AdvancEd team recommends accreditation for school system

PARKERSBURG – Members of the AdvancED team evaluating Wood County schools recommended accreditation for the school system Wednesday, clearing the way for it to become the first in the state.

AdvancED team member Walter McClean made a 15-minute presentation to school officials and members of the Wood County Board of Education during a special meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“To be at this point – a recommendation based on our findings – the only district in the state is commendable,” McClean said.

The meeting was attended by more than 30 officials, including principals, administrators and personnel. Only three board members were present. John Marlow and president Tim Yeater were absent.

Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law has been working for three years to implement the AdvancED academic accountability and accreditation program in Wood County Schools. The program uses five guiding principals – governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, and using results for continuous improvement – at its core.

McClean called Law a “visionary” for his work to direct the process.

A six-person team comprised of officials from West Virginia, Michigan and Alabama, has been in the school system for the last few days conducting interviews and evaluations. The team consisted of Walter McClean, Brenda Mason, Margie Crutchfield, Cynthia Kolsun, Joyce Fulford and Greg Faught and conducted 128 interviews, including 19 teachers and 18 students.

Board member Jim Fox told McClean there were a lot anxious people awaiting the team’s visit.

“And staff members who put a lot of effort into this,” he said.

“It was a lot of extra hours, but it will direct the county in the future,” board member Tad Wilson said.

McClean told the room the team was thoroughly impressed by the school system’s Partners In Education programs; its comprehensive program to improve graduation rates and its commitment to high-quality teachers.

The team also stated students at all levels are well-behaved and respectful.

With the recommendation, Wood County schools would become the first district in the state to achieve accreditation.

“We made our own path, but the work was yours,” Law said.

Board member Lawrence Hasbargen said the county has a reputation of being a leader in the state.

“We’ll see how many follow us,” he said.

McClean noted the team was only making recommendation and the accreditation would not become final until approved by AdvancEd board in mid-January.