AFT School Turnaround Project in W.V. Reports Progress

By Diette Courrégé Casey — January 07, 2013 1 min read

A high-profile rural-focused project to turnaround a struggling West Virginia school district is wrapping up its first year and reporting progress.

Reconnecting McDowell is a five-year initiative that’s led by the American Federation of Teachers and involves both public and private partners. Their goal is to transform one of the worst districts in the state, McDowell County schools, into one of the best.

About 110 partners have gotten on board, and the AFT touted its progress in expanding broadband access, literacy programs, and health services in a news release.

Gayle Manchin, the vice president of the state board of education who helped launch the project on Dec. 16, 2011, said in the AFT release that the community is more optimistic because of the work that’s happened this past year.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “We want to make sure that we do things right, not just get them done, so that we provide McDowell with sustainable programs that can be built upon for another generation.”

None of the accomplishments cited in the most recent Reconnecting McDowell newsletter or in the AFT release were new, but to recap, those included:

  • broadband Internet service to all McDowell County public schools and 10,000 homes;
  • about 4,500 free books provided to 3,600 McDowell County students;
  • new band instruments for Mount View High School;and
  • a new teacher-in-residence bill that will allow Concord University seniors studying education to fill teacher vacancies under master teacher supervision. The first recruits would begin in 2013.

An Associated Press story also mentioned the new family literacy centers and after-school programs, and a new juvenile drug court.

The AFT highlighted the partnership’s accomplishments but did not evaluate the project in the context of its five-year goals.

Bob Brown, the AFT project manager for Reconnecting McDowell, said in the Reconnecting McDowell newsletter that the partnership still is exploring other ideas for the future, such as creating a teacher village (and other high-quality affordable housing options) and increasing recreational, dining and shopping choices for all McDowell County residents.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read