Audience of 89 Participates in Beckley Education Forum

October 25, 2000

An audience of 89 parents, educators, community leaders and students participated in an Education Forum held at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley on Thursday, October 25. The program was the seventh of eight Forums hosted by the West Virginia Board of Education in October.  

State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart welcomed participants, encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunity to provide input to the Department of Education and the State Board.  

Following introductory remarks by State Board President J.D. Morris and Vice President Jim McKnight, participants were divided into 13 tables to discuss the three questions being posed to Forum participants throughout the state.  

Mr. McKnight served as moderator for the evening, leading participants through the structured program.  

To register for Forum participation, to learn about participants' responses at each forum, or to participate in an on-line poll, click on the following link:  

Following are the top five responses (as provided by each table) to the three questions:  

Question #1: What should be the purposes of public education?  

Table 1: Provide individualized education for each child reflected in policy and provide learning styles and strategies to meet student needs. Assist families in providing an appropriate education (parents as facilitators). Provide understanding of the world. Prepare students to become effective adults. Provide a safe and orderly learning environment for students and staff.  

Table 2: Promote socialization skills and collaboration through having students work together in real world and academic projects in order to teach citizenship, responsibility, respect for diversity, self discipline, character education, community living and life skills. Prepare students for next steps, i.e. elementary, middle, high school, college, postsecondary education, and work by having communication across levels. Provide students with basic skills and higher order thinking skills by using real, relevant and applied methods of instruction.  

Table 3: Provide students with a broad experience that prepares them for a global environment Provide safe and positive environment. Provide a curriculum that continually challenges students minds and abilities. Provide a solid grounding in the humanities, math and science. Prepare students for a productive and successful adulthood.  

Table 4: Introduce students to learning systems so they can become lifelong learners. These systems are different for each individual student and the school systems should facilitate the students individual learning styles, where they have a strength. Provide a well rounded balanced education with a wealth of experience/opportunities Not worry as much about “finishing the book” as teaching the concepts. Prepare for postsecondary education or job placement to secure the students future. Provide students with an education and life skills to lead a productive life.  


Table 5: Teach students to read to give them the educational foundation to be a successful adult. Teach students to be seekers of information and to be technology so they can adapt to a changing international world and be prepared for multiple futures. Allow students to be active participants in society and in workforce and to coexist in a div erse society. Provide equity to all students. Get parents positively and actively involved at all levels (eg., provide parenting skilled classics) to prepare students to be socially successful as citizens.  

Table 6: Equip students with a base of knowledge and experiences including fine arts that enable them to be self-sufficient and lifelong learners. Provide a balanced, well-rounded education that includes citizenship, critical thinking skills and responsibility. Provide programs that give students specific vocational skills.  

Table 7: Ensure the teaching of both cognitive and basic skills to prepare students to successfully live in our environment evaluation, skills, critical thinking skills and analyzing skills. Ensure a safe and orderly learning environment. Ensure access to technology. Ensure character education and citizenship skills for all students and provide opportunities for practice. Emphasize reinforce “individuality” and student talents.  

Table 8: Adequately prepare to be productive and participatory members of society by providing a thorough and efficient education. Provide students with the basic skills for career orientation in order to lay the foundation for lifelong learning. Help students identify areas of interest, whether college preparatory, job entry or career and technical training. Foster an interest in learning in order to motivate students to want to learn more.  

Table 9: Prepare students to successfully continue their education or skill training or enter the workforce/other life choices so they can lead productive lives today and in the future. Provide a safe environment in which to learn a challenging curriculum while recognizing students’ individual needs.  

Provide the most competent teachers and administrators to maximize teaching and learning. Instill lifelong learning by teaching students to learn and think for themselves, so that people are self-activated and enjoy a productive quality of life.  

Table 10: Provide a safe environment in order to meet students’ individualized needs for preparation of students to be more productive members of society. Provide an education for all students, regardless of ability, to prepare students for college and/or vocational education and/or for the world of work, and to be lifelong learners. Promote the development of social skills, open-mindedness, acceptance of differences, by providing a well-rounded education. Build increased awareness of extra-curricular activities and encourage participation. Involve the family and community in the learning process.  

Table 11: Provide students with tools to be productive citizens. Produce functionally literate adults in a competitive global society. Teach students to retrieve information through different formats. Teach students to be technology literate. Educate students in basic skills.  

Table 12: Prepare all students for college and or world of work and future. Prepare all students in basic skills. Prepare all students to live in today’s diverse society with each other in a respectfuly manner and with moral values. Prepare all students to an accepted set of standards with student and school accountability. Provide a safe and secure environment for students.  

Table 13: Prepare students to become productive citizens. Prepare students for the job market or postsecondary educational opportunities. Provide socialization skills such as communication skills and the ability to work as a team member. Provide opportunities for the development of advanced academic skills. Provide character education with an emphasis on responsibility.  

Question #2: How can we know if these purposes are being achieved?  

