CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—A report was released by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) called the “Special Circumstance Review Report of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind (WVSDB). A review conducted in April by the WVDE Office of Support and Accountability found issues of non-compliance in many key focus areas.
Throughout the 2020 school year, a change in administration caused the WVDE to provide support to the faculty at the WVSDB, which currently houses 93 students and 24 teachers. Further supports were needed in personnel, transportation, finance, special education and the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP), which were all reasons for the Special Circumstance Review.
A team of 21 staff members conducted this review through 49 classroom observations, 29 instructional staff interviews, multiple classroom visits, a tour of facilities and a thorough examination of student files and financial records between April 27 – 29, 2021.
The investigation uncovered multiple areas of non-compliance in the focus areas of:
- Student Care
- Special Education
- Financial Indicators and Purchasing Compliance
Students’ social-emotional support needs were not being adequately met, and improvements needed to be made to professional development and leadership infrastructure at the school. Improvements also need to be made in documentation, family communication, and the utilization and maintenance of facilities.
The WVSDB will create an action plan based on the recommendations from the report in order to address the shortcomings and needs of the school. Part of this plan will include consolidating two schools, which will increase opportunities for them to interact with peers and have better access to services. Parents and community members will be met with more communication and engagement, and short courses providing intensive training will be made available across all of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
“We will always focus on what is best for the children of our state, especially those in vulnerable circumstances,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Miller Hall. “The Board is committed to the process of restoring the vision and mission of the school so that it can best serve this important role. It is going to take some time; however, it is essential that we understand the magnitude of the issues in order to begin implementing the necessary measures.”
“My staff and I are dedicated to supporting the WVSDB in addressing the deficiencies outlined in the report,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “We will begin with immediate concerns in the process of transforming the school to become a center for excellence in the education of West Virginia students who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/low vision. This is the start of an intensive and deliberative process for the school that serves an important role in our state.”
Technical assistance will be provided by the Instructional Resource Center housed at the school.
The Special Circumstance Review was conducted as outlined in W.Va. Code §18-2E-5 WVBE Policy 2322 which establishes 11 efficiency indicators necessary to provide an effective school system. The West Virginia Board of Education has received the report and instructed the State Superintendent to prepare the public report on the findings and establish an intervention team to lead efforts to implement the action plan to address areas of non-compliance.
The complete report can be found below: