace textbooks with digital content, including interactive and adaptive media.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
Policy and Code have been changed to modify textbook language to instructional resources.

During the November 2012 WVBOE meeting, the Board approved the official state multiple list of instructional materials for social studies K-12 and math K-8. All resources on the multiple lists include the option for counties to purchase digital content in lieu of traditional text.

WVDE is planning for an online personalized learning environment.

Juried resources continue to be added to the Learn21 website for instructional use at school and home.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation to replace textbooks with digital content and calls upon the WVDE to ensure that by 2014-2015 school year that instructional materials reviewed by the state include digital options.

This will allow flexibility and a migration path to be available within the adoption/approval cycle.

Require districts to spend 50 percent of textbook budgets on online and 100 percent within a decade.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
N/A
Actions already underway
This is already permissible using Step 7 of the funding formula.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE does not support the recommendation for such a requirement. West Virginia should ensure that online instructional materials are available, but the local districts should have the flexibility to migrate from textbooks to digital materials according to their conditions.

The Board recommends encouraging and incentivizing teachers to develop open source online content to avoid licensing fees and enable personalization.

Use statewide purchasing to lower costs of digital content.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
Statewide purchasing is currently in place and being utilized to obtain digital content.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation.

Appropriate significantly more funding to technology-assisted courses.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE calls upon Governor Tomblin and the Legislature to appropriate additional funding for technology-assisted courses. The Board recommends that we look into requiring every middle and high school student to take at least one online course.

Enact legislation and sufficiently fund the West Virginia Virtual School so that counties can use only state-approved online learning programs.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
§18-2E-9 and §18-2E-10.
Actions already underway
The Office of Instructional Technology reviews all online course providers for alignment to standards, copyrights, as well as bids.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation and calls upon the Legislature to require counties to use only state-approved online learning programs.

Require schools to report to the WVDE all reasonable but unavailable student course requests.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation to require schools to report all reasonable but unavailable student course requests. The goal here is to accommodate unmet demand with online courses wherever possible.

Create a dedicated funding stream for WVVS.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation to fund the West Virginia Virtual School as its own district, such as the 56th district. A revision of the school aid formula would allow the designation of a certain amount of funding per student enrolled in virtual courses.

Develop and lease WVDE virtual courses to other states.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
Developed Spanish I online with the Florida Virtual School at a cost of $250,000.

Currently working with WVU to develop math courses appropriate for online courses for students and professional development for teachers.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation that the West Virginia Virtual School should develop its own courses and lease to others. The Board recommends exploring funding sources for virtual course development, such as Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Board also recommends considering supporting high school career technical students to develop apps and other vehicles for teacher content.

Ensure high-quality digital content and online courses to all students.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
N/A
Actions already underway
Currently provide online AP courses through the West Virginia Virtual School to assist in meeting the requirement that high schools provide a minimum of four AP courses for all students. Enrollment in AP virtual courses continues to grow to more than 270 students in 2012.

CTE is in the process of transitioning certain concentrations to virtual courses, including concentrations in simulation and game development, marketing management, graphic design, food nutrition and science.

Online credit recovery and credit support courses are available for students.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation to ensure high-quality digital content and online courses to all students via the online resources adoption process, West Virginia Virtual School course approvals, and alignment of content to standards via Teach21 and Learn21.

Let students take as many online classes as they want.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation that all students are able to take as many online courses as desired and is appropriate for the individual student to be successful.