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Jefferson Elementary a Priority School

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email
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UPDATE: 4/12/13, 6:20 p.m.

It's one of 32 low performing schools across the state the West Virginia Board of Education has identified to get more support to meet the needs of their students.

Jefferson Elementary Principal Christie Willis says she is not surprised by the priority school distinction.

Earlier this year when the Department of Education person assigned to the school sat down with her, she says they embraced the school's initiatives and thought they were on the right track.

"Dr. Law informed me on Wednesday in his office and we just discussed what it meant to be a priority school," Willis says. "The good news for us was we had already been working with the state department and we had invited them in this year to work with us on our student achievement."

Willis put together Jefferson's initiatives for 2013 for her staff.
She says working with the state department and the initiatives, the teachers had a game plan starting the year off and definitely look for their scores to improve as the year moves forward.

"This year we really put an emphasis on writing; we had a writing block added to all of the schedules, across K through five. We also put support for personalized learning in the schedules too so that student weaknesses that were identified could be worked on, on an individual basis," Willis says.

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Public schools in West Virginia that need extra help are named priority schools.

Here in Wood County, Franklin and Jefferson Elementary made the list.

The West Virginia Board of Education identified schools across the state as low performing.

Since they are considered in the bottom five percent and not showing growth, these schools are a priority and will get more support to help their students improve.

“We've been working with the state for the last year. They have a coordinator that actually works with Franklin and we asked them to work with Jefferson as well,” says John Merritt, director of federal programs for Wood County Schools. “They're doing team teaching, they're doing some observations, they're working at professional development, especially with the teachers in the classrooms -- and so we've been on this process.”

Merritt says this was not a surprise and it's not about singling out these schools. It’s more about a support process with the state helping them to help the schools meet their achievement goals.


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