(1) Well-educated children and families are essential for maintaining safe and economically sound communities;
(2) Low student achievement is associated with increased delinquent behavior, higher drug use and pregnancy rates, and higher unemployment and adult incarceration rates;
(3) Each year, more students enter school with circumstances in their lives that schools are ill-prepared to accommodate;
(4) Ensuring access for all students to the rigorous curriculum they deserve requires effective teaching strategies that include, but are not limited to, using a variety of instructional approaches, using varied curriculum materials, engaging parent and community involvement and support in the educational process, and providing the professional development, support and leadership necessary for an effective school; and
(5) The achievement of all students can be dramatically improved when schools focus on factors within their control, such as the instructional day, curriculum and teaching practices.
(b) The purpose of this section is to provide for the establishment of a special five-year demonstration professional development school project to improve the academic achievement of all children. The program shall be under the direction of the state superintendent and shall be for a period of five years beginning with the two thousand four - two thousand five school year. The intent of this section is to provide a special demonstration environment wherein the public schools included in the demonstration project may work in collaboration with higher education, community organizations and the state board to develop and implement strategies that may be replicated in other public schools with significant enrollments of disadvantaged, minority and under-achieving students to improve academic achievement. For this purpose, the state superintendent has the following powers and duties with respect to the demonstration project:
(1) To select for participation in the demonstration project three public elementary or middle schools with significant enrollments of disadvantaged, minority and under-achieving students in each county in which the number of the African American students is five percent or more of the total second month enrollment;
(2) To require cooperation from the county board of the county wherein a demonstration project school is located to facilitate program implementation and avoid any reallocation of resources for the schools that are disproportionate with those for other schools of the county of similar classification, accreditation status and federal Title I identification;
(3) To require specialized training and knowledge of the needs, learning styles and strategies that will most effectively improve the performance of disadvantaged, minority and under-achieving students in demonstration project schools. These powers include, but not limited to, the authority to craft job descriptions with requirements regarding training and experience and the right to specify job duties which are related to job performance that reflect the mission of the demonstration project school;
(4) To provide specifications and direct the county board to post the positions for school personnel employed at the demonstration project school that encompass the special qualifications and any additional duties that will be required of the personnel as established in the job descriptions authorized pursuant to subdivision (3) of this section. The assertion that the job descriptions and postings are narrowly defined may not be used as the basis for the grievance of an employment decision for positions at a demonstration project school;
(5) To direct the department of education, the center for professional development and the regional educational service agency to provide any technical assistance and professional development necessary for successful implementation of the demonstration school programs, including, but not limited to, any early intervention or other programs of the department to assist low performing schools;
(6) To collaborate and enter into agreements with colleges and universities willing to assist with efforts at a demonstration school to improve student achievement, including, but not limited to, the operation of a professional development school program model: Provided, That the expenditure of any funds appropriated for the state board or department for this purpose shall be subject to approval of the state board;
(7) To require collaboration with local community organizations to improve student achievement and increase the involvement of parents and guardians in improving student achievement;
(8) To provide for an independent evaluation of the demonstration school project, its various programs and their effectiveness on improving student academic achievement; and
(9) To recommend to the state board and the county board the waiver of any of their respective policies that impede the implementation of demonstration school programs.
(c) The state superintendent shall make status reports to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability and to the state board annually and may include in those reports any recommendations based on the progress of the demonstration project that he or she considers either necessary for improving the operations of the demonstration project or prudent for improving student achievement in other public schools through replication of successful demonstration school programs. The state superintendent shall make a recommendation to the Legislature not later than its regular session, two thousand ten, for continuation or termination of the program, which recommendation shall be accompanied by the findings and recommendations of the independent evaluation and these findings and recommendations shall be a major factor considered by the superintendent in making his or her recommendation.
(d) Nothing in this section shall require any specific level of appropriation by the Legislature.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session