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RESA 4 Receives Favorable Performance Audit

March 02, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Programs and services provided by the Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) serving Braxton, Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Webster counties are being implemented according to state Board of Education policies and goals, an on-site performance review by the Office of Education Performance Audits (OEPA) has found.
 
“RESA 4 appears to be accomplishing its mission and operating within the parameters of laws and policies governing RESA operation,” the OEPA report concluded. “The programs and services that are being provided appear to be delivered in an economical and effective manner. One county superintendent interviewed stated that the county would have a hard time delivering services to children without the RESA’s services.”
 
Programs initiated or coordinated by RESA 4 were found to be highly successful and professionally executed. However, the auditing team identified areas of challenge in capacity building, and made recommendations for increasing service in special education programs, implementing cost-saving measures through cooperative food purchasing and technology-based maintenance.
 
The overall mission of West Virginia’s eight RESAs is to provide high quality, cost-effective, life-long education programs and services to students, county schools and communities. The OEPA report confirmed that RESA 4, based in Summersville, supports legislative and West Virginia Board of Education mandates and initiatives.
 
“We are gratified to have a professional organization confirm the effectiveness of our programs and services,” said RESA 4 Executive Director Gus Penix. “This is very encouraging and it gives us all the more determination to meet the educational requirements of the schools, the children, teachers and administrators in our region.” 
 
RESA 4, in cooperation with county superintendents and school principals, has facilitated a multi-year plan to provide support for technical assistance and capacity building in three low-performing schools. The agency has developed and implemented numerous staff development programs that improve teaching in schools and school systems. The OEPA report shows that RESA 4 has developed partnerships with schools in the region with a goal of providing sustained technical assistance to increase overall school effectiveness. 
 
Specifically, the agency facilitated training and support for mathematics teachers, numeracy coaches, after-school tutors, and administrators; it has also enhanced teacher effectiveness through high quality, targeted, professional development sessions in teaching and learning practices.
 
RESA 4 promotes coordination and cooperation among the county boards of education in its region in efforts to encourage cost-efficient cooperative purchasing, sharing the expertise of specialized personnel, communications and technology curriculum development, and operation of specialized programs for exceptional students.  
 
The OEPA report noted that the agency encourages cooperative and coordinated services, such as substitute calling, substitute teacher training, and computer repair, and provides timely support for the West Virginia Education Information System (WVEIS).
 
Implementation standards for cooperative services include Safe and Drug-Free Schools programs; tobacco prevention and cessation; substitute teacher training; child and adult care food programs; 21st century learning; and special education and support activities. The counties are free to select the services which will best serve their identified needs.
 
The OEPA found that RESA 4 adequately supports and administers grants under the provisions of federal and state law. The agency is currently administering a $250,000 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education to support a 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC). Two additional CCLC grants, in the amounts of $274,400 and $212,150, are funding after-school programs in four counties.
 
To strengthen the content and pedagogical knowledge of the area’s high school math teachers, the West Virginia Mathematics and Science Partnership Program awarded RESA 4 a Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grant of $189,000 per year for three years.
 
The agency’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools Consortium grant for the 2008-09 school year provided Title IV funding for safe schools. The program focuses on research-based information to advance alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention and intervention. All RESA 4 counties participated in the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Consortium. The program coordinator trained 74 middle and high school students in peer mediation and 56 students as natural helpers. The coordinator also spoke with 1,657 students on bullying, 208 on substance abuse and 612 on inhalant abuse.
 
The auditing team included OEPA Deputy Director Donna Davis, who served as team chairwoman; OEPA Coordinator Allen D. Brock; and Wheeling-based RESA 6 Executive Director Nick P. Zervos. The complete report is posted at http://oepa.state.wv.us/PDFs/reports/2009-2010/RESA%204%20Report%20Feb2010.pdf.
 
For additional information, contact Penix at 304-872-6440, or the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.

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