Prepared by WV Professional Educator’s
Executive Director David Gladkosky
The following is a summary of the last WV State Board of Education meeting, held on Jan. 10, for your consideration.
Delegations: Executive Director David Gladkosky presented WVPE’s five goals for the legislative session. These include:
- Educators hired since July 2015 and every educator who is in retirement plan “Tier II” should have the option to convert their unused sick days into years of service or for insurance premiums.
- Teacher salaries and incentives should be increased to attract and retain new educators, and to be competitive with salaries offered in neighboring states.
- To meet the needs of an ever-growing number of special education students, our special education teacher base and associated supports must be increased.
- Retirees in the West Virginia Teachers Retirement System and the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement system need to be properly compensated with a cost-of-living increase in their monthly pension checks.
- Discipline protocols, as mandated by HB 2890 (relating to authority of teachers and other school personnel for the discipline of students), need to be revisited to address effective, consistent implementation.
School Safety Update: Jonah Adkins of the WVDE started this report by stating that all community members and school personnel must remain vigilant at all times. Training is continuing for county superintendents and safety response teams on county safety drill plans offered by the Office of Homeland Security. A training on human trafficking will take place on Jan. 18, through the West Virginia Fusion Center.
County Technical Assistance Update: Jeffrey Kelley of the WVDE provided the Board with snapshots of the assistance given to counties in recent months. Assistance has been provided to 45 Local Education Agencies (LEA’s) in the areas of child nutrition, special education, career and technical education, county finance offices, and federal program staffing requirements. With ESSER monies running out this September, the WVDE is also working with counties in securing and managing funds to replace that source.
Consent Agenda/Routine Business:
- Approval was given for a waiver request for Policy 2444.4 section 3.1, requiring Mountaineer Challenge Academy applicants to pass an approved practice test with minimal scores.
- Approval for the employment of substitute teams in areas of critical need and short was given to Braxton, Hardy, and Summers Counties.
- Approval for the employment of retired bus operators as substitutes in areas of critical need
and shortage was given to Braxton and Jackson Counties.
- Affidavits and a request from Berkeley County were received and approved for employment of eight substitute teachers and seven bus operators.
- Approval was given to Marion County to amend its 2020-2030 CEFP to include consolidation of Pleasant Valley and East Park Elementary Schools.
- Approval was given to the EEPRB’s recommendation for Concord University’s addition of a Clinical Teacher of Record program with Summers County.
- The West Virginia Licensure Testing Directory, with changes to reflect updates to policy and exams, was approved.
- Approval was given for the 2024 training sessions, provided by WV Board of Education and the School Board Association, for county board members.
- Statewide Waiver of Policy 8200, Purchasing Policies and Procedures for Local LEA’s: Uriah Cummings, Director of School Finance, proposed the change to allow county boards to have a five-year approval for textbook/digital resources.
- Special Circumstance Review Report of Philippi Middle School, Barbour County: Alexandra Criner, WVDE Office of Accountability, shared a report outlining 22 findings and action steps. Barbour County requested this assistance. Philippi Middle School serves approximately 275 students in grade 5-8. The WVDE Office of Accountability conducted 44 classroom observations, teacher, student, and administrator interviews and analyzed school-level data. The county superintendent and school principal have been in their current positions since July 2023, and most of the issues precede them. Areas to be addressed include student safety, school improvement process, access to a school counselor, instructional strategies for student engagement, special education compliance, and discipline. Barbour County Superintendent Ed Vincent spoke and reported that his staff was cooperating fully and are committed to solving these non-compliances.
WVDE Reports: Erika Klose, WVDE Coordinator, PK-12 Academic Support, shared an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Guidance Document entitled: Guidance, Consideration and Intentions for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in West Virginia Schools, which can be accessed at https://wvde.us/ai/. West Virginia is the third state in the country to develop AI guidance for PK-12 education use. The rapid growth of these tools has left educators around the world confused and conflicted about how AI should be used to generate productive learning environments. West Virginia’s guidance assists the public school community to develop best practices to use AI for instructional purposes and broader district operations.
It also includes a plan of action that: reinforces that people are in control; advances educator comfort with AI; clarifies ethical uses; aligns AI with existing frameworks; encourages the use of AI; upholds academic integrity; safeguards students’ privacy; equips educators; facilitates dialogue.
The responsible application of AI can lead to: individualized learning experiences; improved accessibility for diverse learning needs; streamlined administration tasks; instantaneous feedback; acquisition of necessary skills for the 21st century, including computer science and date literacy.
The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is 9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14, in Building 6, Suite 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV.