“New West Side Story”: West Virginia Dept. of Education’s Pioneering Community Development Initiatives To Transform Charleston’s Education Landscape

In a remarkable move, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has initiated a transformative education project targeted towards elevating the academic stature and community engagement of schools on Charleston’s West Side. State Superintendent Michele L. Blatt has heralded the commencement of the Special Community Development School Pilot Project that seeks to synergize efforts between public schools, higher education institutions, and local community stakeholders.

Central to the project is the comprehensive collaboration between varied stakeholders. The program is not merely an academic endeavor but is structured to ensure that students receive holistic support encompassing both their academic and socio-emotional needs. This effort aligns with the WVDE’s earlier commitment this year, where they designated $750,000 to extend the support from the ‘Communities In Schools’ program in the same region.

Reverend Matthew J. Watts extolled the initiation of this project, commenting, “The Community Development School Pilot Program could serve as the proverbial game changer, initiating a ‘New West Side Story’ for the community and its’ families and children.” Reverend Watts has long been an advocate for such community-centric educational endeavors and expressed gratitude towards Superintendent Blatt and the Tuesday Morning Group for their unwavering commitment to the cause.

This initiative comes at a time when West Virginia’s education system is witnessing significant positive shifts. The WVDE recently released the Balanced Scorecard results for the 2022-23 school year, showcasing enhanced performance metrics. Comparatively, 49 counties have shown improvement in mathematics and 44 in English language arts proficiency.

Initiatives like the Middle School Empowerment Collaborative, led by Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, are pushing the envelope in integrating career exploration with academics through project-based learning, placing West Virginia at the forefront of innovative educational practices.

Towards a Brighter Future

The West Side Development Project, with its robust infrastructure and dedicated funding, promises to usher in a transformative era for Charleston’s West Side. Beyond academic support, the project resonates with the ethos of community development, striving for an all-encompassing upliftment of the students and the community they hail from.

With collaborative efforts from diverse sectors and unwavering commitment from advocates like Reverend Watts, Charleston’s West Side is poised to set a new narrative, one filled with hope, progress, and unyielding growth.

For further information or media-related inquiries, please reach out to Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications.

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