The intent of this article is to facilitate and encourage the involvement of the school community in the operation of the local schools to improve educational quality. This article is intended to establish processes at each school which provide opportunities for involvement of the school community in the operation of the local schools and to support local initiatives to improve school performance. It is not the intent of this article to restrict the ability of the county board of education in its efforts to effect county-wide school improvements.
(1) The principal, who serves as an ex officio member of the council and is entitled to vote;
(2) Three teachers elected by the faculty senate of the school;
(3) One bus operator who transports students enrolled at the school and one school service person, each elected by the school service personnel employed at the school;
(4) Three parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of students enrolled at the school elected by the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) members of the school's parent teacher organization. If there is no parent teacher organization, the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) members shall be elected by the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of students enrolled at the school in such manner as may be determined by the principal;
(5) Two at-large members appointed by the principal, one of whom resides in the school's attendance area and one of whom represents business or industry, neither of whom is eligible for membership under any of the other elected classes of members;
(6) In the case of vocational-technical schools, the vocational director. If there is no vocational director, then the principal may appoint no more than two additional representatives, one of whom represents business and one of whom represents industry;
(7) In the case of a school with students in grade seven or higher, the student body president or other student in grade seven or higher elected by the student body in those grades.
(b) Under no circumstances may more than one parent member of the council be then employed at that school in any capacity.
(c) The principal shall arrange for such elections to be held prior to the fifteenth day of September of each school year to elect a council and shall give notice of the elections at least one week prior to the elections being held. To the extent practicable, all elections to select council members shall be held within the same week.
(d) Parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s), teachers and service personnel elected to the council shall serve a two-year term and elections shall be arranged in such a manner that no more than two teachers, no more than two parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) and no more than one service person are elected in a given year. All other non-ex officio members shall serve one-year terms.
(e) Council members may only be replaced upon death, resignation, failure to appear at three consecutive meetings of the council for which notice was given, or a change in personal circumstances so that the person is no longer representative of the class of members from which appointed. In the case of a vacancy in an elected position, the chair of the council shall appoint another qualified person to serve the unexpired term of the person being replaced or, in the case of an appointed member of the council, the principal shall appoint a replacement as soon as practicable.
(f) As soon as practicable after the election of council members, and no later than the first day of October of each school year, the principal shall convene an organizational meeting of the school improvement council. The principal shall notify each member in writing at least two employment days in advance of the organizational meeting. At this meeting, the principal shall provide each member with the following:
(1) A copy of the current applicable sections of this code;
(2) Any state board rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to the operation of these councils; and
(3) Any information as may be developed by the department of education on the operation and powers of local school improvement councils and their important role in improving student and school performance and progress.
(g) The council shall elect from its membership a chair and two members to assist the chair in setting the agenda for each council meeting. The chair shall serve a term of one year and a person may not serve as chair for more than two consecutive terms. If the chair's position becomes vacant for any reason, the principal shall call a meeting of the council to elect another qualified person to serve the unexpired term. Once elected, the chair is responsible for notifying each member of the school improvement council in writing two employment days in advance of any council meeting.
(h) School improvement councils shall meet at least once every nine weeks or equivalent grading period at the call of the chair or by three fourths of its members.
(1) The school improvement council shall schedule any meeting that involves the issue of student discipline pursuant to subdivision (2), subsection (l) of this section, outside the regularly scheduled working hours of any school employee member of the council.
(2) The school improvement council annually shall conduct a meeting to engage parents, students, school employees and other interested parties in a positive and interactive dialogue regarding effective discipline policies. The meeting shall afford ample time for the dialogue and comply with any applicable provision of state, federal or county board policy, rule or law, as appropriate, regarding student privacy rights.
(i) The local school improvement council shall meet at least annually with the county board, in accordance with the provisions in section fourteen, article five of this chapter. At this annual meeting, the local school improvement council chair, or another member designated by the chair, shall be prepared to address any matters as may be requested by the county board as specified in the meeting agenda provided to the council and may further provide any other information, comments or suggestions the local school improvement council wishes to bring to the county board's attention. Anything presented under this subsection shall be submitted to the county board in writing.
