|COMMENTS by Roger Propst, Calhoun Superintendent of Schools|
Propst issued comments regarding recently released OPEA findings following a visit to Calhoun Middle-High School )and Arnoldsburg/Pleasant Hill Elementary), which CM-HS failed to meet yearly progress under No Child Left Behind standards for four of the last five years and resulted with the school ranking 55th in WV counties regarding academic outcomes:
Based upon the results of the Education Performance Audits and the revised strategic plans, the Office of Education Performance Audits recommends that the West Virginia Board of Education approve the reports and the revised strategic plans and direct Calhoun County and the schools to correct the findings noted in the reports by the next accreditation cycle and improve student, school, and school district student performance.
The Calhoun County Board of Education was a well-functioning board in which meetings were conducted according to State Code, West Virginia Board of Education policies, and county policies. Board members were knowledgeable of and practiced good board membership. Board meeting minutes verified that public meeting protocols were followed, meetings were conducted in a professional and respectful manner, and the board was transparent in its actions.
The Team interviewed all five Calhoun County Board of Education members, the Superintendent of Calhoun County Schools, the Director of School Improvement, and the Calhoun Middle/High School Principal of Instruction. The Team also reviewed the Calhoun County Policy Manual and two years of Board meeting minutes.
Board members and the superintendent expressed pride in the teamwork of the county board and superintendent and expressed determination to improve the academic performance of students attending Calhoun County's schools.
The Calhoun County Board of Education members and the county superintendent were fully aware of the problem with two schools not achieving AYP and the third school achieving AYP through the confidence interval. The board and superintendent demonstrated major commitment to improve by reorganizing the Calhoun Middle/High School administration configuration to include a Principal of Instruction and providing on-going embedded professional development opportunities based on student needs.
Calhoun Middle/High School established a Student Leadership Team in 2010-2011. The school partnered with PB&J Consultants and Ohio State University to facilitate student leadership roles in the school. Fifty students in grades 6-12 were selected to participate in this student team which is led by the school counselor.
Students will participate in eight workshops throughout the 2011-2012 school year. The students selected for this team represented a cross section of the student population, including at risk and targeted students. Forty of the 50 students selected continued the leadership team this year (2011-2012).
They participated in workshops focusing on developing individual leadership, communication, professional skills, and a commitment to their school and community. Developing these skills will build a foundation for long-term school climate and culture change at Calhoun Middle/High School.
As you know, I will be conducting a 10:00 a.m. press briefing at the Board Office on Friday, March 16, 2012, to discuss the report comprehensively, and answer any questions presented.
The State Board will have acted on the report on Wednesday, and that information will be available at that time. In addition, I plan to issue a press release from the Superintendent's office detailing the corrective actions in progress, and those already completed.
The Calhoun County Board of Education, administrative staff, school administration, faculty and staff of all three schools are committed to the proposition that student learning and achievement is the number one priority of this school system, and will pursue that goal with diligence and perseverance.
Education is not a passive experience, but rather one of active participation. We actively seek the input of all citizens of Calhoun County in addition to parents and families of students, in offering advice and encouraging our young people to always strive to do the best they can in all aspects of their education, academics first, extracurricular and social aspects secondary.
I am confident that we will succeed in these efforts.
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