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Wood County Schools continue to excel

March 4, 2011

PARKERSBURG - A change in leadership and reorganization of the Wood County Schools central office did not diminish the district's successes in 2010.

Officials said despite the massive turnover seen last year, Wood County Schools continues to excel academically.

Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of school services, said retirements and job changes replaced more than half of Wood County Schools' top administrative positions with new faces.

Article Photos

File photo
Students at Franklin Elementary Center participated in a holiday art project in December.

Superintendent Pat Law was hired early in the year to replace outgoing Superintendent Bill Niday, and began work while Niday was still in office to begin shifting into the new administration. Law reworked how the central office staff covered different departments, eliminating one assistant superintendent position and creating a new director position for curriculum and instruction.

"When you look at the department of curriculum and instruction, you have a complete turnover except for special education," Woodward said.

"The overall management of our departments has changed. But you look at the curriculum department, and that team has just gelled.

"I am blown away at how fast these professionals in these core areas have managed to take over the steering of the ship and it's full speed ahead," she said. "Our new superintendent has allowed them to be professionals in their areas of expertise."

Even with the turnover, Woodward said administrators have managed to embrace the change and move forward with a variety of programs.

"Response to intervention" has been a key phrase and program within Wood County Schools this past year, Woodward said.

The idea is to get students the help they need before they fall behind, which requires a greater amount of diligence and planning by educators. The program, however, appears to be working, as attendance numbers, graduation numbers and overall achievement continue to improve.

"We've had a lot of focus on direct student instruction," she said.

Woodward pointed to this year's WESTEST 2 results. The school system saw all of its Title I schools achieve adequate yearly progress on the exam for the 2009-10 school year.

"This has been our best year," she said.

Woodward said the school system also has made greater efforts to incorporate technology in the classroom and to make sure teachers know how to best use that technology to supplement classroom lessons. The district has used federal stimulus funds to purchase technology and to employ integration specialists to make sure it is used correctly.

"The idea is to use it as a tool, not as a toy," she said.

Overall, Woodward said, the school system has been able to make use of many of the systems already in place to better deliver high quality instruction in the classroom.

"We've talked collaboration for many years in Wood County and we've worked toward it," she said. "Now we are doing it.

"The people who've worked here before put in good groundwork, the groundwork is there and now we are building upon it," Woodward said.



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