State Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart welcomed parents, educators and community leaders, encouraging them to continue their support of education in the Mountain State.
Following introductory remarks by State Board Vice President Jim McKnight and Board member Paul Morris, participants were divided into 14 tables to discuss the three questions posed to Forum participants throughout West Virginia.
Leading participants through the agenda, Vice President McKnight served as moderator for the evening. The structured program gave everyone an opportunity to participate in the discussion which will help shape the future of education in the Mountain State.
To register for Forum participation, to learn about participants' responses at each forum, or to participate in an on-line poll, click on the following link: http://wvde.state.wv.us/forums/
Following are the top five responses (as provided by each table) to the three questions at the Cabell Midland Education Forum:
Question #1: What should be the purposes of public education?
Table 1: Teach necessary skills to be successful at work or in advanced education. Provide a stable social environment for all children including those in alternative education and teach them respect for each other. Provide a sense of community– including global community. Teach technological literacy. Provide 180 instructional days of teaching/learning.
Table 2: Educate productive citizens. Recruit the best and brightest and retain personnel. Foster the development of parenting and family values. Prepare to proceed to the next level. Learn responsible technology literacy.
Table 3: Prepare every student to become a productive and responsible member of society regardless of ability level or background. Develop a solid foundation in reading. To guide students in discovery opportunities for fulfilling personal desires and employment. Reach out to those students who do not fall into some kind of special program and to prevent those students from being lost in the system.
Table 4: Teach the basics (reading, writing, math, technology), with an emphasis on math. Provide remediation to all students who are having difficulty to ensure success. Encourage and motivate students to become independent lifelong learners. Make students aware that a healthy lifestyle including good nutrition, physical fitness, disease affect their success in academics as well as extracurricular activities. Provide a safe learning environment for all including the chronically ill and medically fragile.
Table 5: Provide the whole child with a well-rounded education based on basic skills, workplace readiness skills, social skills, life skills and critical thinking skills to enable them to be successful life long learners.
Table 6: Be safe and inviting and be the center of the community. Ensure students meet maximum potential by providing a sound basis upon which to build skills. Educate students to participate in worthwhile livelihood in their community by providing an education that is valid in real world. Prepare students to take advantage of modern technology. Prepare students to be good and caring citizens.
Table 7: Provide basic academic, social-emotional, artistic skills to earn a living, enjoy their life and be a contributing member of society. Allow all students to excel in their area of interest. Give students an opportunity to learn via varied teaching techniques. Provide students with the knowledge to be competitive in a global economy.
Table 8: Provide basic balanced broad based education so that students are prepared to proceed down the path of their choice. Prepare students to join the workforce or to continue to higher education. Prepare not only for the future but for now as well. Teach responsibility so students are prepared for work force/work ethics. Provide equal opportunities for all students in every county/school in the state – equity in resources and funding.
Table 9: Educate all children (no limits) to be productive members of society by providing them skills to find information, and develop critical thinking skills to apply that information. Educate the whole child (mental, physical, social and emotional). Promote and provide life long learning. Always use continuous self-study to do a better job using and research based information to educate all children.
Table 10: Teach students how to learn. Teach students socialization skills. Prepare students to become productive citizens through gainful employment. Teach the 3 Rs. Teach students how to access information.
Table 11: Develop students who are productive and active citizens in society. Provide instruction reinforcing skills that have been taught in the first 4-5 years at home. Develop students into persons who you would like to have for a neighbor later in life. Develop students so that they can get along in the world. Prepare individuals to reach their full potential.
Table 12: Provide fundamentals (reading, communication, math, technology, social studies, science, fine arts) and a commitment to excellence to maximize all children's intellectual potential. Prepare children to meet the next challenge by teaching them to think critically and become lifelong learners ES- reading, math, writing, technology MS - basic academics social skills, transitions HS - basic skills and career exploration, clusters and majors. Teach good citizenship skills (K-12).
