By Dianne Weaver

An audit conducted at Calhoun Middle-High School and Calhoun schools last fall by the state's Office of Education Performance Audits has been released by Calhoun Schools.

The audit comes after Calhoun ranked at the bottom of the 55 county school systems in academic achievement based on No Child Left Behind standards.

The NCLB law is considered to be a flop nationwide in improving student achievement, with West Virginia and other states seeking a waiver from its standards.

Calhoun Middle-High Schools has failed to meet NCLB standards four of the last five years.

The West Virginia school system has been coming up near the bottom in nationwide evaluations of student outcomes, with a recent state audit giving a critical analysis of the state system.

The long-awaited state audit's summary says that Calhoun Middle/High School has not demonstrated the capacity to correct previously identified deficiencies and improve achievement for students.

Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Roger Propst said it focuses on critical shortcomings within the system.

"We are taking it very seriously," he said, indicating he would comment more following a review with the State Board of Education next Wednesday.

Propst said they have been no indication the county system will be taken over by the state.

The audit team had an optimistic note, saying they "believed that through a sustained effort by all teachers to keep curriculum and instruction on target, that student achievement will improve."

The audit praised the change making Kelli Whytsell as the Principal of Instruction, saying she is very capable of leading, "but the school's administrative structure will need to be clear and understood by administrators and all school staff."

The audit team was concerned that all 'subgroups' failed to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress, which measures the academic performance of students, except in the economically disadvantaged subgroup in reading/language arts.

The audit said that teachers had planned well and were providing instruction, but in most instances the instruction lacked rigor and did not challenge students.

"A number of teachers did not exhibit high expectations for all students ... that the school has not fully embraced and applied," special assistance given it by RESA.

The Office of School Improvement will be contacting the school regarding the necessary revisions of the Five-Year School Strategic Plan and providing assistance through the West Virginia Department of Education State System of Support.


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