Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the formation of the Governor's Commission on the Middle Grades to develop specific recommendations for improving student achievement in West Virginia middle schools. Gov. Tomblin's Executive Order 2-13, which forms the commission, was filed Friday, March 8, 2013.
"Research shows our children make life-changing decisions in middle school and, compared nationally, our students' achievement declines significantly in fifth through eighth grade," Gov. Tomblin said. "By focusing on the importance of the middle school years, this commission will help us build upon the strong foundation of early childhood education, help our students make the connection between their personal interests and future career opportunities, correlate middle school curriculum with the path necessary to attain good-paying jobs and raise student achievement."
The governor's executive order creates the 19-member commission which will be comprised of teachers, State Board of Education members, work force experts, and citizen members. Once the members are appointed, the commission will be tasked with studying the Southern Regional Education Board's Middle Grades Commission report, "A New Mission for Middle Grades," and developing West Virginia specific recommendations for improving student achievement in the middle grades. The commission will also make recommendations to address, among other things:
common standards for college and career readiness;
improving teachers' expertise in their subjects, especially in math and science;
improving student learning based on the latest research;
literacy as a strategy for learning in all subjects;
teaching at-risk students at grade level curriculum and providing them with the help and support needed to succeed;
integrating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help students discover their interests and aptitudes in emerging careers; and
providing parents and students the information and experiences they need to initiate career and higher education plans.
These and other recommendations will be reported to the governor, the State Board of Education and the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability no later than Jan. 15, 2014.