Table 13: Encourage responsible behavior by teaching students how to think critically and make sound decisions. Prepare students for life by meeting students' individual academic needs for their work world. Prepare students' social skills in order to get along with others in teams, utilize the democratic process, and disagree agreeably in order to prevent violence. Instill a desire for lifelong learning. Promote parental involvement.
Table 14: Prepare all students for productive postschool experiences such as further education or employment. Prepare students to become well adjusted, self sufficient adults who are able to function in a diverse pluralistic society. Model good attitudes and productive behaviors. Teach students respect for teachers and other adults. Develop and educate students to become well rounded individuals who can successfully exist and function in society. Concentrate on academics.
Question #2: How can we know if these purposes are being achieved?
Table 1: Determine the match between what is taught and the demands of the job market. Longitudinal study of all graduates to include satisfaction survey of employers and the graduates themselves. Effective school surveys. Real-world, end user developed testing. Determine number of graduates required to take remedial college courses. Graduate follow-up studies.
Table 2: Follow-up surveys of employment, college, etc.; decrease welfare rolls and other public assistance programs; college-going rate and completion rate; employment rate; business satisfaction regarding employees. Review transcripts/assessments results of recruits; classroom observation; assessment scores of students; use of new techniques; assessment over time; incentives and rewards recognition programs.
Table 3: Decrease in dropout rate; employment rate; participation in postesecondary education; welfare numbers; attendance rates; student grades; prison population; probation rate; parent participation. Performance-based reading assessments; assessments/standardized or teacher-made tests; applied testing/product assessment; writing ability; personal observation. Lower the unemployment; follow through with 4-year plan; follow-up surveys; assessment in career areas; participation/involvement in competitions. Enrollment in alternative education; GED, dropout re-entry; participation with social service agencies; ability to be awarded grant dollars; number of parent tutors; enrollment in after-school programs; summer youth program participation.
Table 4: Standardized and/or proficiency exams; report cards/grades; progress reports; parent-teacher conferences; students' ability to successfully proceed through sequential courses; post-graduate follow-up surveys of students. Compare pre and post testing; student activities improve; confidence increases as demonstrated by increase in school activities. Number of students going on to postsecondary education; number of students successfully completing 1st year of college; community service; number of participants in continuing education courses; survey of community. Youth risk behavior survey; parent survey; longitudinal study. Number of accident reports; training for specialized health care procedures; health care plan implementation; discipline referrals; facilities– review access; emergency plans.
Table 5: Standardized testing, teacher-made tests, etc. Examine graduation rates. Workplace and postsecondary follow-ups. Examine welfare, unemployment and prison statistics.
Table 6: Parent involvement LSICs spot checks in halls satisfaction surveys (parents, students) have structure in place to measure, lockdown procedures and practice, policies in place and evaluated, ER procedures partnerships with community number of volunteers number of suspensions, expulsions. Students progress to next level, criterion referenced tests, measure reading ability, level networking among alumni (look at class reunions). Measure current use in classroom amount of integration between curriculum and technology, measure different uses of technology, measure IGO's. % of employed students study longevity of work, survey employers, survey postsecondary technical students, followup with graduates. Study voting patterns, volunteerism community service, attendance, compare juvenile justice data, measure involvement in extra curricular activities.
Table 7: Assessment of basic skills. Salary indexes. Postsecondary surveys. Employee/employer satisfaction surveys. Parent satisfaction surveys.
Table 8: Post high school success of graduates as measured by: Workplace performance percent of secondary completion Decrease in high school dropout rate Survey of student satisfaction Academic achievement testing not sacrificing learning for test preparation.
Table 9: Use accountability measures to produce higher graduation rates, employable graduates who have the ability to continue their education, high levels of community involvement, and which graduates produce children who are more prepared for school as evidenced by positive employer feedback, increased business and employment opportunities in communities with lower crime rates.
How to learn – assess thru standards measure number of critical thinking skills activities observe students learning different ways make everything pass/fail. Socialization skills number of suspensions expulsions, referrals to criminal justice system, students can cannot communicate appropriately drop out rates. Productive citizens thru gainful employment – 5 year followup of grads., survey business community regarding preparedness, dropoutrates, absenteesim, number of love schoolers. 3R's – objective testing, attainment of standards. How to access information, subjective evaluations by professional educators.
