Chris Schulz Published

State Superintendent Outlines New Literacy Campaign

Books! Abhi Sharma

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBOE) held its final meeting of the year Wednesday morning, and was presented with a new plan.

State Superintendent of Schools David Roach spent more than 30 minutes outlining the state’s new literacy campaign, called ‘Ready, Read, Write West Virginia’ to aggressively address low academic achievement across the state.

“As I’ve said before, our task is not only to improve our West Virginia education system to levels before the pandemic, but also to take bolder action to elevate and lead the nation in our work,” Roach said. “We know it all begins with literacy, and students who cannot read become adults who struggle to succeed. Literacy and reading have an immeasurable impact.”

West Virginia had some of the lowest math and reading scores in the nation on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, released in October.

Roach outlined eight actions the West Virginia Department of Education will take as part of the campaign. They include expanding career technical programs into middle school, a renewed focus on recruiting, supporting and retaining teachers and principals and building relationships at the state and local levels.

“It must be a part of our culture, as a department of education, as county boards of education, as individual schools, local communities, and as a state as a whole. This is a job beyond the ability of one state agency,” he said. “Instead, we must all work together to make literacy a priority. I am committed to working with anyone willing to support the crucial work of what we’re trying to do.”

Since his appointment in August, Roach has made a return to educational fundamentals a priority.

“When you appointed me to this position, we agreed on a common vision and goal for public education. We needed to get back to the basics of teaching, we needed to focus on reading, writing and math. And we had to do it with purpose and with urgency.”

According to Roach, the ‘Ready, Read, Write West Virginia’ will also implement and expand existing state programs, like First Lady Cathy Justice’s ‘Communities in Schools’ (CIS) initiative.

“We always talk about the overload that the teacher has, they have to have the basic needs met of the student, before they can even learn, and CIS does that,” he said. “That’s what we need in every school that helps the principal and our teachers to teach and take things off their plate.”