Many of the summer professional development sessions will focus on newly adopted content standards and objectives, which add rigor and relevance and incorporate 21st century skills into the curriculum, as well as new assessments to better gauge learning.
“The West Virginia Board of Education and the Department of Education know that change as called for in the 21st Century Learning initiative must occur system-wide if it is to be successful,” said state Superintendent Steve Paine. “Providing quality professional development is the key to helping teachers become literate with information and communication technology so that they can transform West Virginia’s schools into 21st century learning centers.”
Without professional development to gain such knowledge, teachers will be hampered in their abilities to teach the other 21st century skills that West Virginia has deemed important, such as global awareness; financial, economic and business literacy; civic literacy; health and wellness; information and communication skills; thinking and reasoning skills; and personal and work place productivity skills, Paine said.
The first of two week-long Teacher Leadership Institutes is taking place this week in Charleston for southern West Virginia educators. An institute for northern West Virginia is planned for Morgantown from July 29 to Aug 3.
The sessions will focus on the digital learner, 21st century content in the context of real world applications using 21st century tools, quality instruction design, performance assessment and strategic planning. Participants will learn how to integrate new standards into a lesson, among other skills. Handouts will be nowhere to be found. Instead, everyone will receive a laptop with data and resources already loaded onto the computer.
Each county has identified a four- to 32-member team of educators that include central office staff, teachers and principals. The idea is that each team will then help plan how 21st century skills will best be incorporated into their county system. The session will be followed later this year with webinars, regional meetings and extended learning sessions to continue the transition to 21st century learning and teaching.
“This is West Virginia teachers teaching West Virginia teachers,” said Institute Director Carla Williamson. “With this training, our teachers will be better equipped to teach problem solving and other higher order thinking skills.”
For more information, contact the Office of Instruction at (304) 558-5325 or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.