CHARLESTON, W.VA. — The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) unanimously elected board member L. Paul Hardesty as president today at its monthly meeting. Hardesty, a Logan County resident, has a 30-year career in public service at the county and state level. Nancy White, board member, was elected vice-chair.
Chairman Hardesty was appointed to the Board of Trustees in December 2021. He served on the Logan County School Board and was nominated by Governor Jim Justice for an unexpired term in the West Virginia Senate (7e District). He is a managing member of business development firm PDH Business Solutions and previously served as director of the Office of Coalfield Development and legislative liaison for Governor Bob Wise. Additionally, he was a director of the Public Energy Authority and a member of Governor Joe Manchin’s legislative staff.
“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the great state of West Virginia and the children of our public school system,” said President Hardesty. “We have many important issues ahead of us and we will work tirelessly to ensure our children are prepared for the opportunities that lie ahead of them. I will start, from day one, trying to rebuild damaged relationships around the Capitol complex because, at the end of the day, we all want better educational opportunities.
The full biography of Chairman Hardesty can be found on the WVDE website.
The board also received a school safety update from members of the West Virginia State Police on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security. Last month, the WVBE requested additional information regarding ongoing collaborative efforts at the county, state, and federal levels to protect the safety of schools and students. Through an ongoing partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), Department of Homeland Security, and emergency responders, trainings will be available later this summer and fall focused on assessments of student threats and active shooter responses. State police explained that some of the offerings will not only be made available to school personnel and emergency responders, but also to members of the community.
“We need to approach school safety from multiple angles,” said state superintendent of schools W. Clayton Burch. “From creating safe and supportive school environments, to being able to quickly recognize problem areas, to the role of our emergency response partners in protecting public safety, we all have a part to play. Partners have plans in place that will also help communities understand their role in protecting schools. I believe that by keeping this issue before us, we will be able to better protect our students. »
In another action, the Council extended Lincoln County’s state of emergency for an additional six months after hearing an update from WVDE’s Office of Support and Accountability. A state of emergency was declared in November 2020. According to recent data, improvements in curriculum and supervision, special education and staff have been reported, as well as progress in the county on many short-term facility needs. Additionally, the county has made progress in streamlining financial practices and procedures to increase efficiency and reduce unnecessary expenses.
The board included additional requirements necessary for continued progress, including the Lincoln County School Board complying with student IEPs and making class schedules available by August 10, 2022. The Lincoln County reports are available on the WVDE website, and the state of emergency extension is also posted online.
The WVBE also received preliminary results from the student assessment and statewide technical career assessments. The 2021-2022 school year was the first full face-to-face school year in three years not to be interrupted by Covid-19. The West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) was not administered in 2020 due to school closures and new benchmarks were established last year (2021).
Data shows that student achievement begins to rebound in most math and English as a second language (ELA) indicators from grades 3 to 8. Gains ranging from eight points in math to six points in ELA have been reported. Additionally, vocational technical education (CTE) students continue to make progress in their NOCTI technical assessments with 59% of CTE students in West Virginia surpassing the national labor market entry score. More than 9,200 students across the state participated in the NOCTI assessment last year.
Finally, the WVBE placed several policies on public comment for 30 days. These can be viewed on the WVDE website.
Policy 6200 is being amended to include new legislative language regarding water bottle filling stations in educational facilities, pursuant to Senate Bill 246, passed in the 2022 regular legislative session. 6200 is also amended to incorporate content from Policy 6201, Flooring in Public Schools.
Policy 2445.40 is being amended to reflect changes to W.Va. Code §18-5-27 regarding the rights of parents, caregivers, and guardians to inspect educational materials, access to a list of required reading material available or in a program, and the process for filing a complaint with the county or WVDE. Changes to the adoption cycle timeline and language to clarify vendor registration are also included in the revisions.
The next regular meeting of the WVBE will be at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 10, 2022, at Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.