Education Blogs
"Instructional Time and Student Achievement: What Research Tells Us"
04 Mar 2013
Blog Post

Senate Bill 359, proposed by the Governor, gives students more learning time. Amendments to West Virginia Code§18-5-45 & 18A-4-8 ensure county boards have the needed flexibility to provide students with at least 180 days of  quality instruction.  The proposed amendment allows counties to structure a calendar to fit community and student needs.  Public meetings for community members--including teachers, students and parents--must be held if county boards want to change their current school calendar.


Research affirms that all students, particularly students living in poverty, need sufficient time in school to develop, maintain and enhance their academic skills. Currently, more than 56% of all public school students receive a free or reduced priced lunch, an indicator of poverty.  That’s slightly more than 1 out of every 2 students in West Virginia’s public schools.


A recent audit of  West Virginia’s educational system states, “West Virginia students score below the national average on 21 of the 24 indicators of student performance as reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.”


West Virginia students need more learning time. More information about the relationship between instructional time and student achievement can be found at:



Voice your opinion by emailing  We have also created a template of support for you to use when writing to your senator:


Dear Senator,


I urge you to support Senate Bill 359,  particularly those provisions that allow local boards to  establish a school calendar and provide students with 180 days of instruction.  Our students’ best interests dictate West Virginia adopt research based strategies to improve student achievement.  The following resources clearly indicate that it is in the best interest of students to increase the amount of time they are in school. 



Existing provisions for  establishing school calendars are too restrictive and ultimately deny all students valuable learning time.  As the previous research states, students  living in poverty are particularly disadvantaged when the school year is cut short.  A poverty indicator, free or reduced lunch rates, shows that at least 56% of all West Virginia students qualify for this government benefit.  This is the majority of students in public schools.


Here is a list of senators that serve on the Senate Education Committee.


Sen. Donna Boley
(304) 357-7905


Sen. Robert D. Beach
(304) 357-7919


Sen. Larry J. Edgell
(304) 357-7827


Sen. Daniel J. Hall
(304) 357-7807


Sen. Gregory A. Tucker
(304) 357-7906


Sen. John R. Unger II
(304) 357-7933



Others on the Senate Education Committee include:

Sen. Robert H. Plymale (chair)
(304) 357-7937


Sen. Erik Wells
(304) 357-7841


Sen. H. Truman Chafin
(304) 357-7808


Sen. William R. Laird IV
(304) 357-7849


Sen. Ron Stollings
(304) 357-7939


Sen. Clark S. Barnes
(304) 357-7973


Sen. Mitch Carmichael
(304) 357-7855


Sen. Bill Cole
(304) 357-7843