Public Schools in Need of Extra Help Named Priority Schools

April 12, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education has identified a pending list of low performing schools across the state as priority schools. These schools will get additional support to meet the needs of their students.

The priority schools designation is part of West Virginia’s ESEA Flexibility Request which includes waivers of certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. West Virginia is still awaiting final approval of its ESEA Flexibility Request from the U.S. Department of Education.

“When schools continue to perform in the bottom 5 percent of the state and aren’t showing signs of growth, they need help,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “By identifying them as priority schools, we can help these education facilities do the right thing for their students. The priority schools designation shifts from just identifying schools as not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) to identifying schools and providing intense on-going support.”

Within its ESEA Flexibility proposal, West Virginia has identified 32 schools as priority schools. The schools are among the lowest five percent of Title I schools based on school-wide student achievement and a historical lack of progress over three years. All non-Title I schools meeting the same criteria have been identified and are included in the priority schools.

The first phase after becoming a priority school is a diagnostic visit to identify weaknesses within the school. The priority schools will be provided a roadmap to success based on its specific needs. The West Virginia Department of Education and Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) will work collaboratively with priority schools and their county school systems to provide professional development and technical assistance to implement improvements.

Schools named priority schools and their county are: Barbour, Philippi Middle, Junior Elementary; Berkeley, Burke Street Elementary; Braxton, Braxton County High; Cabell, Peyton Elementary, Enslow Middle; Fayette, Ansted Elementary, Collins Middle; Grant, Union Educational Complex; Hampshire, Hampshire Senior High; Kanawha, Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary, Watts Elementary, J E Robins Elementary; Lincoln, Lincoln County High, Midway Elementary; Logan, Buffalo Elementary, Man Senior High, Chapmanville Senior High; Mercer, Spanishburg School; Mingo, Gilbert Middle, Williamson Middle; McDowell, Southside K-8, Mount View High; Preston, Tunnelton-Denver Elementary; Summers, Summers County High School; Taylor, Anna Jarvis Elementary; Wayne, East Lynn Elementary, Wayne Middle; Webster, Webster County High, Glade Middle; and Wood, Jefferson Elementary, Franklin Elementary.

After three years, a priority school can exit the priority status if it no longer satisfies the initial criteria and it demonstrates successful school turnaround strategies. For more information, contact the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.

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