CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Education will host four forums this week on the education reform issue.

The first meeting begins at 6 p.m. Monday at Cabell Midland High School.Department of Education Executive Director of Communications Kristin Anderson said those coming can arrive beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be brief opening remarks at 6:00 p.m. from the professional facilitator.

“That will just kind of set up the evening,” Anderson said. “From there, individuals will break out into small groups, basically round table discussions.”

There will be what’s called tabletop moderators in each group but discussion can be open ended, Anderson said.

“We’re just really looking for constructive dialogue, bringing ideas to the table. We’re really encouraging anyone who has an interest in public education to attend,” she said.

Organizers plan to gather the information from the seven forums and put it in a report that will be given to Gov. Jim Justice and state lawmakers ahead of the next time they meet in the special session on education betterment that is currently in a recess.

Anderson said she expects topics to be both familiar, like the education reform issues discussed in the legislative session, and some new ideas.

“We all know what happened during the regular legislative session. Education reform is a hot topic. Every stakeholder agrees there’s room for improvement within public education and we certainly agree with that as well. We just want to facilitate this dialogue,” Anderson said.

There already appears to be good interest in the forums. According to Anderson, more than 500 people have pre-registered for the seven forums. However, pre-registration is not required.

The remainder of the forum schedule.

March 19 – Mount View High School, 950 Mount View Road, Welch

March 20 – Capital High School, 1500 Greenbrier Street, Charleston

March 21 – Woodrow Wilson High School, 400 Stanaford Road, Beckley

April 1 – Robert C. Byrd High School, 1 Eagle Way, Clarksburg

April 2 – Wheeling Park High School, 1976 Park View Road, Wheeling

April 3 – Berkeley Spring High School, 149 Concord Avenue, Berkeley Springs