Parents, Educators and Community Leaders Express Views at Riverside HS Forum

October 26, 2000

Over 65 parents, educators and community leaders participated in an Education Forum held at Riverside High School near Charleston on Thursday, October 26. The program was the last in a series of eight public forums hosted by the West Virginia Board of Education during a two-week period in October.  

State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart welcomed participants to the program, thanking them for their support of public education in the Mountain State.  

State Board Vice President Jim McKnight and Board member Cleo P. Mathews also welcomed participants to the program and thanked them for their interest in public schools. Leading participants through the structured program, Mr. McKnight served as moderator for the evening.  

As part of the Forum, participants were divided into 11 tables to discuss the three questions being posed to Forum participants throughout the state. The Forum gave all an opportunity to share ideas about the future of public education.  

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: Create lifelong learners who contribute positively to the community. Prepare students with basic skills to become functional adults. Provide well-rounded children. Raise the bar for students through challenging, innovative curriculum. Teach all students on the level where they should be learning– no excuses/no exceptions.  

Table 2: Educate the whole student intellectually, creatively, artistically, socially, physically and emotionally; help students to recognize their full potential and encourage students to become successful members of society and lifelong learners. Facilitate education for the whole community. Teach students necessary skills to function in a diverse society. Promote good citizenship.  

Table 3: Provide every child with the opportunities to develop their individual talents to become the b est they can be. Prepare students for the workforce, postsecondary education, college, the military, and or lifelong learning. Prepare children’s hearts, minds, and bodies to produce the kind of people we would like to have next door. Provide socialization skills, acceptance and knowledge of diversity. Prepare students to become good citizens and educated voters.  

Table 4: Prepare students to be informed, responsible citizens in a democracy and to coexist positively in a diverse society. Prepare all students to be competitive in all aspects of an equal basis with others. Inspire and prepare all students to be lifelong learners. Prepare students who have workforce readiness and job keeping skills.  

Table 5: Provide a safe environment to be able to prepare students to be productive citizens lokcal and globally including character education. Teach awareness of diversity various cultures. Provide for lifelong learning including career awareness and job shadowing. Teach the use of computers and other technologies. Provide information to parents to know what their students are learning and get them involved.  

Table 6: Model, teach and learn the 6 R’s: reading, writing, arithmetic, responsibility, respect and the arts. Hold schools and students accountable with parent and community involvement. Provide all students equitable educational opportunities and experiences. Keep public education monies in public education. Prepare students for the global workplace.  

Table 7: Develop responsible citizens who are prepared for their adult life. Educate the whole child to be a lifelong learner with love enthusiasm desire for learning. Prepare students to be competitive for high school, post grad education, jobs., etc., future economy – no longer catching up. Educate students to be productive, creative, and critical thinking. Off educational opportunities for people of all ages.  

Table 8: Provide a place where students can learn and leave the system to serve in a productive way – college job market. Educate an individual to be productive, independent lifelong learners. Be flexible and adapt to change. Provide an education where the student can be successful in the job market world we don’t know yet exists.  

Table 9: Educate literate citizens able to think critically, ask the right questions, process information and solve problems in order to be contributing citizens of today’s world. Guarantee equal access to quality educational services (curriculum, cutting edge science education, facilities, resources, etc). It may be necessary to provide these though alternative methods. Prepare all students to be able to continue their education and/or enter the workforce, including the ability to work collaboratively. Provide opportunities for students to learn diverse content and intensely study areas of individual interests from well-trained and qualified teachers and staff. Carry on the democratic ideals of our country, culture and traditions in a diverse and changing society.  

Table 10: Provide experiences to enable students to be and become productive for self and community. Foster and nourish a lifelong search for truth and beauty, spirit of inquiry and creativity. Help them develop their literacy skills to be best of their potential to prepare our students to excel in a competitive work environment and advanced educational opportunities. Teach life skills to all students. Support the family unit by providing continuing education beyond the 12th grade.  

Table 11: Prepare students to be positive contributors to our society. Offer diverse opportunities to meet the needs of all students. Teach students to be lifelong learners.  


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

Table 1: Support and funding for Arts, voter participation, high school and post secondary completion rate, community service and adult learning opportunities. Crime rate, unemployment, and lower median age. Community centers/schools.  

Table 2: Evaluation of social trends to include employment rate, per capita income, lower incarceration rates, and involvement in volunteer and service organizations. Standardized testing. Involvement in the fine arts. Number of students in remediation classes at the college level. Rate of enrollment in community education programs and number of adults holding library cards.  

Table 3: Literacy rates, course offerings, input, parent and student surveys, dropout rates, graduation grates, employment rates, test scores, juvenile delinquency data, portfolios. Remedial college course rates, post high school survey, college graduation rates, followup inte4rviews with employers, etc. Police calls for domestic violence, child abuse, Kid Count Data. Voter registration and turnout.  

Table 4: Valid testing of student performance. Number of social and professional or economic opportunities in the community. Percentage of successful individuals in post secondary education and the workplace. Crime rates and statistics regarding violence and abuse.  

Table 5: Provide a safe environment to be able to prepare students to be productive citizens locally and globally including character education. Conduct longitudinal studies that would include, but not be limited to, decline in teen parents, unemployment rates, decrease in dropout rate, decrease in jail populations, college going rates, % of positive placements in employment, voter registration, and the literacy rate.  