(j) School improvement councils shall be considered for the receipt of school of excellence awards under section three of this article and competitive grant awards under section twenty-nine, article two of this chapter and may receive and expend such grants for the purposes provided in such section. In any and all matters which may fall within the scope of both the school improvement councils and the school curriculum teams authorized in section five of this article, the school curriculum teams have jurisdiction.
(k) In order to promote innovations and improvements in the environment for teaching and learning at the school, a school improvement council shall receive cooperation from the school in implementing policies and programs it may adopt to:
(1) Encourage the involvement of parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) in their child's educational process and in the school;
(2) Encourage businesses to provide time for their employees who are parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) to meet with teachers concerning their child's education;
(3) Encourage advice and suggestions from the business community;
(4) Encourage school volunteer programs and mentorship programs; and
(5) Foster utilization of the school facilities and grounds for public community activities.
(l) Each local school improvement council annually shall develop and deliver a report to the countywide council on productive and safe schools. The report shall include:
(1) Guidelines for the instruction and rehabilitation of students who have been excluded from the classroom, suspended from the school or expelled from the school, the description and recommendation of in-school suspension programs, a description of possible alternative settings, schedules for instruction and alternative education programs and an implementation schedule for such guidelines. The guidelines shall include the following:
(A) A system to provide for effective communication and coordination between school and local emergency services agencies;
(B) A preventive discipline program which may include the responsible students program devised by the West Virginia board of education as adopted by the county board, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e), section one, article five, chapter eighteen-a of this code; and
(C) A student involvement program, which may include the peer mediation program or programs devised by the West Virginia board of education as adopted by the county board, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e), section one, article five, chapter eighteen-a of this code; and
(2) The local school improvement council's findings regarding its examination of the following, which also shall be reported to the county superintendent:
(A) Disciplinary measures at the school; and
(B) The fairness and consistency of disciplinary actions at the school. If the council believes that student discipline at the school is not enforced fairly or consistently, it shall transmit that determination in writing, along with supporting information, to the county superintendent. Within ten days of receiving the report, the superintendent, or designee, shall respond in writing to the council. The county board shall retain and file all such correspondence and maintain it for public review.
(C) Any report or communication made as required by this subdivision shall comply with any applicable provision of state, federal or county board policy, rule or law, as appropriate, regarding student privacy rights.
(m) The council may include in its report to the county-wide council on productive and safe schools provisions of the State Board of Education policy 4373, student code of conduct, or any expansion of such policy which increases the safety of students in schools in this state and is consistent with the policies and other laws of this state.
(n) Councils may adopt their own guidelines established under this section. In addition, the councils may adopt all or any part of the guidelines proposed by other local school improvement councils, as developed under this section, which are not inconsistent with the laws of this state, the policies of the West Virginia Board of Education or the policies of the county board.
(o) The State Board of Education shall provide assistance to a local school improvement council upon receipt of a reasonable request for that assistance. The state board also may solicit proposals from other parties or entities to provide orientation training for local school improvement council members and may enter into contracts or agreements for that purpose. Any training for members shall meet the guidelines established by the state board.
The intent of this section is to establish a mechanism which allows local school level initiatives to be designed and implemented to meet local school needs and circumstances. In accordance with this intent, a local school improvement council established under the provisions of this article may propose alternatives to the operation of the public school which alternatives will meet or exceed the high quality standards established by the state board and will increase administrative efficiency, enhance the delivery of instructional programs, promote community involvement in the local school system or improve the educational performance of the school generally. The proposal of the council shall set forth the objective or objectives to be accomplished under the proposal, how the accomplishment of such objective or objectives will meet or exceed the standards established by the state board, the indicators upon which the meeting of such standards should be judged and a projection of any funds to be saved by the proposal and how such funds will be reallocated within the school. The alternatives proposed by the council may include matters which require the waiver of policies or rules promulgated by the state or county board and state superintendent interpretations: Provided, That such request for waiver be submitted to the appropriate board adopting said rule or policy and that board may approve the waiver. When a county board does not act within two months after receiving a request for waiver of a county board policy or rule or disapproves such a request, the local school improvement council may seek an advisory opinion from the state board regarding the waiver request. The county board shall furnish the state board with copies of all waiver requests together with their response thereto: Provided, however, That when a local school improvement council votes to waive a state superintendent's interpretation, the state superintendent need only be notified that the local council intends to waive the state superintendent's interpretation: Provided further, That notwithstanding any other provisions of the law to the contrary, council is not prohibited from permitting off-site classrooms to be developed in conjunction with local businesses if those sites have met the requirements established by the local board and if sites are located off campus. For an alternative to be proposed, at least two thirds of the members must vote in favor thereof: And provided further, That if the alternative to be proposed relates to a waiver of policies or rules promulgated by the state or county board and state superintendent interpretations affecting employees, then prior to the proposal of the alternative, a majority of the local affected employee group involved must agree.