Table 11: Develop productive and active college attendance rates. Employment drop out rates, juvenile crime rate, lack of political participation (candidates). Measure intelligence quotients, monitor child development thru skills look at a variety of measures regarding parent involvement. Juvenile crime rate, vandalism rate, discipline data, volunteers, community watch programs trust level. Job loss due to interpersonal skills, road rage, metal detectors in school. Unemployment measures to look at student performance.
Table 12: Quality assessments test analysis Longitudinal (10 yr.) Study with date collection as number enrolled and number completing college postsecondary vocational programs, military and number in workforce or leaving state. Valuable instructional time. Tests that assess critical thinking skills. Annual criterion referenced tests with consistent scoring and appropriate funding. Collect information concerning successful transitions at each level. Behavior data. Involvement in civic groups/students organizations Involvement in community service. Assess civics classes offered.
Table 13: Observations (teachers and principal, etc.) Surveys of high school students in STW post year, 1 yr., 5 yr., Utilize 5 year plans Decrease in discipline referrals /teacher evaluation tools changing/increase in volunteerism Attendance and tardiness rates decreasing Track student activities post sec. experiences Feedback from "employers" in job shadowing opportunities Referrals to peer mediation and subsequent requests # of discipline referrals Reduction in crime rate Increase in peer tutoring Increase in college entrance rate and postsecondary education rate and graduation rates from these institutions. Increase in number of parents participating in all school related activities ex. PTA ban d boosters athletic boosters, parent/teacher conferences.
Table 14: Prepare all students for productive post school experiences such as further education or employment. Number of students who contribute on and complete postsecondary studies and or who are gainfully employed and retain those jobs. Increase in high school graduation rate and decrease in dropout rates. Decrease in number of students needing remedial classes at postsecondary education level. Decrease in crime rate. Decrease in the number of public assistance cases. Monitor successes of special needs students. Decrease in the number of students identified for special education.
Question #3: What changes need to be made to achieve these purposes?
Table 1: Internal and external positioning of the school system, reward quality performance fundamental changes to school personnel law, including reduction of teacher pupil ratio, and adequate funding for education and performance incentives.
Table 2: Fund or needs not student numbers Improve attitudes about work ethic (attendance of personnel and students) Pay more to make job more attractive Reduce student/teacher ratio across grade levels to allow for more individual instruction. Provide more adequate social support services Provide more — for personnel who do the "extras Develop and employ intervention specialists so teachers can teach More clerical help for teachers State of the art facilities and materials to provide optimal education. Improve ability to function as a business (hire, fire, etc.) From birth on have quality parenting offerings with incentives in collaboration with others in the community. Let children progress at own rate.
Table 3: Change funding formula Lower class size Pre-K for every student should be mandatory Raise standards and expectations Fund mandates Change graduation requirements to include practical "real world" courses Need flexibility to match IGOs to real world credits Change stigma of vocational/technical education Better improved communications Provide research based, balanced reading program incorporating 7 dimensions of reading in all elementary schools. Smaller class sizes Develop programs for atrisk readers Provide adequate technology Pass legislation to make life skills a part of core curriculum Fund mandates Facilities need to be up to standards better use of SBA funding Interact more with business and industry Prepare students for varied workplace Strengthen teacher prep Increase personnel Improve salary schedule
Table 4: Smaller class size Use of mentors for at risk students (older peer tutors) Use of mentors from business/community Increase access to modern technology in elementary schools Increase emphasis on learning basic math, facts and developing ability to perform mental computations. Increase in basic compensation, benefits, and retirement. Increase professional image of education system Early intervention Use of mentors to model life long learning. Use of community resources in the schools to make an impact. Parent training on life style issues parents of infants, toddlers, and on up. Increase school nurse:student ratio to national standards 1:750.
