CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) heard an update on the state’s discipline data during its May meeting in Charleston. The information provides details on student discipline referrals, in-school suspensions and out-of-school suspensions from the 2022 school year.
The update is a part of the ongoing efforts of the WVBE and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) to understand discipline practices at the school level and the impact they have on student learning and overall well-being.
The data show that several subgroups of students in West Virginia continue to have disproportionate rates of discipline referrals and suspensions. Students in foster care, African American students, children from low-income homes, homeless students as well as those with disabilities are among those experiencing the most disproportionality.
The WVDE review of data found in the 2022 school year, nearly 67,000 suspensions among all students led to nearly 178,000 lost instructional days. Also, 56% of students referred for discipline were suspended that school year.
In 2022, West Virginia had 263,486 students enrolled in a total of 683 schools in 55 school districts.
Additionally, several student subgroups were suspended at higher rates than the general school population. This includes 64% of African American students that were referred for disciplinary action being suspended along with 60% of those from low-income homes, 73% of students in foster care, 60% of homeless students and 65% of students with disabilities. In total, 65% of all students suspended for more than 10 days were from low-income homes. Of the suspensions among all students, 51% were in-school and 49% were out-of-school.
The WVDE has outlined several recommendations in response to the data including increased training, increased resources and transparency, and recommended policy changes. The Office of Leadership Development and Support plans to require all new school administrators to attend the West Virginia School Leadership Network; create a public-facing discipline data dashboard on the WVDE website that allows anyone to review school-level discipline information and activities; and it recommends the WVBE revisit Policy 4373 to reconsider discipline levels, definitions and identified behaviors while also encouraging alternatives to exclusion.
The school discipline update is available on the WVDE website.
The WVBE also received an update on the Clay County Special Circumstance Review. The WVDE Office of Accountability began the review on Nov. 30, 2022, after receiving official complaints regarding County Board of Education actions and student performance. This led to an investigation of instructional leadership, executive leadership, school improvement processes, financial indicators and purchasing procedures, and the operation of federal programs in the county. During the May WVBE meeting, members approved the addition of two focus areas: Personnel and County Board of Education Member Effectiveness.
The WVDE will continue to assist the county as it addresses findings and areas of noncompliance, and to evaluate progress in the identified areas. To view the report and update, visit the WVDE Office of Accountability and Assessment’s webpage.
The Board also considered policy revisions that have been placed on public comment for 30 days. These include:
Policy 5901 was placed on public comment during the April WVBE meeting to align program eligibility criteria with newly approved exemptions of the West Virginia Licensure Testing Directory. Further amendments were required as a result of provisions in House Bill 3035 passed during the 2023 West Virginia Legislative session. Policy 5901 has been amended from its previous version and has, again, been placed on comment.
In accordance with Senate Bill 51, also passed during the 2023 regular session, Policy 6204 is being amended to include statutory language changes regarding the requirement for impact statements. Additionally, the amended policy enhances, clarifies and technically corrects requirements that guide the development and dissemination of documents that support school closure or consolidation proposals.
Principals of member schools in the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) submit revisions to rules and regulations each year. The submitted proposals are presented and voted upon at the annual Board of Control meeting. Any approved changes are then submitted to the WVBE for its review and approval. The proposed amendments are brought forth to keep the WVSSAC current and updated on changes, trends and issues in the band and athletic programs. This year, 27 proposals were submitted by member schools for consideration; 22 proposals were approved. Series 2 is being further amended to comply with recent legislative action. Series 1 through 4 will be posted for public comment.
Policies may be reviewed, and comments may be posted on the WVDE website.
The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is 9 a.m., Wed., June 14, 2023, in Building 6, Suite 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.