MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — One year after the state Legislature and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin enacted the Education Reform bill, counties are seeking ways to best implement those new regulations.
Among the adjustments: Requiring certain central office staffers to go back into the classroom for a minimum of three days each year, which cuts down on substitute teacher costs and gives office personnel an idea of how campuses are evolving.
Berkeley County Superintendent Manny Arvon admitted he wasn’t a proponent of the initiative. Because all 55 county school systems operate differently, he felt lawmakers delivered a policy that looked good in theory but didn’t fully consider its implementation.
“When the bill first came through, you scratch your head, you wonder where that came from because it’s obvious that people who pass the bill have no idea about what’s going on in the daily lives of a county administrator,” Arvon said.
Arvon referenced his administrator of special education oversees 3,200 students in Berkeley County—more students than some school systems’ total enrollments. Arvon said it’s difficult for that administrator to take time away from the job to get into the classroom.
However, Arvon said all his county staffers spent the required time in the classroom this school year.
“Like any type of legislation that comes down, you try and look at the positive,” he said. “You try and implement in a way that becomes a positive in your school district.
“Sometimes getting into a school is like a breath of fresh air.”
After Berkeley County added 200 new teachers this school year, the reform guidelines gave administrators a chance to see how new hires adjusted to the classroom.
“That gives us the opportunity to go in first hand and see how things are going.”