CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ The West Virginia Board of Education has approved revisions to Policy 2510 to add rigor and relevance, toughen the senior year and incorporate 21st century skills into the curriculum.
The policy, which regulates all education programs in the state, aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of subject mater in a real-world setting that prepares them for education beyond high school. It is not about requiring more tests and homework.
“The globalization phenomenon of the 21st century has changed how West Virginia and other states must think about educating their children,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “We know that subjects and skills once thought optional are now essential to enter college or get a job. A high school diploma must evolve if it is to be a ticket to success.”
The policy is designed to provide a seamless transition from preschool to college and the workplace. It outlines a demanding curriculum with an emphasis on rigorous core classes as well as 21st century content, learning skills and technology.
Preschoolers will have daily opportunities for problem solving, critical thinking and active engagement in math, science, health, the arts, social students and social and emotional development.
In elementary grades, the focus is on building strong reading, English/language arts and math skills with a daily uninterrupted 90 minute reading block. Intermediate students shall have an hour of math and 90 minutes of reading and English/language arts daily.
Middle school builds upon the results of early childhood education and transitions students into high school. It requires 80 minutes of reading and English/language arts and expects students planning on a professional pathway to take Algebra I in the 8th grade.
To graduate, high school students must take four credits of English, math and social studies, including one year of civics; three of science; one each of physical education, health and the arts and two electives.
Professional pathway students must take a fourth science credit and two credits of foreign language and an additional elective. Skilled pathway students must take four additional credits in a concentration related to their postsecondary goals. It also recommends one course in technology, an online learning experience and a senior project.
“We must make sure every student leaves high school with skills that allows them to earn a living,” said state Board President Lowell Johnson. “Whether they want to go to college or enter the workplace, the needed skills are the same.”