A council may also submit a written statement, with supporting reasons, to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability recommending a waiver of a statute or legislative rule, which the commission shall review and determine whether a recommendation should be made to the Legislature to waive such statute or rule.
When a council decides to propose an alternative, it shall forward a copy of the proposal to the state board and the affected local board. The state board shall acknowledge receipt of the proposed alternative, promptly review the proposed alternative in consultation with the county board or their agents and, in its discretion, approve implementation of the alternative or reply to the council within a reasonable time as to its reasons for not approving the proposed alternative. If the state board approves a proposed alternative, the state board shall provide appropriate notice to the local school improvement council and the county board and shall establish a process for evaluation of the operation of the alternative. Approval for the operation of the alternative may be continued or revoked at any time based on the results and findings of the evaluation.
The state board shall submit a report to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability and the governoron the first day of September of each year summarizing the proposed alternatives received, approved or rejected, continued or revoked during the preceding school year and the results and findings of the evaluations. The report shall specifically identify all policy, rule, and interpretation waiver requests including those requests made to county boards by local school improvement councils received during the preceding year and the disposition of each.
Each year, the state board shall select one high school, one middle or junior high school and one elementary school within each regional educational service agency district, and one vocational school selected on a statewide basis to be awarded school of excellence status.
The rules promulgated by the state board shall outline appropriate methods of recognizing and honoring the students, teachers and other employees and parents or members of the school community who have contributed to excellence in education at the school.
(b) In addition to any other powers and duties conferred by law, or authorized by policies adopted by the state or county board of education or bylaws which may be adopted by the faculty senate not inconsistent with law, the powers and duties listed in this subsection are specifically reserved for the faculty senate. The intent of these provisions is neither to restrict nor to require the activities of every faculty senate to the enumerated items except as otherwise stated. Each faculty senate shall organize its activities as it deems most effective and efficient based on school size, departmental structure and other relevant factors.
(1) Each faculty senate shall control funds allocated to the school from legislative appropriations pursuant to section nine, article nine-a of this chapter. From such funds, each classroom teacher and librarian shall be allotted $100 for expenditure during the instructional year for academic materials, supplies or equipment which, in the judgment of the teacher or librarian, will assist him or her in providing instruction in his or her assigned academic subjects or shall be returned to the faculty senate: Provided, That nothing contained herein prohibits the funds from being used for programs and materials that, in the opinion of the teacher, enhance student behavior, increase academic achievement, improve self-esteem and address the problems of students at-risk. The remainder of funds shall be expended for academic materials, supplies or equipment in accordance with a budget approved by the faculty senate. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law to the contrary, funds not expended in one school year are available for expenditure in the next school year: Provided, however, That the amount of county funds budgeted in a fiscal year may not be reduced throughout the year as a result of the faculty appropriations in the same fiscal year for such materials, supplies and equipment. Accounts shall be maintained of the allocations and expenditures of such funds for the purpose of financial audit. Academic materials, supplies or equipment shall be interpreted broadly, but does not include materials, supplies or equipment which will be used in or connected with interscholastic athletic events.
