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Martirano pushes 'stay the course' attitude

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Martirano pushes 'stay the course' attitude
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano says education will continue to improve in West Virginia’s public schools if everyone stays the course.

Announcements the past two weeks have shown some modest improvement in test scores, including the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the ACT and Martirano has also celebrated Mineral County’s 97 percent graduation rate.

Martirano’s five-year strategic plan is focused on consistency in attendance, academics, reading levels, the quality of teachers with the ultimate goal that every child graduate.

“If you keep those very clear, crisp goals that are very attainable or schools to reach–you keep those as the focus and you don’t change every year–we will see great things happen,” Martirano predicted.

State lawmakers have spent significant time during the last two legislative sessions on education issues. Martirano believes fewer changes are better.

“A process of communicating those (attainable goals) with a level of consistency, a level of firmness and sharing that out within our administrative ranks as well as our teacher rank and file. It’s about staying the course and not shifting the priorities every year,” he said.

Every school system could learn from Mineral County, Martirano said.

“There’s a culture of belief that all students can and will learn. There is no such thing as a throwaway child,” he said.

Mineral County also does not compromise when it comes to qualified teachers. The county also has early invention with students showing signs of struggling, Martirano said.

“It’s an initiative that engages the faculty around problem-solving learning communities where they are looking at the student data and they are intervening when children are not achieving at the highest level,” he said.

There’s also a component that engages parents.

“A child only spends 10 percent of his or her time in school, 90 percent of that time is spent in families and communities. They engage the parents in a 24/7, 365-day approach toward learning where learning is part of the culture,” Martirano said.