Literacy campaign discussed at December W.Va. Board of Education Meeting

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach shared a preview of the state’s new literacy campaign, Ready, Read, Write, West Virginia during the December meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE). The plan will focus on the Science of Reading as the foundation for a back-to-basics approach to teaching literacy.

Since his appointment to the position in August, Superintendent Roach along with members of the WVBE has been committed to addressing student learning, especially in the areas of literacy, writing, and math. Through extensive discussions and meetings with county superintendents, school leadership and other instructional teams, the Superintendent and West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) leaders are learning about the challenges and opportunities occurring in classrooms across the state.

Ready, Read, Write, West Virginia utilizes the five components of the Science of Reading to build strong literacy skills in all students, from the earliest learner to the older child who needs additional support. These components include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The WVDE is providing extensive resources including professional learning for educators and administrators, support for students and families to extend learning outside of the classroom, and opportunities for partners and stakeholders to support literacy in the state.

“The power of the Science of Reading is reflected in the research. It offers proven strategies that have worked around the world,” said Superintendent Roach. “This model is centered around methods that equip children with a foundation of effective learning strategies so they can grow into strong and confident readers. Additionally, the Science of Reading can be used with older students experiencing learning gaps to equip them with skills needed to advance their learning.”

“We have to change what we are doing if we want to see different results,” said WVBE President L. Paul Hardesty. “I appreciate this renewed focus on literacy and effective teaching strategies that are rooted in us getting back to the basics of proven methods. We will keep this issue in front of us as a Board to ensure we are working collectively and with urgency to increase literacy among our students.”

The Ready, Read, Write, West Virginia campaign website and other assets will be released early next year, however, Superintendent Roach has provided a short series of videos to assist families in supporting literacy skills at home, especially during school holidays and breaks. These family tips are available on the WVDE YouTube channel.

The Board also discussed the 2022 West Virginia School Discipline Report that was presented during the July meeting. The WVDE has worked with counties to share discipline data so that local leaders understand information and trends and develop comprehensive approaches to student discipline. As next steps, the Board has instructed the WVDE to expand the scope and depth of the report to provide a more detailed analysis of challenges that exist at the county and school levels. Updates to the report will be presented to the Board in spring 2023.

Finally, revisions to WVBE Policy 2419 were discussed and recommended for public review.

This policy is West Virginia’s implementation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It was recently revised and went into effect on Nov. 14, 2022. The omission of language in Chapter 4 and terminology inconsistent with IDEA in Chapter 9 dictates that updates are necessary to these two sections to correct current state and federal language.

The policy has been placed on public comment for 30 days and may be reviewed at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is 9 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.

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