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West Virginia Department of Education Unveils an Innovative 21st Century Learning Tool

August 09, 2006

Charleston, W. Va. – The Learning Community Digital Resource answers the burning question … What are 21st century skills? The digital resource was unveiled today to the West Virginia Board of Education. Board members learned that the digital resource is designed for school leaders and educators interested in learning more about the components of 21st century learning.  

Developed by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Superintendent’s Center for 21st Century Schools in conjunction with the EdVenture Group, the digital resource is offered as a support for leadership development in West Virginia schools and school systems.  

West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, along with the West Virginia Board of Education, the WVDE, state legislators, educators and other community members signed a statement of support indicating their commitment to 21st century learning. The Partnership's framework puts a special emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, global awareness and business literacy.  

“The WVDE is looking to principals and other school leaders to carry forth the 21st Century Learning Initiative,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Our challenge is to provide instruction that is not only relevant, engaging and meaningful, but that also includes the world-class rigor necessary to prepare our students to be competitive in the 21st century workplace. The WVDE has been traveling the state spreading the word about the importance of 21st century learning. The Learning Community Digital Resource is the A-B-Cs of the initiative.”  

The Learning Community Digital Resource is a powerful tool for group and individual learning about the creation of 21st century schools. Designed to answer the essential question of “What are the characteristics of a school that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century?,” this resource contains digital links that guide the learner through selected readings and activities.  

Segments will expand the participant’s knowledge of (1) the rationale for 21st century schools, (2) the six components of 21st century learning and (3) the skills needed by school leaders and teachers to be successful in creating 21st century schools.  

The digital format of the resource makes it easily accessible to educators throughout West Virginia. It may be segmented and used as part of a formalized school or district professional learning community. Or, it may be the basis of informal research and professional development by individual leaders wishing to expand personal understanding of the 21st century initiative.  

“In order to achieve ‘21st Century Learning for All,’ schools must be learning-centered organizations focused on sustained common learning experiences that build cohesion and commitment among the staff,” said Lydia McCue, Superintendent’s Center for 21st Century Schools Executive Director. “It is our hope that the use of this Digital Resource will be a positive example of how school and district leaders can create these powerful learning communities dedicated to bringing about high quality, rigorous 21st century results for the students they serve.”  

The Learning Community Digital Resource can be found at: http://wvde.state.wv.us/21stcenturydigitalresource/  

For further information about the resource or guidance on how it may be used in professional development, contact Sharon Flack via email at sflack@access.k12.wv.us or Lisa Youell at lyouell@access.k12.wv.us or call 304 558-3199.  

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