CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State School Superintendent Clayton Burch told members of the state Board of Education this week he plans to continue to spend a lot of time in the months ahead at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney.
The board adopted the department’s Special Circumstance Review Report concerning the school at Wednesday’s state school board meeting.
The report, first released last month, cites eight areas of non-compliance at WVSD including student care, instruction, facilities and leadership.
Burch and a team from the Department of Education’s Office of Support and Accountability were back in Romney Thursday meeting with faculty. Burch said he wanted to hear from teachers about what’s needed at the school.
“I want to sit down, go through the report and really hear from them on what we need to do,” Burch said.
The team was also meeting with the faculty senate chair about scheduling professional development sessions with the school’s teachers.
Other meetings Thursday and Friday were expected to focus on scheduling, admissions and facilities.
Burch told state School Board members he anticipates changing the leadership structure at the school.
“There are 90 students, we don’t need a superintendent,” Burch said.
He indicated a new structure may include a schoolmaster instead.
Burch told the board the issues at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind won’t be solved overnight.
“This is going to be hard, there’s just no doubt about it,” Burch said. “It’s going to be a year of really, really tough decisions. The goal is we do a review again and it’s better or we go in a different direction.”
Burch said local community leaders have had a positive response to the state’s intervention.
“We have yet to receive any negative response from them. In fact, the entire dialogue with them has been, ‘Can you put it back on track?”‘
Burch said during an appearance last month on MetroNews “Talkline” he’d have to give the WVSDB a failing grade as it currently stands.
“It’s something that we cannot ignore. We cannot take any amount of time (delay).” Burch said. “There’s no waiting on this one. We need to be prepared in August when they (students) come back that we have begun the transformation of the school, modernizing it, and really expecting more.”