Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Morgantown, WV - On December 26, 2019, a group of parents had articles filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State to form West Virginia Academy, Ltd., a non-profit entity with an ambitious mission. The stated objective of the organization is to improve and support education throughout West Virginia by founding a charter school, developing and deploying curriculum and scalable college-readiness programs, and providing training for instructors of primary education who seek to improve college-readiness among West Virginia students.
Dr. John Treu, a West Virginia University professor and the organization's initial incorporator and President, describes the uniquely corroborative mission of this new organization:
"Our goal is to create an excellent charter school that provides parents with options within the public system in our area, but our vision is much larger than that. We want to uplift and enrich some of the great existing public schools both in Monongalia County and throughout the state of West Virginia. These combined objectives will guide every decision we make as an organization. If we create a great public charter school at the expense of the traditional public schools in our area, we will not have achieved our full mission. We seek to be good neighbors to the existing traditional public schools and look for areas where we can achieve efficiencies by working together. We also want to become a training ground for public educators throughout the state who are seeking to improve their school's college readiness programs and provide a model of the potential of West Virginia students that policy makers can look to when considering changes."
Under the West Virginia law, charter schools are public schools in terms of funding, educational topics, and even participation in sports and academic competition programs. The primary difference is that public charter schools have greater flexibility in terms of instructional methods, approach to curriculum, and purpose. The unique mission of West Virginia Academy relating to college readiness is further described by Dr. Treu:
"As we spoke with dozens of concerned parents in our community, a major issue was how effectively our public system is preparing our kids for the next level. As a college professor at WVU, it has been my experience that many extremely bright and capable students from West Virginia are at an unfair disadvantage compared to their peers from surrounding states because of an overall lack of rigor and vision for college readiness in our public education system. Many West Virginia students enter college with severe and unidentified deficiencies in math and study skills or have never taken a final examination. We seek to introduce a higher level of rigor and assessment within the public school system to address some of these challenges. Our sincere hope is that we will be able to vet and provide a model that other public schools in our area can implement.
Our short term objectives are to obtain a charter to open a school that services Monongalia County and its surrounding areas and pursue an ambitious college readiness program among our students. But as soon as we're established we want to share our programs and methods with traditional public schools both in our area and throughout the state of West Virginia. We believe this is our calling as educators and concerned parents in the community and we're very excited to get to work."
The organization is finalizing its board of governors, which will consist of a group of parents, certified teachers, college professors, financial and legal experts, and community members.