West Virginia Board of Education approves school closures in two counties

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved school closures and consolidations in Hampshire and Lincoln counties during its monthly meeting in Charleston today.

Hampshire County will close John J. Cornwell ahead of schedule due to accelerated enrollment decreases, safety concerns and required educational needs. The school is one of five elementary schools earmarked to close after the county passed a school construction bond in 2020, which will result in the construction of three new consolidated schools. Students will be reassigned from the closed school to Romney or Slanesville elementary schools in the interim.

The Board also approved the closure and consolidation of Duval Pre-K – 8 and Midway Elementary in Lincoln County. Students from Duval have been reassigned to other locations due to structural concerns that closed the facility in July 2021. Lincoln County plans to build a new consolidated school that will house both Duval and Midway and has submitted an application for West Virginia School Building Authority funding.

Additionally, the Board approved the 2020-2021 County Board of Education Accountability Report. Based on 11 efficiency indicators, the report addresses county board of education progress on providing a thorough and efficient education for students.

County status is reviewed and determined based on measures of student performance and county operational efficiency. However, due to COVID-19 and the lack of the West Virginia General Summative Assessment data used for accountability measures during the 2019-20 school year, Balanced Scorecard results are not reflected in the report.

Counties with identified deficiencies are actively working with West Virginia Department of Education offices to address these issues and will be moved to approval status if progress is maintained. To view the report, visit https://wvde.us/accountability/accountability-services/.

State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch also reported the official 2021-2022 certified enrollment data to the Board. There are currently 250,899 students enrolled in public schools in the state. This is down 1,458 from the 252,357 students enrolled last year. While data analysis continues, significant population loss in the state and the impact of the pandemic appear to be the drivers of the decrease in student population.

Finally, the Board placed the following policies on public comment until December 13, 2021:

Policy 2315, Comprehensive School Counseling Program will be repealed and replaced to update content to align with current terminology in the West Virginia School Counseling Model and W.Va. Code §18 5 18b.

Policy 2322, West Virginia System of Support and Accountability has been revised to clarify accountability requirements for all public schools. It will also embed requirements for county board of education member-training currently outlined in Policy 3235, Definition of Good Cause Failure to Receive School Board Training, which will be repealed. Additionally, it will embed West Virginia Report Card requirements currently outlined in Policy 7300, Better Schools Accountability: School, School Districts, and Statewide School Report Cards, which will also be repealed.

Policy 5100, Approval of Educator Preparation Programs has been revised for the purpose of adding clarifying language.

The next scheduled WVBE meeting is December 8, 2021, Suite 600, Building 6, of the West Virginia Capitol Complex, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV 25305.

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