West Virginia Public Schools to Receive Grades

Starting this month, K-12 students won’t be the only ones receiving a report card. Public schools will be expected to demonstrate progress, according to a new school accountability system launched by the state with the help of students at West Virginia University Reed College of Media.

The College partnered with the West Virginia Department of Education to develop and implement a public awareness campaign for the new grading structure. The A-F School Accountability System measures how well students are learning, growing and achieving in key areas. Based on school rankings, the system will provide resources and support to schools, parents and teachers to increase student performance.

Dr. Geah Pressgrove is leading the capstone course this semester and has previously partnered with the WVDE.

“Our students act as an extension of the WVDE staff providing communication expertise as a trusted partner,”Pressgrove said. “The goal of the A-F school accountability communications campaign is to start a dialogue with parents and community members about supporting their local schools.”

Strategic communications students created the campaign as part of their capstone class. They created a full-scale, integrated marketing communications agency with real positions such as account managers, research directors and media relations strategists.

Senior Kimberly Dutcher of Milroy, Pennsylvania, was the agency’s account executive. She says the hands-on experience has prepared her to join the workforce.

Reed College of Media — Along with West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael J. Martirano (far right), the West Virginia Board of Education heard a presentation from Reed College of Media students who have created an integrated marketing campaign for the state’s new A-F grading system for public schools.

“For many students, this is their first time negotiating media buys, writing communication copy and working off of a real budget,” Dutcher said.”I have prior experience in the communication field. However, after leading a team of nine peers I have more confidence entering the field once I graduate in December.”

Capstone students presented their final campaign to the West Virginia Board of Education in Charleston November 9. The campaign consists of traditional media, public relations and digital media tactics to promote awareness of the new A-F school accountability system.

West Virginia Department of Education Director of Communications Kristin Anderson has worked alongside the strategic communications students this semester and will carry on the campaign through next year.

“The West Virginia Department of Education has been extremely fortunate to partner with the College of Media and work with senior-level students as part of their capstone course,” Anderson said. “The students have become an extension of our communications team and provided strategic ideas that we will continue to implement after the completion of their capstone course.”

Check your school’s grade or learn more about the A-F School Accountability System by visiting http://wvde.state.wv.us/.