Extra Credit

Two more W.Va. spellers headed to nationals

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Andrew Gould, a sixth-grader from Weston, celebrates after winning the RESA 7 Regional Spelling Bee. (Photo by Exponent-Telegram photographer Kyle Jenkins)
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Marleah Knight, an eighth-grader from Morgantown, poses after winning her regional spelling bee. (Photo by Dominion Post photographer Tyson Murray)

Andrew Gould, a sixth-grader from Weston, and Marleah Knight, an eighth-grader from Morgantown, will join Varun Kukkillaya, the 2015 Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee champion, in Washington, D.C. to compete in May’s Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Andrew and Marleah are the champions of their respective regional spelling bees.

By correctly spelling “batik” and “coloratura,” Andrew outlasted 33 other spellers to take home the RESA 7 Regional Spelling Bee trophy. Marleah correctly spelled “algorithm” to win her bee.

At nationals, Andrew and Marleah will represent portions of West Virginia’s northern counties.

Several regional spellers from West Virginia compete in the national spelling bee each year. At last year’s bee, Varun and three other spellers represented the Mountain State. While none advanced past the preliminary rounds, they all performed well in the bee’s televised spelling rounds.

Like Varun, Andrew and Marleah will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the national bee. Spellers arrive May 24 and begin preliminary testing on the 26th. The main spelling rounds are May 27-28. They are televised by ESPN.

For the full story on Andrew’s and Marleah’s spelling victories, visit the Exponent-Telegram website by clicking here and the Dominion-Post’s here.

Follow along: Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee

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Some of the best young spellers in West Virginia will be gathered at Capital High School today for a chance to go to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Follow along here for updates on how they do:

Live Blog Gazette-Mail Regional Spelling Bee
 

WV public hearing on charter schools

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At 8 a.m. on Tuesday there will be a public hearing on SB 14, a bill that would create charter schools in the state.

Senate Bill 14 was the focus of a lot of debate in the Senate and passed last Monday on a vote of 18 to 16.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated and free from certain state and local regulations. While they have the freedom to set their own hiring policies, create a calendar and adopt a curriculum, they must still follow state-approved academic standards.

While charter schools are supported by many organizations for their success in improving student achievement in large suburban districts around the country, the state’s teachers unions argue it would create a disparity in public education spending and set up exclusive schools for privileged students.

Livestream below is from West Virginia Public Broadcasting. With running commentary below that from Daily Mail education writer Samuel Speciale and others:

Live Blog WV public hearing on charter schools
 

Charter schools bill amendment removes LGBT protection

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Fairness West Virginia, an LGBT activist group, is reporting that the House Education Committee amended the charter schools bill Wednesday night by removing language that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from discrimination.

Those protections were included in the bill when it passed the Senate earlier this week. They also are consistent with state Department of Education policies that prohibit bullying or harassment in any public school regarding a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Not much is known of the amendment or who voted for it, but Fairness West Virginia says the change limits protections to classes already listed in state code, which currently does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

The group has asked supporters to call their delegate and demand the bill’s original protections be restored.

In a social media post, Delegate Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson, West Virginia’s first openly gay legislator, said the amendment was proposed by a Democrat and received bipartisan support. He also said education chairwoman Delegate Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia, voted against the amendment and should be commended for standing up for LGBT students.

Calls to Skinner and the education committee office for more information have not been returned yet.

The committee took the bill up for the first time late Wednesday night after debate on a “forced pooling” bill on the House floor pushed back committee meetings several hours.