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State BOE Adjusts Teacher Licensing Requirements, Lifts Lincoln State Of Emergency

classroom Arria Belli

The West Virginia Board of Education (BOE) waived some of the minimum professional licensing requirements for prospective teachers Wednesday to help them eventually become fully licensed and enter the workforce.

The waivers adjust some of the minimum requirements in current BOE policy – specifically with regards to Policy 5202, which outlines said requirements for licensure, and Policy 5100, which outlines the process for educator preparation program approval.

It allows student and resident teachers who haven’t scored high enough on their content praxis exams to work in a supervised placement. The teachers must still maintain a minimum grade point average and attempt the exam at least twice.

Office of Certification director Robert Hagerman says the idea is to allow those who might be struggling with the exams more time.

“We’re giving these individuals the ability to be in the classroom while they’re honing their skills, to be able to acquire additional skills to be successful in completing those requirements, or demonstrate those requirements in a different way with those multiple measures,” Hagerman said.

If they’re unable to pass the content exam during the placement, teachers can still work under a temporary license. They would have to pass either the exam or their teacher performance assessment by the end of the year to make it permanent.

Also addressed during the meeting was the state of Lincoln County Schools, with the BOE moving to remove the state of emergency in the county.

The board initially issued a state of emergency in November 2020, and has extended it three times, most recently in July of 2022. An initial review found students were below average in math and reading.

The state of emergency was lifted after a progress report and recommendation from Matt Hicks, the West Virginia Department of Education’s Director of Accountability.

“It’s not time to get complacent for Lincoln County,” Hicks said. “The focus on academic achievement still needs to be at the forefront of all decision making in Lincoln County Schools. They’ve been doing a nice job addressing academic achievement but they still have a very long way to go. I don’t want this presentation to state that they are exactly where they need to be.”

He cited the creation of a curriculum team and instructional coach positions, protocols for new Individualized Education Programs, addressing short-term facilities needs like the replacement of HVAC systems, and long-term projects like the construction of a new school in the Duval area as reasons for the status to be lifted.

Alongside the Lincoln County update, the BOE also heard a report on the Clay County Board of Education. This followed a special circumstance review of the agency after the contract with the county’s former superintendent was terminated. Nine findings and three noncompliances were discovered, according to the report.