State BOE tells school districts to devise plans for improving math scores

KINGWOOD — The State Board of Education is telling local school districts to devise plans for improving math scores, the Preston County Board of Education (BOE) was told this week.

State Superintendent Steve Paine said during his State of Education address in July that state schools have, “fought against unsatisfactory math achievement for far too long, and we have developed a comprehensive plan to address this.”

So far, the plan is the responsibility of county school districts, Preston Superintendent Steve Wotring said Monday, after Preston BOE Member Jeff Zigray asked about it.

The state is looking at Math For Life as a five-year program, Wotring said. “Using the term program loosely. It is not a program. What they’re saying is I’ve got to get our staff together. We have to develop a five-year plan to improve mathematics. The state didn’t purchase a program or they’re not giving us a program.”

An outline was provided that says, “year one, first semester, fill in the blank,” and so on for five years, Wotring said. And everything is marked “draft” that the county has received from the state.

“We’ve been given no direction on how to do anything,” Wotring said.

Board President Jack Keim expressed concern that there could be 55 different plans to teach math in the 55 counties. “How does that help the state come together?” he asked.

“It’s called local control. They want us to make those decisions,” Wotring responded. “They want us to make decisions for what we feel is best for our students.”

That’s fine, Keim said, but what happens if Preston’s students don’t do as well as those in other counties?

“Every county is different,” Wotring said. “We’ll communicate with other counties…I don’t think it will be done totally in isolation.”

Board member Robert “Mac” McCrum asked when scores from standardized testing done in the spring will be available? Those scores will show how Preston students scored in math and other subjects, compared to the rest of the state. Wotring said he and principals can see the raw data online now.

The state now has to go through and finalize the data. By, “Sept. 6 they are to have it all done,” Wotring said. “They are to release the final numbers to the superintendents.” Those results will be embargoed until Sept. 12, he said.

“A convoluted process,” Wotring said, noting the county’s Lead Technology Integration Specialist Darla Moyers has had weekly webinars on the procedures.

“I can tell you that [based on] initial reports we have some schools we think did well. We have some schools we think didn’t do so well,” Wotring said.

The board will meet in special session at 8 a.m. Monday to finalize personnel for the 2018-2019 school year. Bus schedules and other information are available at prestonboe.com.

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