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West Virginia Department of Education Praises WVA's Special Education Programs.

Updated: May 16

Last week the WVDE Special Education's Executive Director, Shiela Paitsel, along with Dr. Teresa Brown, Program Assistant, and Coordinators, Ian Kennedy and Kaycee Wheeler spent close to 12 hours monitoring and observing WVA's Special Education Program.

The group agreed that WVA's Direct Instruction time (DI) falls in line with the multi-tiered system of support that all schools are supposed to have. This is referring to is WVA's unique program when Primary school teachers teach the same subject at the same time: Math, Reading and Language. Specialized instructors are also brought in as well, so the school can offer up to 14 levels of instruction during these specialized times. Students are tested and directed to the class that fits their individual needs. Classes are composed of students in several grades.

"The goal is to close those knowledge gaps," stated Heidi Treu, Executive Director of West Virginia Academy. "Students are taught at their pace and instructional level to move through the material they may have missed the first time around or to extend learning in higher grade levels. We have third grade students in fourth grade math, and we have fourth grade students in a decoding class that will help them read and comprehend better." Teachers discuss individual student needs every nine weeks and make adjustments to their classes. This program is extended into the Secondary school through specialized Math and Language classes. Scholars that have fallen behind or accelerated beyond their grade can receive individualized plans that help them academically succeed.

Another positive all members of the WVDE Special Education team saw were how friendly the WVA students are, mentioning how the students have good manners and really showed support for one another. WVA has their builder's program where a new theme is introduced monthly. Scholars at the primary level are recognized for their character and praised during the day for their behavior. While it is still in its infancy stages, the WVA Ambassador program is also an emphasis on Fridays with regards to character development.

While finishing up their second year, WVA feels this was a promising visit that really showed individuals at the state level the amazing and innovative programs West Virginia Academy has to offer.


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