According to Bill Grizzell, Superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, and Dr. Mark Manchin, Superintendent of McDowell County Schools, major changes have taken place in curriculum, personnel and in the facilities in both counties.
For example, Advanced Placement (AP) classes were added or will be added at the high school level in each county, providing students a more rigorous curriculum.
“We continue to raise standards for our students,” said Grizzell. “Approximately 200 Lincoln County kids are enrolled in AP classes and these students feel good about their accomplishment,” he added.
Also, in collaboration with area colleges, dual credit classes are now offered, giving students a jumpstart on their college education. Lincoln County has increased its college-going rate from 18 percent to 45 percent.
Renovations at facilities in both counties have also taken place. In Lincoln County, new HVAC systems were installed at both Hamlin Elementary and Harts High School. Six additional classrooms at Midway Elementary were constructed to accommodate the increased enrollment.
McDowell County is in the process of constructing a new middle school on the campus of Mount View High School. A contract with the Army Corps of Engineers that will allow access to nearly $40 million of federal monies will be ready for signing this fall. This will provide for the construction of a new high school, a new middle school and three new elementary schools.
The State Board learned that since the state intervention fewer grievances have been filed in Lincoln County, vice principals have been added to the four high schools, a county technology director has been hired and additional employment days have been added to employees at the school level, including custodians, secretaries and principals.
In McDowell County, all county professional employees were fully licensed or certified through the West Virginia Department of Education for the 2002-2003 school year. Hiring procedures were implemented so the most qualified applicants are employed to ensure student success.
“Good things are happening in McDowell County thanks to the teachers, students and administrative staff,” said Manchin. “But we still have a long way to go, especially in regards to our achievement rates and college-going rate. I guarantee we are attacking these issues head on.”
The West Virginia Board of Education took over Lincoln County Schools in June 2000, and took over McDowell County in November 2001.
“I am confident that these two counties are heading in the right direction,” said Board President Howard Persinger. “As a Board, we will not fail the children living in these counties.”