(2) A faculty senate may establish a process for faculty members to interview new prospective professional educators and paraprofessional employees at the school and submit recommendations regarding employment to the principal, who may also make independent recommendations, for submission to the county superintendent: Provided, That such process shall be chaired by the school principal and must permit the timely employment of persons to perform necessary duties.
(3) A faculty senate may nominate teachers for recognition as outstanding teachers under state and local teacher recognition programs and other personnel at the school, including parents, for recognition under other appropriate recognition programs and may establish such programs for operation at the school.
(4) A faculty senate may submit recommendations to the principal regarding the assignment scheduling of secretaries, clerks, aides and paraprofessionals at the school.
(5) A faculty senate may submit recommendations to the principal regarding establishment of the master curriculum schedule for the next ensuing school year.
(6) A faculty senate may establish a process for the review and comment on sabbatical leave requests submitted by employees at the school pursuant to section eleven, article two of this chapter.
(7) Each faculty senate shall elect three faculty representatives to the local school improvement council established pursuant to section two of this article.
(8) Each faculty senate may nominate a member for election to the county staff development council pursuant to section eight, article three, chapter eighteen-a of this code.
(9) Each faculty senate shall have an opportunity to make recommendations on the selection of faculty to serve as mentors for beginning teachers under beginning teacher internship programs at the school.
(10) A faculty senate may solicit, accept and expend any grants, gifts, bequests, donations and any other funds made available to the faculty senate: Provided, That the faculty senate shall select a member who has the duty of maintaining a record of all funds received and expended by the faculty senate, which record shall be kept in the school office and is subject to normal auditing procedures.
(11) Any faculty senate may review the evaluation procedure as conducted in their school to ascertain whether the evaluations were conducted in accordance with the written system required pursuant to section twelve, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code and the general intent of this Legislature regarding meaningful performance evaluations of school personnel. If a majority of members of the faculty senate determine that such evaluations were not so conducted, they shall submit a report in writing to the State Board of Education: Provided, That nothing herein creates any new right of access to or review of any individual's evaluations.
(12) A local board shall provide to each faculty senate a two- hour block of time for a faculty senate meeting on a day scheduled for the opening of school prior to the beginning of the instructional term, and a two-hour block of time on each instructional support and enhancement day scheduled by the board for instructional activities for students and professional activities for teachers pursuant to section forty-five, article five of this chapter. A faculty senate may meet for an unlimited block of time per month during noninstructional days to discuss and plan strategies to improve student instruction and to conduct other faculty senate business. A faculty senate meeting scheduled on a noninstructional day shall be considered as part of the purpose for which the noninstructional day is scheduled. This time may be utilized and determined at the local school level and includes, but is not limited to, faculty senate meetings.
(13) Each faculty senate shall develop a strategic plan to manage the integration of special needs students into the regular classroom at their respective schools and submit the strategic plan to the superintendent of the county board of education periodically pursuant to guidelines developed by the State Department of Education. Each faculty senate shall encourage the participation of local school improvement councils, parents and the community at large in developing the strategic plan for each school.
Each strategic plan developed by the faculty senate shall include at least: (A) A mission statement; (B) goals; (C) needs; (D) objectives and activities to implement plans relating to each goal; (E) work in progress to implement the strategic plan; (F) guidelines for placing additional staff into integrated classrooms to meet the needs of exceptional needs students without diminishing the services rendered to the other students in integrated classrooms; (G) guidelines for implementation of collaborative planning and instruction; and (H) training for all regular classroom teachers who serve students with exceptional needs in integrated classrooms.
(b) The purposes of this section are to implement the following goals:
(1) Provide professional opportunities for teachers, administrators and other school personnel that allow them to have a direct voice in the operation of their schools and to create a culture of shared decision-making focused on the ultimate goal of raising student achievement;
(2) Encourage the use of different, high-quality models of teaching, scheduling and other aspects of educational delivery that meet a variety of student needs;
(3) Increase high-quality educational opportunities for all students that close achievement gaps between high-performing and low-performing groups of public school students; and
(4) Provide public schools with increased school-level freedom and flexibility to achieve these purposes when they have achieved exceptional levels of results-driven accountability.
