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Several state BOE policies out on comment

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By WVEA Communications Staff

During its April 9-10 meeting, the state Board of Education placed five proposed policy changes on 30-day public comment, including one (Policy 2320) that details a new A-F school grading policy.

The A-F grading policy, which Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered the state board to craft in January, has already led to debate among board members.

For instance, state board member Bill White believes A-F could unfairly burden some schools that are working to improve student achievement. He’s concerned it’s going to be one more thing they have to deal with, and one more obstacle to pulling these schools up “out of their condition.”

He also cited concerns in states like Virginia and Oklahoma, where he said teaching to the test occurred in an effort to make the grade. White, who lives in Mercer County, also said some teachers in neighboring Virginia are not happy with the A-F model. He believes that being labeled an “F” school wouldn’t provide the spark to improve that school.

But state board President Gayle Manchin, who favors A-F grading, believes communities will be “offended” if their school receives a low grade and will rally to improve it. She and other board members say the old model of labeling schools as “success, transition, support, focus or priority” is not clear to the public.      

To read this policy or comment on it, click this link

Also, a second policy’s revisions (Policy 5202) would give West Virginia teachers already certified in one area eligibility to teach in an additional area of certification if they can earn a passing score on the appropriate content area test. This policy change is meant to help out in shortage areas. The revisions also would add an “Early Childhood Classroom Assistant Teacher Authorization” to policy, and make the Technology Integration Specialist Advanced Credential become a permanent credential.      

Changes also were proposed to Policy 2525, which guides universal pre-kindergarten.

They include revisions that address Senate Bill 359 requirements for program availability, such as hours of instruction per day, days of operation, and a pre-k school calendar in preparation for full-day, five-day programs by the 2016-17 school year.

The 2525 revisions also address fiscal reports and other requirements that pre-k programs must submit to the WVDE Office of Early Learning, according to the proposed changes.

The board’s proposed revisions also include minor edits to Policy 2510: Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education Programs. Further, changes to Policy 5100 are meant to reflect current PRAXIS exam requirements, including the minimum scores necessary on PRAXIS exams.

Read or comment on any of the policies here.