Grants Help State Education Board Meet Governor's Challenges

Posted: September 16, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) has successfully secured grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation as part of its efforts to meet six education challenges posed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The grants will support teacher professional development, technology innovation and Career Technical Education initiatives.

The WVBE has undertaken a comprehensive reform agenda following the governor’s education audit and the passage of Senate Bill 359. (http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/audit-response.html)

“It is so important that we collaborate with state and national partners; these grants further enhance that association and enable us to continue to move forward with our progressive transformation of education in West Virginia,” said WVBE President Gayle Manchin. 

 “Gov. Tomblin and the WVBE have undertaken a very bold education reform agenda,” said Jim Denova, vice president of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. “The plan’s initiatives are clearly aligned with Benedum Foundation priorities and we are very excited about the partnership opportunities these initiatives provide.”

The first grant ($136,000) was given to the Alliance for Excellent Education to support the implementation of Project 24 in West Virginia. It enhances the board’s efforts to meet the governor’s challenge to investigate Project 24 and advise the Governor’s Office on using technology to personalize and enhance the education of all students. Building on the free resources and tools provided by the Alliance for Excellent Education, an organization led by former Gov. Bob Wise, this grant will support a comprehensive statewide and school district-level planning process that will integrate technology innovation and high-quality digital learning instruction into every public school in West Virginia to improve student learning. Particular emphasis will be on providing the state with an independent assessment and report on the status of digital learning in state schools.  West Virginia was the first state to sign up to participate in Project 24 as a statewide education effort.

The next grant ($125,000) was awarded to the WVBE to develop a statewide professional development plan in partnership with the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF). The grant addresses the creation of a West Virginia advisory committee of practicing teachers, administrators, RESA staff, state policy makers, and higher education representatives to oversee plan development and provide feedback on the following:

  • Early stage implementation
  • Consultation by NCTAF on best practices in the alignment of professional development with student learning outcome and in the creation of professional development for teachers
  • Establishment of professional development standards based on professional teaching standards and the West Virginia Next Generation standards requirements
  • Options for professional development selection that balance state standards with local need/local decision making
  • Mechanisms for aligning professional development with teacher evaluations and school improvement
  • A strategy for deploying professional development resources more efficiently
  • A web-based clearinghouse of resources for teachers and administrators, including a site for peer review of professional development experiences

 The third grant ($180,000) was approved in June 2013 for the WVDE to develop Simulated Workplaces. The grant supports the challenge of 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. The Simulated Workplace initiative transforms West Virginia classrooms into real world, high quality, business and industry learning environments. Instead of learning in a traditional classroom, students in a Simulated Workplace are expected to be responsible, creative and dedicated employees. Currently, there are 21 Simulated Workplace sites in state Career Technical Education programs.

For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.

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