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Education

2023 Update

   Although not assigned to the Education committee, as a Delegate I am working hard to help improve the education opportunities for our District 88 residents. Personally, I’m excited that Hampshire and Mineral County Schools have a total of four brand new elementary schools under construction right now.

Superintendent Troy Ravescroft and Rick Hillenbrand tour new Frankfort Elementary School construction

   In addition to attending as many School Board meetings as I can (there are often conflicts), I have been working closely with some School Board members to help address a couple specific issues:

  • School discipline including specifically bullying

  • Teacher salaries

  • Traffic related issues on Falcon Way and its intersection at WV28

   In an effort to try to create new solutions for “at risk students” this past Spring (2023) Keyser HS Principal Matt Ravenscroft and I discussed making a trip to the Elkins Mountain School, a private school that “… provides intensive treatment services to children and their families in an effort to help them live responsible and productive lives.”  We made that trip to Elkins in September, 2023 along with a couple of other Delegates and an expanded contingent from the Mineral County Schools that including Superintendent Troy Ravenscroft and School Safety and Security Officer John Wilson. This may be just the beginning of something bigger, but we are looking at ways that we can pilot a public-school program that can allow us to apply some of the lessons learned at the Elkins Mountain School.

Discussing ways that we can aid public-school programs

Bill

Title
Status
Committee
Step
Last Action
Amending the existing War Orphan program so children and spouses of deceased active-duty officers AND enlisted Service members would both be eligible for the War Orphan Education Program
Pending
House Education
Committee
02/03/23
Relating to vocational and technical education programs
Pending
House Education
Committee
01/11/23
Establishing the dual enrollment pilot program to be administered by the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education in conjunction with the State Board of Education.
Signed
Effective from passage – (March 10, 2023)

   Trust me–I believe in academic education. I have three engineering degrees, a son who is a medical doctor, and another son who also earned a Bachelor of Science degree. BUT, West Virginia, and the United States as a whole, need BOTH academic and practical education opportunities.  As much as we need brilliant scientists, engineers, and people formally educated in other academic fields, we also need trades-people that are skilled in welding, carpentry, and plumbing, to name just a few skills.  We all know the joke about the medical doctor who is unable to fix a leaky faucet.

   One of the major disconnects in our educational system is how a student progresses from a local school system’s vocational education program–if it exists–to becoming a fully trained artisan.  When I worked in our naval shipyards, some of our most highly skilled–and highly compensated–trades people were those welders who were able to do mirror TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding and were nuclear certified.  Fortunately, both Hampshire and Mineral County School Systems provide vocational education opportunities for their students; but we need more.

   I want to build relationships with the local school systems and industries so that defined paths are available for graduating high school students that want to pursue a career in specific tradecrafts.  I am privileged to have received the official endorsement of the WV Building and Construction Trades PAC

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