CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The state Board of Education on Wednesday adopted many recommendations made by the West Virginia Advisory Council for the Education of Exceptional Children to aid those students with special needs.
The council, a statewide committee mandated by federal and state law, makes yearly recommendations to the West Virginia Department of Education to address unmet needs of children with exceptionalities. Areas addressed in a report presented to the board in June include assessment, discipline, out-of-state placements, professional development, graduation requirements and other support.
“The West Virginia Board of Education takes seriously its commitment to help all students – African Americans, white, economically disadvantaged, non-English speaking, disabled and gifted – learn and succeed,” said board President Priscilla Haden. “These recommendations address valid concerns to help special needs students in West Virginia.”
Among the recommendations adopted are the suggestions that additional training and clarification be provided to eliminate confusion for determining eligibility for special education services. To address this concern, the West Virginia Department of Education will provide additional guidance this fall during the 2011 Special Education Leadership Conference.
The department also plans to develop a guidance document to improve parental understanding of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process in light of the significant increase in need due in large part to an increase in the number of students with autism. Summer professional development opportunities on autism services also will be offered.
In addition, the Department of Education is collaborating with the Autism Training Center at Marshall University to develop a document to address life skills training for special needs students. Efforts also are under way to consider revisions to state policy to allow for schedule flexibility so more special education students can participate in career technical education offerings.
Other issues being addressed include clarification of the least restrictive environment, further training for new special education directors, financial support of parent-educator resource centers, and closing the achievement gap in reading and math for special needs students.
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.
--The West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) are committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called “Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.,” West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.