MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Superintendent Patrick K. Murphy on Monday provided an update on the West Virginia Department of Education’s visit to review the district’s special-education services.
Murphy, who spoke at a school board meeting, said his comments represent a “snapshot” of what he has heard so far after the state visit to local schools during the week of Feb. 24.
The early information came from an exit interview, but the report is expected to take weeks to complete, he said.
“They will issue their report to the state board of education in April, and then, I hope to be coming back to you in the latter part of April with that report and actually having someone from the state come to do a brief board presentation,” he said.
One of the highlights is the district’s strong transition program for students, also coupled with its work-exploration program, Murphy said.
“I also want to thank and recognize our teachers because the feedback from the schools they visited, they didn’t go to every one in the district but instead took a sample, and they saw a good, strong classroom construction going on,” he said.
Other items that likely will be addressed in the report include the consistency of special-education services across schools “because that is something they highlighted in the exit interview,” Murphy said.
“They are also looking at a continuum of services as students transition from one grade level to the next, and also how can we continue to enhance some of our communication with the students and families we serve,” he said.
“But that’s just a snapshot with more details to follow,” he said, noting that the district also will provide feedback on the report, as well as “some recommendations about how we will address some of the issues they will be bringing to our attention.”
Murphy first announced the planned visit in early January, saying he believed it would be good for a neutral party to review the district’s program.
David Dilly, the school district’s assistant superintendent of schools, confirmed in late February that nine elementary and intermediate schools were expected to be part of the visit.
Parents also were invited to be part of the review, he said in an earlier interview.
The number of special-education students in the county continues to grow. There were 4,030 in February as compared to “in the 3,900 range” in October 2019, Dilly said.
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