Table 6: 6'rs – Reading, writing, arithmetic, responsibility, respect, arts. High levels of performance on a variety of assessment tools. Students and staff meet or exceed the expectations that are set. Discipline referrals, school climate surveys, lower substance abuse incidents. Student involvement and participation. Level of instruction with the rest of the curriculum. Level of community involvement.  

Table 7: Decrease in unemployment rates, violent crimes, teenage pregnancy, dropout rates, divorce rates, increase in attendance rates, number of higher paying jobs. Post secondary education, job success satisfaction via surveys, achievement levels. Decrease unemployment rates Increase in postsecondary education Increase number of high tech jobs and skilled jobs. Increase in political environment nationally and internationally. More community education programs increase funding to students for tuition.  

Table 8: Tracking system for graduates to determine postsecondary employment, unemployment rate college attendance, college completion, including surveys of parents, employers former students, increase in the scores on college entrance exams. Look at the quality of jobs available, and the number of students in the military. Lower crime rate, higher church participation. Economic indicators increase in jobs, quality of jobs and movement of industry into the area. Look at numerous indicators, including but not exclusively test scores, and other academic improvements.  

Table 9: Lower welfare roles Better quality of life/standard of living Decrease penal population Increase post secondary school enrollment and completion Increase high school graduation rate Decrease unemployment Increase technology use in the home Increase civic involvement/Curriculum assessmen Increase alternative delivery systems Decrease post secondary remediation Improve writing assessment Alternative assessments (portfolios) Senior projects/Project challenge (team projects).  

Table 10: Long-term follow-up of students, seek opinions from business and community, percentage of employed students, percentage of registered to vote, student satisfaction survey (former students, percentage of incarcerated, educational census form). Student portfolios, participation, extracurricular activities, community service, volunteerism, educational forums, student performance-based assessment, use of libraries, Internet, projects. Student assessment (norm and criterion-referenced), National Writing Assessment, ACT, SAT, GRE, short-term follow-up with students, percentage of college attendance versus completion, percentage of students enrolled/how well we help students choose careers, percentage of students enrolled/completing other programs, employer feedback, percentage of people on public assistance, percentage of people incarcerated, program assessment for individual programs. Percentage of previous students incarcerated, divorce rate, school discipline problems, juvenile crime rate in community, school observation/interaction/supervision. Percentage of people enrolled in continuing education, completion rate of students, response from employer/community.  

Table 11: The “state of the nation”– broader assessment based on indicators such as trend data, standardized test data– progress not just achievement; college-going rate and graduation rate.  


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

Table 1: Improve social services to reduce at-risk factors Increase school funding Flexible learning opportunities to provide4 for multiple — Provide new attendance assessments Administers flexible with discipline. Provide alternative educational settings.  

Table 2: Increase support staff including both professional and service workers and increase planning, meeting, and reflection time for teachers. Add flexibility and increase local decision making. Eliminate block scheduling. Eliminate employment decisions based on seniority Test teachers in content areas annually.  

Table 3: Take advantage of technology distance learning, create school districts instead of county systems alleviate long bus routes, keep community schools and create social services teams. Equality art, music, PE, etc., to all schools change SBA criteria from economy of scale. Reduce class size Meaningful parent and community involvement  

Table 4: Redesign schools to meet students needs flexible scheduling, diverse delivery methods such as distance learning, and class configuration. Increase students deeper understanding of what living in our society means in terms of opportunities and responsibilities. More social services personnel, such as nurses, social workers and counselors in the schools. More local control in final educational decisions. Better support to strengthen literacy programs and increase literacy in state (eg., more libraries, adult literacy programs, etc.). Table 5: Equal funding that leads to improved teacher education preparation, increased standards for education professionals and accountability.  

Table 6: Align school policies, curriculum, instructional processes, assessment, school environment, relationships with parents and community with the 6'R’s.  

Table 7: Increase emphasis on consequences rather than punishment. Flexibility with school calendar Eliminate constraint of employee seniority Decrease emphasis on testing instead encourage continual learning Decrease class size Increased parental involvement.  

Table 8: Increase teacher salaries Reevaluate state and federal laws that relate to special needs Restore the dignity and respect for teachers Must have the flexibility to deliver a quality education Calendar day Reevaluate funding school aid formula.  

Table 9: Increase local flexibility (staffing, curriculum, calendar). Increase principal, and teacher days for professional development.  

Table 11: Provide alternative means to meet the needs of all students. Fund the unfunded mandates– retroactive to 1984 (e.g. Senate Bill 300, planning periods within instructional day, SB1, SB6, Chapter 18-A. Hold families and students accountable. Revise the formula.  

Table 10: Provide staff development. Stop unfunded mandates (share with legislature, state government, Governor, etc) We must provide mechanism whereby children are better prepared for school. Provide support throughout the system so students aren’t prohibited from being productive for self and community. Increase incentives for teachers (e.g. salary, assistance). Increase profession in the job market. Provide county support system for professional development, allocation of money, understanding of programs. Time for staff development. Time for teachers to collaborative with each other. Year-round employment. Increase family involvement in true sense of word. Money for assessment. Flexible schedules for staffing.  




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