W.Va. Students and Educators Head Back to Class

August 27, 2010

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven L. Paine
The start of a new school year brings a sense of excitement to schools across West Virginia. It is a time for optimism, high energy and a commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of children.

As students return to school, I want to take a moment to publicly thank West Virginia teachers, administrators and parents for their dedication to improving student achievement. Together, we have embraced a renewed focus and dedication to helping students become college and career ready when they graduate from our high schools.

We are doing this at schools across the state by incorporating 21st century performance skills into a rigorous core curriculum. Educators and students alike are meeting the challenges of Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it. Global21 is more than a slogan. At its core is the systemic change that must occur from preschool to high school if our children are to be successful in an ever changing world.
We are seeing the benefits of this change in better student performance across the board on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2, the ACT college entrance exam and the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students. We also have a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.

West Virginia schools are on a journey to prepare students who are the most prepared of any other generation. We continue to teach the basics, including English, math, science, foreign languages and the arts. It is our core mission. However, our students are learning an improved and expanded curriculum infused with world-class rigor aligned with national and international standards.

We’ve also updated our Content Standards and Objectives to incorporate 21st century performance skills, including problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration.  West Virginia has an updated assessment in WESTEST2 to better gauge learning.

We owe it to our students to believe in their ability to reach a higher bar and to support them with what it takes to reach it. Our students need rigorous standards if they are to have real choices in the future. Hard work and dedication truly does change the lives of our students for the better so that they can fulfill their potential.
The progress West Virginia students have made in recent years is a result of collective efforts of teachers and parents, administrators and students. I am confident that with continued hard work the 2010-20111 school year will be a very successful one for public education in West Virginia.

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