(c) Powers and duties of the school curriculum team. --
(1) Establish for use at the school the programs and methods to be used to implement a curriculum based on state-approved content standards that meet the needs of students at the individual school.
(A) The curriculum shall focus on reading, composition, mathematics, science and technology.
(B) The curriculum thus established shall be submitted to the county board which may approve for implementation at the school or may return to the curriculum team for reconsideration.
(2) Review the list of other, non-required testing and assessment instruments provided by the state board through the statewide assessment program as provided in section five, article two-e of this chapter. The curriculum team may select one or more tests or assessment instruments that are applicable to the grade levels at the school for use at the school to improve student learning.
(3) Establish for use at the school the assessments, instructional strategies and programs that it determines are best suited to promote student achievement and to achieve content standards for courses required by the state board. The curriculum team shall submit the established assessments, instructional strategies and programs to the county board which shall approve the recommendations for implementation at the school or shall return them to the curriculum team for reconsideration.
(d) Notwithstanding subsection (c) of this section, the school curriculum team established at a school that has achieved adequate yearly progress or has achieved an accreditation status of distinction or exemplary in accordance with section five, article two-e of this chapter, may use the assessments and implement the instructional strategies and programs consistent with the approved curriculum that it determines are best suited to promote student achievement at the school.
(1) The school may not be required to assess students using any specific assessment except the state summative assessment known as the WESTEST2 or any successor tests, the Alternative Performance Task Assessment, the Online Writing Assessment, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); and
(2) The school may not be required to employ any specific instructional strategy or program to achieve content standards for courses required by the state board, except as approved by the school curriculum team.
(e) If a school fails to achieve adequate yearly progress or if it receives any school approval level other than distinction or exemplary as set forth in section five, article two-e of this chapter, the curriculum team may not exercise the options provided in subsections (d) and (i) of this article until the school has regained one or more of these credentials.
(f) Nothing in this section exempts a school from assessments required by statute or state board policy including, but not limited to, the state summative assessment known as the WESTEST2 or any successor tests, the Alternative Performance Task Assessment, the Online Writing Assessment, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
(g) The school curriculum team may apply for a waiver for instructional resources approved and adopted pursuant to article two-a of this chapter if, in the judgment of the team, the instructional resources necessary for the implementation of the instructional strategies and programs best suited to teach the school's curriculum are not available through the normal adoption process.
(h) The school curriculum team may apply for a grant from the state board to develop and/or implement remedial and accelerated programs to meet the needs of the students at the individual school.
(i) Process for teacher collaboration. --
(1) Notwithstanding the application and approval process established by article five-c of this chapter, at a school that has achieved adequate yearly progress or has achieved a school accreditation status of distinction or exemplary in accordance with section five, article two-e of this chapter, the faculty senate, with approval of the principal, may establish a process for teacher collaboration to improve instruction and learning.
(A) The collaborative process may be established in addition to, or as an alternative to, the school curriculum team provided for in subsection (a) of this section.
(B) The mission of the collaboration process is to review student academic performance based on multiple measures, to identify strategies to improve student performance and make recommendations for improvement to be implemented subject to approval of the principal.
(C) The teacher collaborative includes members the faculty senate determines are necessary to address the needed improvements in the academic performance of students at the school. If applicable, the collaborative may consist of multiple subject area subcommittees which may meet independently.
(2) If a collaborative process is established as an alternative to the school curriculum team, the teacher collaborative has all the powers and duties assigned to school curriculum teams.
(A) The collaborative process also may incorporate the functions of the Strategic Planning Committee, the Technology Team, and/or the School Support Team.
(B) When the functions of any or all of these committees are incorporated into the collaborative process, the school is not required to establish a separate committee for any one whose functions have been assumed by the collaborative.
(b) The following waivers are granted:
Section two-b, article three, chapter eighteen-a of this code is waived for the schools of Cabell County for the purpose of implementing a comprehensive new teacher induction program, which purposes are as more specifically described in the schools' written statement approved by the county board and submitted to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability on February 24, 2011. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session