W.Va. Cited for its Work on 21st Century Skills

June 17, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – For the second time in two years the West Virginia Department of Education has been recognized for its 21st Century Learning initiative. West Virginia was one of six states to receive the 21st Century Practice of the Year Award for 2008, which commemorates the nation’s preeminent state-led 21st century skills initiatives.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills cited West Virginia for its Teachers Leadership Institute, which helps teachers develop an understanding of 21st century learning. West Virginia also was recognized for its Teach 21 Web site, which provides educators research-based instructional strategies, technology tools and other resources. The state was cited for “outstanding work in combining 21st century skills and groundbreaking teacher professional development practices.”
“We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to improve how teachers educate our young” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “This award reinforces that we are on the right track in building an educational system that is changing not only what we teach but how we teach to help our children succeed.”
In 2005, West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which marries business interests with classroom instruction. The partnership has nearly 40 members, including Apple, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Verizon.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education and encourages schools, districts and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education and provides tools to help facilitate change.
“The 21st century skills leadership states are the pioneers of the 21st century skills movement,” said Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. “Collectively their work serves as model for building a world-class education system.”
Since joining the partnership, West Virginia has worked to add rigor to its educational system and incorporate 21st century skills, including learning and thinking skills; information and communications skills; technology skills; and work place productivity skills.
“Students must be able to comprehend, problem solve and communicate solutions if they are expected to collaborate globally,” Paine said. “Our 21st Century Learning initiative provides a system-wide approach that will provide our graduates with the intellectual capital to thrive in an interconnected world.”
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.

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