CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education's High Quality Educators Committee Thursday met for the first time. The committee was created to address support for both teacher preparation programs and existing teachers.
The committee is part of the board's action plan to address six challenges presented by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as part of his education agenda. Members of the High Quality Educators Committee addressed transforming early literacy, educator preparation, professional development, leadership development for superintendents and county school boards, as well as educator evaluation.
Several other actions have been taken by the board to certify teacher education programs and direct professional development to support reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Progress includes an addition to the teacher evaluation goal-setting policy that requires all teachers in K-3 to include a goal to address students' reading proficiency and the development of a draft white paper of pre-K-3 assessments in relation to closing the achievement gap for third grade reading.
As part of the challenge to establish a commission to review the current governance structure of the 55 county boards of education and the costs that necessitates, the board not only formed the Commission on School District Governance and Administration but also announced its members. The chairman of the commission, Tom Campbell, announced the membership of the 11-member body to include Tina Combs, WVBOE; Sallie Dalton, Greenbrier County superintendent; Doug Lambert, Pendleton County superintendent; Kathy Parker, Braxton County Board of Education and state Parent Teacher Association treasurer; Karen Price, president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association; Jack Rossi, managing partner Arnett Foster Toothman PLLC; Harry G. “Chip” Shaffer II, attorney, Shaffer & Shaffer; Bill Smith, Cabell County superintendent; Newt Thomas, ITT Carbon Industries (retired); and Dana Waldo, senior vice president and general manager of West Virginia, Frontier Communications. The commission will meet next month to begin our study to review the current governance structure of the 55 boards of education.
In response to the governor's request to aggressively pursue the use of Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) to create efficiencies and to decentralize the delivery of professional development services, the board has distributed approximately $1.3 million of West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) funding directly to the RESAs and districts for the Next Generation Educator Enhancement Academies with more to follow as regional sessions are completed. The board will continue to implement West Virginia's Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives with Train the Trainer sessions over the next two months reaching more than 1,800 professionals. Meanwhile, RESAs initiated work with more than 200 schools on specific school improvement areas.
The board continues to pursue coordinating staff in cross-counseling efforts between public education and community colleges to ensure high school graduates are prepared for a career. In addition to the pilot with Pierpont Community and Technical College, the board is considering a second pilot at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. This pilot program will provide career awareness and career counseling services to middle grade (seventh and eighth grade) students through a collaborative, public and post-secondary education team to include community and technical college staff.
The WVDE is in the process of expanding the number of sites offering the Preparation for Tomorrow curriculum to begin fulfilling the challenge of requiring every career center in West Virginia to adopt or develop at least one career pathway that meets Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) standards for Preparation for Tomorrow. In addition, the WVDE is implementing the SREB Teacher Preparation modules in the WVU-Institute of Technology alternative career and technical education teacher preparation program.
The board is moving forward to identify district needs, as well as strengths and weaknesses, to leverage technology as a tool for authentic personalization of learning for all students. This action is in support of the challenge from the governor to investigate Project 24 and advise the Governor's Office on utilizing technology to personalize and enhance the education of all students.
Additional progress related to the governor's education reform initiative includes preliminary work concerning the undertaking of two legislative studies, the Alternative Certification Programs Study and the Planning Periods Study as well as the creation and revisions of six new board polices, including hire practices kindergarten aide qualifications, and college and career readiness.
For more information, contact the WVDE Communication Office at (304) 558-2699.