Public Education

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education's Commission on School District Governance and Administration is recommending the state board work to redefine the educational services provided by regional offices.

Those regions are known as RESAs, Regional Education Service Agencies, and there are eight in  West Virginia. Those offices encompass all 55 county school districts in the state and help provide some services like professional development, bulk purchasing and technology support.

West Virginia Department of Education

  The release of last year's standardized test scores for West Virginia public school students has been delayed again.

The Charleston Gazette reports that state education officials did not announce the results Thursday as expected. State Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro says officials are still working with counties to validate the scores. She says scores can be expected soon, but did not give a specific date.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

During the West Virginia Board of Education's November meeting Wednesday, Fayette County Superintendent Serena Starcher presented board members with the results of a survey and analysis of the performance of the county's secondary schools.

In October 2013, the state board directed the county to conduct the study specific to Meadow Bridge High School, a school a proposed facilities plan for the county would have consolidated if approved. Starcher said Wednesday, however, the county decided to expand the study to all middle and high schools.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education returned local control to Mingo County Schools after nearly 10 years of intervention. 

Board members voted unanimously Wednesday during their November meeting at Mingo Central High School in Delbarton.

West Virginia Department of Education

  The West Virginia Department of Education is getting a grant to curb gun violence by connecting families, schools and communities to mental health services.

The agency is set to receive the $9.7 million from Project AWARE. West Virginia is one of 120 states and local school districts receiving grants for mental health first aid training.

Officials say the grant is part of a national initiative to support teachers, schools and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns among youth.

West Virginia Department of Education

For the past 20 months, the West Virginia Board of Education’s Commission on School District Governance and Administration has been discussing ways the state can restructure at the regional level to provide better service to the local school districts. At a meeting Thursday, members finalized their recommendations for the full board who will vote on them in November.

The director of WVOASIS, West Virginia's new integrated software platform, told lawmakers the fourth phase of the system will be delayed by at least three months after testing did not meet the required milestones. The opening of an expeditionary learning school in Huntington will also be delayed as crews work to renovate an old middle school into a facility equiped for a new style of learning.

The Appalachian Queer Film Festival begins this weekend in Lewisburg and it's director says it's okay to use that word.  

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to return local control of the school district to the Grant County Board of Education after nearly five years of intervention.

The system was taken over in 2009 after and audit showed the county was failing in multiple areas, including curriculum, student achievement and lacked leadership.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's new superintendent of schools has released his goals for improving the state's public education system, including a focus on improving student attendance and graduation rates.

Michael Martirano presented the plan to the state Board of Education on Wednesday.

The plan would increase pre-kindergarten offerings in all elementary schools and early childhood learning centers, including the expansion of programs before and after school and during the summer.

U.S. Department of Education

  The U.S. Department of Education has named two schools in West Virginia as 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The department announced the awards Tuesday for 337 schools nationwide.

The West Virginia schools are C.W. Shipley Elementary in Jefferson County and Woodsdale Elementary in Ohio County.

Cecelia Mason

  State figures show that nearly a third of West Virginia's public school students were truant during the 2013-2014 academic year.

According to Department of Education data, 58 percent of McDowell County's students were marked as truant. That was the highest rate in the state.

Jefferson County had the lowest rate, 7 percent.

West Virginia's new schools superintendent has taken the oath of office.

Michael Martirano was sworn in Monday, then headed straight to the source on his first day of work.

Martirano paid a visit the newly built Edgewood Elementary in Charleston following the swearing-in ceremony at the state Culture Center.

  Initial performance audits of West Virginia schools will begin Monday as part of a new statewide assessment program.

The audits involve onsite visits of all schools by the Office of Education Performance Audits over the next two years. They will provide Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the state Legislature and the West Virginia Board of Education an overall view of performance.

ACT

  The average score of West Virginia students taking the ACT college entrance exam remained the same for the fourth straight year.

The state Department of Education says overall test scores in West Virginia this year averaged 20.6.

Students showed a slight improvement in reading scores at 21.4. Scores were unchanged in science at 20.6 and math at 19.5, while English scores dipped slightly to 20.4.

Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

Education officials took steps this week to strengthen the partnership between the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

The West Virginia Board of Education approved an agreement and contract this week for leasing between the entities. 

Earlier this year, the board accepted a proposal to reclassify workers at the schools for the deaf and blind to be residential care specialists beginning next July.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Fayette County is regaining partial control of its school system.

The West Virginia Board of Education unanimously voted to give the county partial control related to school policies. The board held its regular monthly meeting Wednesday and Thursday at Greenbrier East Middle School.

The board took over the school system in 2010 after the Office of Education Performance Audits found serious curriculum and facility problems.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a ceiling collapse caused the indefinite closure of one Randolph County school, the state Board of Education approved a waiver to allow students in the area to exceed set limits for the amount of time they can spend on a bus.

Randolph County Superintendent Terry George asked for the waiver Wednesday that would allow Harman School students to go to Elkins area schools about 26 miles from the facility. 

Michael Martirano
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia's new schools superintendent will report for work on Sept. 15.

The state Board of Education hired Michael Martirano this summer to replace the retiring Jim Phares.

Martirano was superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools in Maryland. The Charleston Daily Mail reports he was contractually obligated there until September.

Martirano will earn an annual salary of $230,000. The state board had lobbied the Legislature to remove the $175,000 salary cap for the position.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Surface Mine Board held its first day long hearing in the case of Keystone Industries' KD Mine No. 2, a mine situated near the boundary of Kanawha State Forest. In the first day, appellant presented evidence and testimony about why the permit should be revoked.

The Allegheny Front's Julie Grant discusses how climate change could be linked to the changing make up of forests in Appalachia and educators gather at Marshall University to discuss reforming the state's education system.  

The American Legion is sending representatives to North Central West Virginia this week to help veterans better understand the benefits available to them. A group on Charleston's West Side is working on narrowing down ways they can revive the urban neighborhood. An education summit in Morgantown was focused on redefining college for West Virginia students, and Marie Manilla, a Huntington native, talks about her new book "Patron Saint of Ugly."  

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