CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) is reimagining educator professional development in the state. This move is part of the WVBE efforts to meet challenges presented by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as part of his education goals.
The WVBE and the Appalachian Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) are collaborating with Imagine West Virginia, an independent research and development group, to provide information and best practices on educator leadership preparation and licensure models. Meanwhile, West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) staff is also researching leadership literature and best practice for educator professional development. In addition, the West Virginia School Board Association has developed a series of trainings for leadership capacity development for superintendents and board members. Finally, the Center for Professional Development is conducting a training session for instructors in September on leadership and decision making based on data.
“We know that one of the most important factors in student achievement improvement is the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders,” said Gayle Manchin, WVBE president. “As such, the reach of the professional development work we are leading for educators, county board members and school administrators is immeasurable.”
Regarding student reading achievement, the WVBE continues to make progress meeting the governor’s challenge to increase literacy rates. In his State of the State Address, Gov. Tomblin asked the state board to take actions within its authority to assure all students are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade. Most recently, the WVBE and the WVDE have teamed up with ARCC and other national experts to hold a series of discussions to build a comprehensive plan for early childhood education and third-grade reading achievement. The first meeting, attended by educators, community groups, lawmakers and others, took place in early August. Participants established six advisory groups to focus on Universal pre-K, school readiness and assessment, pre-K-3rd grade curriculum and instruction, early childhood workforce development and advocacy and public engagement. The board continues to work with state colleges and universities to raise standards for teachers, especially in the area of reading instruction. The board is also exploring how it can assure that all current teachers have the skills needed for the critical task of teaching not only reading but all subjects to our youngest students. Specifically, the board is requiring all new elementary teachers take and pass an assessment guaranteeing they possess the necessary skills to teach reading.
Other education challenges presented to the board by Gov. Tomblin include:
· Establishing a commission to review the current governance structure of the 55 county boards of education and the costs that necessitates.
· Aggressively pursuing the use of Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) to create efficiencies and to decentralize the delivery of professional development services.
· Coordinating cross-counseling efforts between public education and community colleges to ensure high school graduates are prepared for a career.
· Requiring every career center in West Virginia to adopt or develop at least one career pathway that meets Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) standards for Advanced Career Programs for Preparation for Tomorrow.
· Investigating Project 24 and advising the governor on utilizing technology to personalize and enhance the education of all students.
For more information contact Liza Cordeiro in WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.