Two Berkeley County schools honored for encouraging student graduation

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Musselman and Spring Mills high schools in Berkeley County, W.Va., were recognized Monday night by the state for their efforts to encourage student graduation.

Officials from Charleston came to the Berkeley County Board of Education meeting to emphasize the schools’ accomplishments.

West Virginia Department of Education officials Kathy Hypes and Matt Hicks and state Board of Education member Nancy White presented a plaque to each school for having “exceeded standards in four-year graduation rates” for the 2017-18 school year.

Hypes said individual schools are being recognized on “individual measures which define student academic performance, growth and school quality.”

Honorees were chosen based on results from the new West Virginia Schools Balanced Scorecard, she said.

The scorecard outlines accountability ratings for each public school in the state based on several indicators, including academic performance and graduation rates at the high school level.

Being chosen is an honor because only a few schools were selected, Hicks said.

“Only 51 schools out of 634 schools are being recognized, so the fact that Berkeley County has two of those 51 ... that is pretty phenomenal,” he said.

After the new scorecard was released in September, Berkeley County Deputy Superintendent Margaret Kursey said county results for the SAT test, a college-entrance exam, were a bright spot.

It was administered to all 11th-grade students in the state, and Berkeley County students “outperformed their peers from across West Virginia in all areas, including English, reading, writing, math and science,” she said.

 

After Monday’s presentation, Kursey said the accomplishment reflects the district’s philosophy regarding the importance of school attendance and achievement throughout a child’s education.

“This state recognition is a big deal, and for two of our high schools to make the standard on the graduation rate is impressive,” she said. “It emphasizes that value and importance that our schools place on making sure that every child is a graduate.”

Carrie Marcum, an assistant principal at Spring Mills, said the award is recognition of the hard work being done at her school.

“We are doing what needs to be done to not only get them through high school, but also get our students prepared for college and careers,” she said after the meeting.

Jason Kamlowsky, an assistant principal at Musselman, credited teachers for being on the front lines of helping students succeed.

“They really push these kids and make it a big-time focus to get these kids a diploma. Ultimately, we all win when a student graduates,” he said.