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Monday, March 28, 2011

WV Superintendent of Schools addresses 2011 WVMEA - Huntington, WV

Highlights from Jorea Marple Speech: 3-24-11; WVMEA

Four goals for improving education in WV:

1. Personalize the curriculum – holistic approach, addressing the needs of individual students; engaging lessons; planning time necessary to achieve this goal
2. Elevate teachers/ respect for the teaching: for all teachers; pay issues; advocate for schools; high quality teachers; message to the country
3. Lighten up on barrier policies – re-work 2510; no time restrictions except those codified (PE); 8100 minutes – too long? Reduce graduation credits – rigor within the curriculum…not so wide but deeper
4. Communication as high level of effectiveness – schools are under resourced; empower all the stakeholders, yes - and make supportive agencies accountable, too;

Bob’s response

The implication for the Arts within this speech for West Virginia is huge and will require an informed administrative staff (issues specific to the Arts) to address all the characteristics of a successful implementation plan taking these concepts to scale.
Leadership will be the key – I do not ask that counties add another position to the administrative staff…but do recommend that the person asked to address Arts-based initiatives within the county have an Arts background OR have participated in Arts-based training that heightens their understanding and sensitivity (eliminating the “don’t know what they don’t know” concept) to the curriculum…developing a shared vocabulary to reach the heightened level of communication” needed to implement effective 21st century leaning concepts. The Arts need a voice at the table – an informed and articulate voice…not necessarily a full-time person.
County superintendent’s need to identify their Arts person and send them to a professional development training to gain some insight into the state-of-the-art for exemplary Arts programs in West Virginia and beyond. Arts Alive is a good start but has failed to attract the audience of leaders and policy makers needed to impart informed decisions, heightening Arts-based learning in West Virginia.
At the very moment that informed and insightful local leadership in mandated we find that the cupboard is bare.

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