Table 1: Measure teaching styles. Individualized student assessment. School assessment group (parents, students, educators, concerned citizens). Survey students, learning styles to provide strategies to meet those needs. Policies.  

Table 2: Lower suspension rate, lower discipline referrals, teacher lesson plans, club membership, documentation of peer mediation, conflict resolution, group project evaluation school level and beyond, and community involvement. Document communication across levels Use portfolios Assessment standardized criterion and norm, student surveys can students communicate their next steps. Assessment of teachers made, criterion, norm, no high states testing, proficiency and warranty #s, statistically sound, performance, expectations – use data longitudinal.  

Table 3: Provide students with a broad experience that prepares them for a global environment. % of students entering competing postsecondary education. Measure diversification of student career choices interests and the communities career offerings. In crease student attendance lower dropout rates. Measure employment rates Measure community volunteerism Do post graduation student surveys (long range) to see if students are using what they learn. When benchmarks along the K-postgrad. Process assessment of academic progress. Get frequent process and output feedback from students, parents, teachers, administrators, businesses and community members, adjust our schools accordingly.  



Table 4: Tracking system by utilizing the advances in technology for individual students Pre-K through postgrad. Observation, test scores, students, attendance, participation in extra curricular activities, student achievement, lower crime rate, and a reduction in discipline referrals.  

Table 5: Competency based performance evaluation, particularly reading and reading comprehension, measuring student progress against be4nchmarks not other students. Analysis of student behaviors by key indicators. Graduation, dropout, promotion, and employment rates. Satisfaction surveys post-secondary surveys of students.  

Table 6: Longitudinal study beyond high school including college going and graduation rate, feedback from former students and parents, employment rate, police records. Use a variety of assessment measures.  

Table 7: Student testing, evaluating students progression/achievement, % of students receiving scholarships and attending grad. rate, attendance rate, existence and enrollment in pst secondary programs, follow up study following graduation, evaluation implementation of standards, have students evaluate themselves via survey, etc . # of violent incidents in schools, data collection (eg., suspensions, expulsions, attendance), parent and community satisfaction, student surveys opinions, fire inspector air quality inspections, ER plans sufficient # of nursing/counseling services, proper facilities. Good maintenance plan, #’s of operating computers in each classroom # of skilled instructors, evaluate schedule flexibility # of teachers using technical assistance as instruction tools # of distance learning. Number of students who volunteer in community # of students involved in extracurricular activities, measuring school climate through opinion surveys, community data, dropout rate, attendance rate. Number of programs/courses offered for exceptional abilities, percentage of students participating in Governors School for the Arts, number of students identified for services and have individual plans, number of charter/magnet schools to serve students.  

Table 8: Utilizing test scores balanced with other types of evaluations such as student class performance (i.e. teacher prepared tests and other similar classroom evaluations) extra-curricular activities and student involvement.  

Utilizing statistical measures to track students such as school retention rates, postsecondary enrollment and retention in postsecondary, unemployment rates, feedback from business on attitudes and preparedness, salary, social skills and parental surveys.  

Table 9: Decrease number of students in college remedial courses, employer satisfaction in grads., increase college completion rate, increase ACT/SAT scores, students participate encourage, extra-curricular and civic community work based activities. A productive helping community Happy, enjoys work of choice Respectful of people, property crime rate, leisure and vocational interests. Accepting of diversity, infusion and culture into class activities interaction in all school activities.  

Table 10: Effective schools have an increase in the percentage of students who go on to postsecondary education and/or work and who are living independently. Effective schools have communities that show a decrease in the welfare rate, increased school attendance and decreased dropout rate, with fewer acts of violence and decreasing crime. Effective schools have an increased rate of parents, employers, students, school staff and community members who report that the school is safe and is meeting the educational needs of the students in the community. Effective schools show an increase in the availability of and participation in extra-curricular activities and elective courses.  

Table 11: Provide students with tools to be productive citizens. Employment rate/post graduation survey rate. County literacy rates, competitive in job market, employment skills. Library usage and availability of libraries. Enrollment rates in technology courses, technology survey rates of ownership and usage. Advancement rates, remediation rates.  

Table 12: Follow-up surveys of students, college data, student surveys in school, parent surveys, employer feedback. Norm-referenced and criterion-referenced testing. Student discipline records, numbers in alternative schools, crime rates. Testing at grade level. Discipline records, parent and student satisfaction surveys.  

Table 13: Percentage of graduates participating in volunteer activities; percentage of graduates who are gainfully employed, participating in the military or enrolled in postsecondary educational programs and the percentage of graduates registering to vote and for selective service. Employer satisfaction surveys. Advanced placement test scores and the percentage of college students required to participate in remedial courses. Incarceration rates and the percentage of graduates who are gainfully employed, participating in the military, or enrolled in postsecondary education.  


Question #3: What changes need to be made to achieve these purposes?  