Table 5: Strengthen teacher preparation curriculum and instruction. Focus on children most in need – middle level at at-risk students. Students, teachers, parents an counselors should be better informed as to the opportunities that exist in the workplace as well as postsecondary education. (Including technical and adult education as well as college). Reduce non teaching tasks to allow teachers more time to teach. Reward outstanding educators with incentives. Involve the business community in education.
Table 6: Reexamine hours school are open, grant writing training for all, after school activities, partnerships with churches/community groups, etc. Social skills training to improve socialization skills (preschool thru adulthood) Parent training skills/behavior/homework, etc.) Increase safety net e.g., social services, juvenile detention centers, etc. Additional funding for adult education. School to work clusters expanded more discussion/interaction with business community increase more experience based opportunities, provide communication skills training and social skills training. Need certification in instructional technology, need more technologists. Social skills training Community service set up by students Volunteerism Conflict resolution training.
Table 7: Use a variety of methods to assess how students are achieving in basic skills. Use parent post graduate surveys as a working document for school improvement. Change state aid formula so not based on enrollment. More enrichment activities for the average child. More flexible scheduling with beginning and ending times also with school calendar.
Table 8: Establish statewide levy for purpose of equalization to minimum standards. Revise education funding and allow for more local levying authority. Increase efforts in teaching responsibility and requiring students to meet higher standards in classrooms to prepare them for standards of the workforce ie., on time, work completed, appropriate dress, required attendance, discipline and hold to consequences. Reinstate require home economics and vocational courses in middle schools to provide exploration opportunities.
Table 9: Increase salaries by using performance pay incentives; and extend employment contract to provide staff development opportunities that do not interfere with instruction. Change 18A-4-7a (hiring practices). Work with parents so children are better prepared for school. Provide counseling and nurses services to all schools and teach the arts at all levels of school.
Table 10: Fewer written tests; more performance based evaluation; more teaching time; reduce teacher paperwork; empower teachers; increase teacher training; increase relevance for students. Provide serious meaningful in-service; allow students to easily leave and re-enter school. Eliminate career tracking of school to work; increase school to work– work-based learning; increase relationship to business community; increase apprenticeship/internship. Less paperwork for teachers; make more connections to applications. Couple students with teacher to teach technology. Have/use libraries; marketing/PR of available resources; better communication among stakeholders.
Table 11: State aid revamped so that poor, sparsely populated counties are not penalized being forced into consolidation. Authority to discipline. Alternate educational options including school counselors who are provided the opportunity to counsel and attendance directors to assist with dropout rate. Increase parent-home connection to prevent behavior problems. Consolidate colleges and transfer savings to public schools. Increased parent participation in the community school. Alternative ways to measure student achievement so standardized test scores are de-emphasized. Look at advantages of community-based schools.
Table 12: Change state aid formula to allow more teachers in order to provide a rich and challenging curriculum. Change School to Work program by reducing mandated coursework and creating more elective opportunities and more challenging curriculum. Drop integrated science 9 and 10. Provide time for communication between elementary, middle and high school staff. Provide counselors, nurses and social services at all levels. Drop SAT 9 assessment and find better assessment tool. Recruit volunteers at elementary level to work one-on-one with students needing help.
Table 13: When teaching, tell students the "why" of what they are learning; strengthen role-playing and simulated decision-making scenarios; lengthen school day or school year; provide extra training for teachers in what teaching is really about; provide paid release time for teachers to attend professional development; return autonomy of the classrooms to teachers in order to develop responsible behavior and critical thinking in students. Add to job shadowing opportunities for career exploration; computer simulations. Add more creative drama simulations of life situations; require all students to take speech class; have school within the school academics. Start where the student's interest lie; increase club days and participation in all schools. Increase incentives for parent participation; have a reasonable scheduled agenda for parent meetings; have parent/teacher conferences with report cards.
Table 14: Hold teachers accountable for what they teach and how they teach. Change modified block to regular block schedule. Change education attitudes (all students can learn). Make testing more challenging. Help students achieve at grade level in elementary school. Prayer and paddle.