The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 31, 2013

Perry serving on Governor’s Commission on Middle Grades


— As part of the state’s ongoing effort to improve achievement and foster career goals among West Virginia’s students, Delegate David Perry this week attended his first meeting as a member of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s new Commission on the Middle Grades.

In appointing Perry to the commission, House Speaker Tim Miley noted the delegate is an experienced educator.

“In addition to Delegate Perry’s career achievements — he is a veteran educator with 30-plus years of experience as a principal — he also has the insight he gained through serving on both the House Education Committee and on last year’s House Education Audit Work Group,” Miley said.

Perry, who attended the meeting with Governor Tomblin Tuesday, said he is pleased to be able to serve on the commission.

“I have spent 35 years working at the middle school level and believe strongly in the importance of maximizing students’ experience at that stage in their education and guiding them toward career goals,” he said. “I hope to see us broaden the curriculum offered in the middle grades.”

In issuing the executive order creating the commission, Governor Tomblin noted a 2011 study by the Southern Regional Education Board entitled “A New Mission for the Middle Grades” that showed student achievement in the middle grades is rising in most states, but not quickly enough. The order calls for a thorough examination of the findings and development of recommendations for West Virginia’s educational system.  

The 19-member commission is tasked with studying the SREB report, and making recommendations regarding:

-- Common standards for college and career readiness;

-- Improving student learning based on the latest research and eliminating programs and policies that have failed to do so;

-- Literacy as a strategy for learning in all subjects;

-- Improving teachers’ expertise in their subjects, especially in math and science;

-- Teaching at-risk students at grade level curriculum and providing them with the help and support needed to succeed;

-- Professional development for teachers and principals

-- Integrating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help students discover their interests and aptitudes in emerging careers; and

-- Providing parents and students the information and experiences they need to initiate career and higher education plans.

-- Accountability and incentives for continuous improvement of students to prepare them for high school.

“I am grateful to Governor Tomblin for placing legislators on this commission, which promises to play a major role in developing legislation intended to better engage and educate our middle school students,” Miley said.