School board asks feds for break from testing
The Morgan County school board voted in favor of resolution calling for a temporary halt to official school testing under the No Child Left Behind Act while the West Virginia Department of Education prepares teachers for more rigorous test standards.
School officials backed the Assessment Moratorium Resolution on the recommendation of Superintendent David Banks, who said nearly every county in the state was sending the same resolution to state officials.
The document seeks help from the state to place Morgan County schools in a Safe Harbor status for a year or two, giving the county a chance to adjust to rising benchmarks.
Schools across the nation are expected to show that more and more of their students have achieved mastery of common skills in each grade level.
The school board's resolution notes: The reauthorization and subsequent funding of No Child Left Behind Act has not yet taken place at the Federal level.
Superintendent Banks said Morgan County isn't asking for special treatment when it comes to testing.
Assistant Superintendent Joan Willard said new assessment tests for local students will coincide with a higher level of standards and objectives imposed by federal education officials. Most West Virginia counties will struggle to generate higher test scores unless they have time to prepare for new standards, Willard said.
The December 9 school board meeting took place at Greenwood Elementary as part of the board's move to alternate meetings at each county school for the next few months.
Greenwood Elementary Principal Barbara Miller presented the first Local School Improvement Council report of the year, highlighting the achievements and needs of students at the county's smallest school.
Forty-eight students attend Greenwood in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade. Teachers Robert Nixon, Donna Meyer and Melissa Nixon instruct multiple grades in each of the school's three main classrooms.
Miller said Greenwood was recently awarded a $4,500 grant from the state for supplies, materials and equipment. The staff hopes to buy an interactive board for each class to focus on computer skills for all students.
New programs at the school will focus on math scores, which fall below state targets. Reading scores are above target, said Miller.
PASS volunteer Gerald Chaskes described the school as warm and inviting. He has worked with students as a volunteer for nearly 10 years.
Miller said the school still needs a safety zone in front of the building to slow traffic. She said the parking lot needs better lighting, and the school bathrooms need new sanitary fixtures and general updating.
The school board will meet next on January 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Pleasant View Elementary.