CHARLESTON — Suzanne Dickens, superintendent of Mason County Schools, addressed members of the West Virginia State Board of Education on Wednesday about the progress made in Mason County Schools.
Dickens, along with other Mason County School board members, attended this meeting to receive an Office of Education Performance Audit (OEPA) report. Dickens reported that the board recognized and commended the Mason County School Board for the improvements made in the past fourteen months.
Dickens’ remarks to the state school board included the following:
“I stand before you today to tell you that we are giving our best efforts to assure that students in Mason County receive a quality education. I am not going to tell you this has been an easy process and, further, I am not going to tell you we have arrived, because we are on a continuous journey to improve the quality of education for Mason County students. I want you to know that we have not been on this journey alone. This Department of Education has held our hands, wiped our tears, and even sometimes locked elbows with us while providing unbelievable support to us.”
The OEPA report also listed several items as to what has improved in Mason County Schools, including smooth financial operations, due to a new treasurer, correcting hiring and licensure issues, reducing the financial deficit, and focusing on policy development and student achievement.
Dickens went on to say the following:
“In Mason County, we started a journey on major curriculum improvement about 18 months ago with ‘Reading Across the Curriculum’, which extends from Kindergarten through AP English. This year we added ‘Writing Across the Curriculum’ from Pre-K through twelfth grade. All students write every day. Last school year, we also began the PLC process which was new to Mason County. This year we are in the midst of full PLC implementation with all teams meeting at least twice monthly to look at data and work on Common Formative Assessments. We now have benchmarks and pacing guides in place. We are all about instruction. I remind my staff regularly of these three statements that characterize our journey: ‘We are all about student learning’, ‘Hope is not a strategy’, and ‘Don’t blame the kids, we are responsible’.”
The OEPA summary also stated “Mason County has exceeded the expectations of the Office of Education Performance Audits in correcting the deficiencies identified in the December 2010 audit report.”