Extra Credit

Are students having problems taking the Westest?

As many know, this is the first year the Westest will be delivered completely online.

Sounds like a good idea. West Virginia schools need to embrace technology to be able to compete with schools across the country and world.

But, as can be expected with anything new, there have been some issues with the transition.

Capitol High principal Clinton Giles and John Adams Middle principal John Moyers said some students have had problems logging into the test website. There have also been problems with exceeding network bandwidth and website crashes.

The two principals said these problems were only a factor Monday and have been corrected, and they are prepared to deal with any other glitches.

So, how has this affected students? These tests can be stressful in and of themselves, so I can’t imagine what it’s like to have “will my computer crash in the middle of my test” in the back of my head.

So, I ask parents and students alike, aside from a frustrating start, has the transition been smooth? Are the tests easier to take? Or is it too much too soon?

Feel free to let me know by sending an email to sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com, or commenting on the Daily Mail’s Facebook page.

Kanawha County School Board Candidates

Sometimes, technology advances journalism. Today was not one of those days.

I intended to do a live blog of the Daily Mail editorial board meeting with Kanawha County school board candidates like I did for Putnam County yesterday, but our Wi-Fi was not working.

Go figure.

Even though we were unable to do a live stream, my editor, Brad, still recorded the meeting so those who are interested could watch it later.

Seated left to right: Ryan White (District 1), Vic Sprouse (District 1), Calvin McKinney (District 4), Pete Thaw (District 2), Tracy White (District 3), Curtis Robinson (District 1) and Becky Jordan (District 2).

Live Blog: Putnam County School Board candidates

The Daily Mail editorial board met with candidates for the Putnam County school board today.

There are four non-partisan candidates vying for three seats, but two are running unopposed.

Diana McCallister and Craig Spicer are running in the contested third magisterial district.

Rob Cunningham of the second district and Butch Legg of the first district are the unopposed candidates.

Whoever wins in the primary election on May 13 will automatically join the school board because non-partisan elections are not part of the general election.

Hello, My Name Is…

As the education reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail, I have my fair share of “Hello, My Name Is…” stickers.

Each time I go into a school, I sign a clipboard cluttered with names and am promptly given a sticker to wear.

I keep these things like skiers do lift tickets. They remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

The sticker — while I find it tacky and often mismatched with whatever shirt I am wearing at the time — serves a purpose. It lets everyone know who I am and my reason for being there.

My editor, Brad, already introduced me when I came to the Daily Mail in February, but I thought it would be appropriate to do so myself when I restarted this blog, which has been dormant since my predecessor left.

So, if you will:

Hello, my name is Samuel Speciale .

Because I write about education, it’s only fair I reveal a little about my own schooling. I am a graduate of the Marshall University College of Arts and Media with a degree in print journalism. Before that, I studied English at West Virginia State University.

While I write about public schools and policy, I came into this job not knowing anything about either because I went to a private Christian school. My first experience with public schools was a 10-hour state school board  meeting. I was overwhelmed.

Sure, policies can be difficult to understand at times, but they make the world go round.

The beautiful thing about the education beat is that it’s not just about policy making. There are many interesting people doing incredibly eventful things in West Virginia, and they have stories worth telling.

I’ve only been here for two months, but I’ve been fortunate to tell some great stories about iPads revolutionizing schools in Raleigh County and a retired accountant turning a Christian school around.

I look forward to telling many more.