Jefferson board moves ahead to make middle schools better

CHARLES TOWN — Students return to the classroom Monday, but changes in middle school policies won’t happen until the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Jefferson County Board of Education members on Monday decided to form a task force to find ways to better meet the needs of middle school students.

Scott Sudduth, the president of the Jefferson County Board of Education, is working to put together a task force that will look for ways to better serve middle schools.

Scott Sudduth, the president of the Jefferson County Board of Education, is working to put together a task force that will look for ways to
better serve middle schools.

Board members made their decision following presentations by a number of speakers, including Lee Ebersole, school improvement specialist for the county; Wendy Lochner, coordinator of the office of school improvement for the West Virginia Department of Education; and  John Hough, vice president of community relations at American Public University.

Hough, who has more than 35 years of K-12 and higher education experience, said not enough attention has been paid to middle school students.

He told the board that more research has been done on elementary and secondary students than on middle school pupils, but that the academic achievement a student makes by the eighth grade “has a larger impact than high school.”

School superintendent Susan Wall said middle school students need special attention.

Board president Scott Sudduth said the board needs data on the performance of middle school students. Ebersole said that data was available and would be given to board members.

The board heard numerous requests for additional planning time for middle school teachers, but board member Gary Kable said extra time would mean additional costs. He emphasized that the school system budget is tight.

Wall said decisions from a task force would have to be made in the next few months because they would affect hiring decisions for the next school year.

Sudduth said he is compiling a list of task force members.


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