Schools set accountability goals

WHEELING – New rules brought new challenges when the West Virginia Department of Education approved a new accountability system in May.

On Thursday, representatives from the West Virginia Board of Education, Regional Education Service Agency 6 and schools within the agency’s coverage area gathered to talk face-to-face about the new system.

The new accountability system includes five categories for schools based on a list of targets and learning goals. Schools are identified as being success, transition, focus, support or priority schools.

RESA 6 Director Nick Zervos said he has already found flaws with the new system which need to be remedied.

One example, he said, is that all students are expected to be capable of meeting state standards within their subgroups by third grade.

“If the goal is to keep students on grade, there needs to be something in place for that,” Zervos said. “What is being done in first and second grade? I just think there needs to be something formalized for that.”

Zervos also pointed to the presence of drugs in newborn children, some of whom are born addicted to certain narcotics without any choice. He said in some cases the learning gaps between different subgroups are growing.

“If you know what the target is, you can hit it, but if you don’t know what the target is, then you’re guessing,” Zervos said.

Timothy Butcher, assessment and accountability coordinator for the West Virginia Board of Education, promised to go over all aspects of the accountability program with administrators until the objectives were clear, which administrators said they appreciate.

“We appreciate the members of the West Virginia Board of Education meeting with administrators from Ohio County Schools and all RESA 6 schools to provide us with a deeper understanding of the new accountability system,” said Ohio County Schools Superintendent Dianna Vargo.