Table 1: Change appropriate school laws to restructure the concept of graded education and the present school calendar. Match teaching and learning styles. Develop instruments and processes that measure individual student process rather than comparing student-to-student or school-to-school. Teacher/parent/student/higher education training in developmental education and in meeting individualized student needs.  

Table 2: High stakes testing should not be conducted. Need more collaborative work for students, more planning time for teachers. Smaller class sizes at all levels. Change funding formula to count actual teachers, not all personnel. More flexible use of instructional time. More useful professional development for teachers. Substantial pay raises for teachers to attract high quality and keep. Teacher input and training for any changes. Use statistically sound performance measures.  

Table 3: Improve teacher evaluation to make sure that they adequately prepare their students for the next level course work and reward teachers accordingly. Eliminate class sizes over 15. Promote year round schooling. Provide guidance and experiences to help students internalize their interests and abilities. Expose them to a variety of choices and individualize their course requirements. Expand career exploration and increase teacher training in career development.  

Table 4: Need to increase school funding in order to provide additional staff, small class size, a broad curriculum, preschool in every school, and modern facilities with access to current technology. Hold students/schools/parents accountable. More balanced measurement approach– not just SAT 9.  

Develop and implement fund raising program within business community and among alumni at each level. More equitable funding/statewide levy.  

Table 5: Change state aid formula to generate and support adequate resources such as personnel, equipment, facilities, materials and time, including technology technicians and staff development. No more unfunded mandates. Preservice needs to change focus to prepare future teachers with needed skills. Provide adequate time to plan and prepare for required educational changes; in other words, implementation upon passage of legislation is unreasonable. More focus on students. Time in school calendar for staff development.  

Table 6: Provide adequate funding for state mandates and professional salaries that includes paying for it through higher taxes. More emphasis on academics. Preschool, K-elementary schools: smaller student/teacher ratio and richer early childhood education curriculum. Accountability for expenditures. Increase foreign language programs. Give superintendents more control over their systems.  

Table 7: Year-round schooling, flexible calendars and scheduling, ensure minimum instructional days for students. Smaller class sizes. Evaluation/change school funding formula. Evaluate social promotion policy and alternatives. Encourage national certification for teachers. Abolish tenure programs for teachers/administrators/service personnel. Increase teacher salaries. Increase time for staff development. Improve facilities. Utilize technology. Increase staff development about school safety. Access to technology in summer school. Provide funding. School-business partnerships.  

Staff development. State board needs to implement policy that prioritizes technology. Develop flexible schedule. Develop curriculum for character education and citizenship skills. Consider establishment of special schools for talented students. Smaller classes to help in development of individual talents.  

Table 8: Adequate funding formula to allow more teachers, equipment staffing, facilities and curricular programs (programs which addresses needs identified and provide intervention). Vocational training at an early age – identify areas of interest as early as Grade 5 – address basic skills through vocational programs. Allow teachers the latitude to be creative in order to accomplish the purposes of instruction and hold them accountable for results. Fund personnel to repair, train, and expand technology. Eliminate duplicity of services (RESAs, local boards, state dept., and staff development).  

Table 9: Encourage support greater parental involvement be accepting of parents knowledge of the child – welcomed that info not adversarial, and not just fund raising. Better info to parents, students, educators, about opinions for students and other than college encourage choices and more information or occupational choices. Greater access to distance learning especially in rural area. Adjust homework load to allow more time for family building and other activities. Better maintenance of facilities as well as more equitable distribution of good facilities. Work to eliminate apathy everyone’s voice is important encourage participation similar to this forum.  

Table 10: Less emphasis on SAT 9 move emphasis on percentage of students who go on to military, post secondary education and/or who have a job. Hire full time technology specialists who are in house and provide more school nurses counselors and social workers. Develop an unbiased teacher evaluation process that focuses on the delivery of knowledge to the student. Restructure the school so it is no longer a 4-walled structure including elimination of time constraints and focus on mastery. Fund all unfunded mandates and provide more funds for salaries of school staff.  

Table 11: Recruitment of te4achers and administrators needs to be addressed.  

Revisit state aid formula. Reduce emphasis on testing as sole measure4 of school success. Provide funding for technology personnel to deal with upgrades, maintenance and teacher training. There should be no nonfunded mandates. There needs to be less required documentation, more emphasis on teaching and the elimination of ineffective programs.  

Table 12: Change the state aid formula back to 55/1000 special formula for special education. Get rid of seniority laws, seniority does not = competency, change state code, identify other measures of competency. Increased parental involvement through better communication, and other means. Get rid of unnecessary tasks, teachers teach, principals lead. Increase time for staff development.  

Table 13: Increase teacher recruitment efforts and incorporate increased salaries and benefits to attract candidates. Increase parental, business, and community involvement by increasing the number of business partners and the number of home vistas. Revise the state funding formula and eliminate unfunded mandates, reexamine the statewide excess levy. Re-engineer the current model used in education/streamline paperwork and eliminate duplication. Later start times for high schools would make learning time more productive.  

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