CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) members reviewed during their monthly meeting steps taken during the past four months to address six challenges presented by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as part of his education agenda.
In response to the challenge to certify teacher education programs and direct professional development to support reading on grade level by the end of third grade, the board approved new goals for professional development aligned to the governor’s plan. Included in the new professional development goals is a specific objective to increase the knowledge and skills of all pre-kindergarten through third grade educators to deliver a comprehensive early childhood education that includes a balanced approach to early literacy.
Related to the establishment of a commission to review the current governance structure of the 55 county boards of education and the costs that necessitates, the Commission on School District Governance and Administration held its inaugural meeting in early May. Members of the group received a perspective of established education entities in West Virginia. This knowledge lays the foundation for future work.
As part of the challenge to aggressively pursue the use of Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) to create efficiencies and to decentralize the delivery of professional development services, two train-the-trainer sessions have been conducted in RESA 3 and RESA 7. RESA 3 includes Boone, Clay, Kanawha and Putnam counties; RESA 7 serves Barbour, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Upshur counties.
Approximately 300 attendees received professional development during these sessions. Participants included central office administrators, principals, teachers, higher education representatives and institutional education representatives.
Members of the state board held a follow-up meeting with Pierpont Community and Technical College and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to guarantee the coordination of staff in cross-counseling efforts between public education and community colleges to ensure high school graduates are prepared for a career. The group discussed a north central cross-counseling pilot and an additional pilot at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. This pilot program will provide career awareness and career counseling services to middle school students through a collaborative, public and post-secondary education team.
To meet 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, the state board and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the SREB to implement High Schools that Work, Technology Schools that Work, advanced career pathways and math design modules.
Members of the board joined former Gov. Bob Wise to announce West Virginia would be the first state to implement Project 24. This announcement supports a challenge by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to investigate Project 24 and advise the Governor’s Office on using technology to personalize and enhance the education of all students. The state board and Gov. Tomblin also co-authored a letter to all county superintendents regarding Project 24. The letter encouraged all districts to complete a review of classroom technology and digital learning infrastructure in the state. Districts also were encouraged to complete the Project 24 self assessment, providing valuable feedback from the districts that will help the state frame its vision for student learning, recognize aspects of the education system that need to be addressed, and specify how technology can help align these efforts to college- and career-ready standards.