Private School Regulation
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Attendance at
an approved or registered private or parochial school exempts students
from compulsory public school attendance. W. Va. Code § 18-8-1. Schools
may seek "approval" to operate from the local board of education or "register" with
the state superintendent. If a school registers to operate, it follows
Chapter 18, Article 28 and administers a comprehensive test of basic skills
on an annual basis. See Curriculum,
Testing. If a school complies with Article 28, no other education provisions
apply except requirements respecting fire, safety, sanitation and immunization.
W. Va. Code § 18-28-6.
Recordkeeping/Reports: "Approved" private and parochial
schools serving students in lieu of public school are required to furnish
county boards of education any information and records requested regarding
attendance, instruction, and progress of pupils under 16 years of age.
W. Va. Code § 18-8-1 (Exemption A). Private, parochial and church
schools are required to maintain annual attendance and disease immunization
records for each pupil enrolled. Attendance records must be made available
to parents/guardians. Upon request of the County Superintendent of Schools,
the school must furnish a list of names and addresses of all students between
6 and 16 years of age. W. Va. Code § 18-28-2.
New schools operating under Chapter 18, Article 28, must send the State
Superintendent of Schools a notice of intent to operate, name and address
of the school, and name of the school's chief administrator. Schools must
also notify the Superintendent upon termination. W. Va. Code § 18-28-5.
Length of School Year/Day: "Approved" private and parochial
schools serving students in lieu of public school must be open for a time
equal to the county school term. W. Va. Code § 18-8-1. Private, parochial
or church schools that are "registered" must observe a minimum instructional
term of 180 days with an average of five hours of instruction per day.
W. Va. Code § 18-28-2.
Instruction in English: The basic language of instruction
for approved private and parochial schools is the English language. W.
Va. Code § 18-2-7.
Curriculum: Approved private, parochial
and denominational schools are required to provide at least one year of
instruction in West Virginia history prior to completion of the eighth
grade. In addition, such schools must require regular courses in the history
of the United States in civics, the constitution and the government of
both West Virginia and the United States by the completion of the twelfth
grade. The boards of private, parochial and denominational schools have
a duty to prescribe courses covering these subjects similar to those required
in the public schools. W. Va. Code § 18-2-9.
Private and parochial schools are required to use a state prescribed course
of study in fire prevention. W. Va. Code § 18-2-8.
Driver education courses offered by private, parochial, or denominational
schools must comply with minimum standards established by the State Board
of Education. W. Va. Code § 18-6-3.
Private, parochial and church schools may elect to administer a standardized
test on an annual basis in lieu of approval requirements. The school administrator
may select the comprehensive test of basic skills, the California Achievement
Test, the Stanford Achievement Test or the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills/Tests
of Achievement and Proficiency. All students between the ages of 6 and
16 must be tested. Student test results and the school composite test results
must be made available to parent/guardians. Upon request, the school composite
test results must be furnished to the State Superintendent of Schools.
Each of these schools must establish curriculum objectives and provide
an instructional program to develop the students' potential for becoming
literate citizens. If a school's composite test results fall below the
fortieth percentile, the school must initiate a remedial program. If the
results are not raised above the fortieth percentile level after two consecutive
calendar years, attendance at the school may no longer satisfy the compulsory
school attendance requirement. W. Va. Code § 18-28-3. Private, parochial
or church schools complying with these provisions may participate in any
state operated program made available by law. W. Va. Code § 18-28-4.
Special Education: The State Superintendent of Schools
is responsible for assuring that all exceptional children in private schools
receive an education in accordance with state and federal laws. W. Va.
Code § 18-20-5(5).
Health: County boards of education may provide screening
tests for vision, hearing, speech and language disabilities upon request
for children entering nonpublic schools. W. Va. Code § 18-5-17(a).
It is a misdemeanor to permit the use of a common drinking cup in parochial
or private schools. W. Va. Code § 16-9-1.
Safety: Private, parochial and church schools are subject
to reasonable fire, health, and safety inspections by state, county, and
municipal authorities as required by law. W. Va. Code § 18-28-2.
The state fire marshall will inspect all private schools for fire exits
and reasonable safety standards and report his findings and recommendations
to the proper administrative heads. W. Va. Code § 29-3-12(d).
A person 18 or older convicted of a felony for distribution of a controlled
substance within 1,000 feet of the real property of a private elementary
or secondary school, if incarcerated, is ineligible for parole for 2 years.
W. Va. Code § 60A-4-406(a).
It is a misdemeanor to possess a firearm or other deadly weapon on a school
bus or in or on any school building, structure, facility or grounds, except
for law enforcement officers in their official capacity, persons authorized
by the county board of education or school principal to conduct a program
with a valid education purpose, and under some circumstances a person possessing
or leaving locked-up an unloaded firearm or other deadly weapon in a motor
vehicle. It is a felony to possess any firearm or any other deadly weapon
with the intent to commit a crime. Revocation or denial of a motor vehicle
license or instruction permit is among possible penalties. It is a misdemeanor
for a parent, custodian or legal guardian of a minor, who knows that the
minor has violated this provision, or has reasonable cause to believe that
a violation is eminent, not to report the belief to the school or law enforcement
officials. W. Va. Code § 61-7-11a.
Transportation: County boards of education have the
authority to provide at public expense transportation for all school age
children who live more than two miles distance from school. W. Va. Code § 18-5-13(60)(a).
Private, parochial, and church schools must comply with the West Virginia
school bus safety regulations. W. Va. Code § 18-28-2.
Home Schooling: Home instruction must be in the home
of the child to be instructed or in another approved location and must
be for a time equal to the school term of the county. The person or persons
providing home instruction must file a notice of intent to prove home instruction
that contains the name of the child to be instructed. The notice of intent
shall be given at least two weeks prior to withdrawing the child from a
public school. W. Va. Code § 18-8-1 (a); (b)(1)
The person or persons providing the instruction must submit satisfactory
evidence of a high school diploma or its equivalent and formal education
at least four years higher than the most academically advanced child for
whom the instruction will be provided. The person providing home instruction
must outline a plan of instruction for the ensuing school year. W. Va.
Code § 18-8-1 (b)(2)(3).
The person or persons providing the instruction shall annually obtain
an academic assessment of the child for the previous school year. This
can be satisfied by an approved standardized test; a written narrative
indicating that a portfolio of samples of the child's work has been reviewed
by a certified teacher or other person mutually agreed upon by the parent
and the superintendent, and that the child's academic progress is in accordance
with the child's abilities; or evidence of an alternative assessment of
the child's proficiency mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.
The assessment of progress must be submitted on or before the 30th of
June of the school year covered by the assessment. W. Va. Code § 18-8-1
The superintendent or a designee shall offer such assistance, including
textbooks, other teaching materials and available resources, as may assist
the person or persons providing home instruction subject to their availability.
Any child receiving home instruction may, upon approval of the county board
of education, exercise the option to attend any class offered by the county
board of education as the person or persons providing home instruction
may deem appropriate subject to normal registration and attendance requirements.
W. Va. Code § 18-8-1 (b)(4)(iii).
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The
sale of textbooks, tangible personal property and services for nonprofit
elementary and secondary schools, and food bought for and sold to students
is exempt from consumers sales tax. W. Va. Code § 11-15-9.
County boards of education may provide state-adopted textbooks for pupils
enrolled in private schools whose parents are unable to provide textbooks.
W. Va. Code § 18-5-21b.
Miscellaneous: Private and parochial secondary schools
may elect to join the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission
for interscholastic athletic events and band activities on the same basis
as public schools. W. Va. Code § 18-2-25.