Public Education

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."  

Cecelia Mason

The process of implementing a new performance-based system for accrediting the state's public schools will begin in September.

The Dominion Post reports the state Office of Educational Performance Audits will conduct on-site reviews in each of Monongalia County's public schools in mid-September. Schools across the state will be reviewed over the next two years.
 

The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to return control to Preston County Schools but, the return of control comes with some conditions. A non-profit organization in Princeton is working to improve the community by renovating a theatre.  The legend of the steel-driving man John Henry will soon have a home at a museum in the folklore hero's hometown of Talcott.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state board of education declared a state of emergency in Preston County in 2009 and as part of their intervention, seized decision making authority from the county.

Everything from finances to the school calendar, hiring to curriculum, all were set at the state level. But that oversight will officially end August 1 after a unanimous vote from the board yesterday.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state Board of Education heard from child care workers at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Wednesday morning about an upcoming change in their job requirements. The board decided in March those workers will now be required to obtain an associates degree.

The 35 workers who currently hold positions at the Romney schools have until 2018 to obtain a degree, but there’s no guarantee even then that they will keep their jobs.

Michael Martirano
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia got a glimpse of its newly appointed superintendent of schools Tuesday when Dr. Michael Martirano was introduced to a crowd of state employees and members of the media.

The appointment comes more than year into Governor Tomblin’s mission to strengthen public education in the state.

West Virginia Association of School Administrators

The West Virginia Association of School Administrators says Pendleton County Superintendent Doug Lambert has been named West Virginia Superintendent of the Year.  Lambert is president of the organization.

Lambert will represent West Virginia in the National Superintendent of the Year competition in San Diego in February.

Construction of a new $12 million elementary school in McDowell County is expected to begin after crews stabilize a riverbank that partially collapsed earlier this year.

Superintendent Nelson Spencer tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that demolition of the old Iaeger Elementary School has been completed. He says large rocks from the construction area are being used to help stabilize the bank.
 

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The State Board of Education's choice to oversee West Virginia's public schools is offering a glimpse at his educational priorities.

The board will vote next week on the appointment of Michael Martirano. If approved, he is expected to begin work in the fall.

St. Mary's County Public Schools

The West Virginia Department of Education will soon have a new leader in Dr. Michael Martirano.

State Board President Gayle Manchin made the announcement of his likely nomination and approval Wednesday evening through a press release.

West Virginia Department of Education

West Virginia Board of Education members unanimously approved a new schools chief who will take the post starting next week. On June 30, current Superintendent Dr. James Phares will retire, but the man filling his shoes is a familiar face to the department.

Board members voted to put current Deputy Superintendent Charles Heinlein in the position, with the understanding that when a new, ling-term chief is hired, he will return to his current job and current salary.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares announced his retirement in April, but last week, presented his final report to the state Board. In it, he recounted his accomplishments in leading the state’s education system forward, but also gave a warning about what work must continue in order to truly impact student achievement.

Some of the biggest accomplishments during his 18 month tenure included the passage and implementation of Senate Bill 359, the Governor’s Education Reform Act.

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