Liz McCormick Published

State Of Emergency Declared For Hampshire County Special Education

School desk and chairs in empty modern classroom. Empty class room with white board and projector in elementary school. Primary classroom with smart board and alphabet on wall.Rido/Adobe Stock

The West Virginia Board of Education has issued a state of emergency for Special Education Services in Hampshire County Schools. 

The West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Accountability conducted a Special Circumstance Review in September of Hampshire County Schools following a “lack of progress” over a three-year period on an improvement plan that was developed for the county. 

That plan included increased monitoring and technical assistance from the state, but the state board said sufficient progress wasn’t made during that time. 

The September review identified issues with administrative processes, incomplete, incorrect or out-of-date Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and inconsistencies in special education curriculum across the county. 

The review also identified inexperienced, uncertified or long-term substitute teachers in special education roles. And three schools in the county do not have any certified special education teachers. The review noted, however, that the county reported finding it challenging to recruit and retain certified staff.

State Superintendent of Schools Michele Blatt was directed by the state board to appoint designees who will coordinate on-site school improvement efforts. 

The county will have six months from the time it receives recommendations to make changes before the state board considers additional action, according to a news release.

This designation joins recent state of emergencies issued by the West Virginia Board of Education in Upshur and Logan County Schools. Both school systems were taken over by the state board after investigations by the West Virginia Department of Education discovered financial misconduct.