CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Education in West Virginia is crucial, but the students in the state are not performing as well as they could be. Soon-to-be state superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano is hoping to change that.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin along with members of the West Virginia Board of Education gathered at the state capitol to welcome Martirano to his new home on Tuesday.
Martirano spoke briefly about his plans for education reform in West Virginia, including improving the graduation rate and making sure that students are college- and career-ready.
“For me, everything I talk about is vertically oriented and we need to back-map that from the graduation rate. Looking at our programs from pre-K interventions, making certain that all young people are reading by grade three, and strengthening up out vertical articulation to ensure that each child has that possibility of graduating. We must focus on that urgently,” Martirano said.
Martirano, who comes from St. Mary’s County, Maryland, also spoke about the importance of the hiring process in education. He said the standard from bringing teachers into the state public education system will continue to be top-of -the-line.
“It’s about recruitment, having alignment with our higher education institutions to make certain that teachers are prepared and that we don’t compromise our standards, that we only accept the very best, highly-qualified and highly-effective teachers in our classrooms,” Martirano said.
Martirano plans to focus on the attendance rate and on education outside of the classroom, saying that it does “take a village to raise a child”.
“To miss a day of instruction is critical, we only have a certain period of time with them. So, the community needs to be supportive of that and also think about wrap around programs such as before and after school programs, summer programs, that enrich that overall opportunity. It’s about partnering, it’s about bringing in all of our groups together. Everybody is going to have a role in this and it starts with our parents as the primary educators,” Martirano said.
State School Board President Gayle Manchin said she is optimistic about the change that Martirano plans to bring to West Virginia education.
“Everywhere he has been has improved and increased and has shown success. So, he doesn’t just talk the talk, he actually does it,” Manchin said.