“The areas that most concern the Board are part of the West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDE) Improvement Package,” said Board President Barbara Fish. “West Virginia is setting the national stage for many school improvement initiatives but our goals can only be accomplished if we work side-by-side with the Legislature.”
The state’s primary education goals are to bring all children in the public school system to mastery and beyond, to close the achievement gap among the subgroups of students in the state’s schools, and to assure that all students are prepared for success with some type of post-secondary education. These challenging goals will require long-term planning and significant improvements in West Virginia’s public schools. The WVDE’s Improvement Package focuses on five areas: school improvement, instructional services, adult education, technology and institutional education.
“We are grateful to the Legislature for supporting our priorities in the past. In order to assure further success, we want to see additional financial support for the implementation of the Framework for High Performing School Systems, Professional Development Schools and the Five-Year Math Plan in order to continue to raise student achievement for all students,” said Fish.
Framework for High Performing School Systems: The Framework for High Performing School Systems is building the capacity of county school systems to, in turn, build the capacity of their own schools. The Framework will ultimately raise student achievement levels for all student sub-groups and close the achievement gaps that exist between student sub-groups.
Professional Development Schools: House Bill 4669 established Professional Development Schools throughout the state. Thirty schools, all of which serve large numbers of economically disadvantaged students and many minority students, have been identified and will receive intensive technical assistance for the purpose of improving the academic performance of the students in these schools. Ultimately, West Virginia is expected to develop a model for school improvement that will, no doubt, be the envy of the nation.
Five-Year Math Plan: In addition to the new, rigorous graduation requirements and math credit requirements, the Department has developed the Five-Year Math Plan. The Department first created a Math Task Force, which studied the national research and the needs of West Virginia students. The Task Force then developed a five-year plan to improve mathematics for all students, K-16, in our state. The goals are (1) to provide every student at every level the opportunity to take higher-level mathematics, and (2) to increase teacher quality, improve student achievement and impact school improvement in every county of West Virginia.
The WVDE Improvement Package also includes provisions to expand Adult Basic Education classes, to further develop the Virtual School program and early childhood education programs and expand Institutional Education programs.