Participants focused on concerns that impact k-12 teachers and higher education and community and technical college campuses.
One area discussed was the future implementation of the Middle College concept. The Middle College concept helps adults prepare for the GED, enhances basic skills and provides the support services necessary to help them successfully transition into post-secondary education.
"This is a middle ground for people who are fearful of taking the next step into college," said Chancellor of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College James Skidmore. "Often the deck is stacked against these students so we have to work with them and provide support so that they can continue into college."
One Middle College concept proposal is to create a Middle College center on every technical school campus.
"I truly believe that this concept will help the literacy levels of our citizens," said Board Member Priscilla Haden. "Many adults don't want to go back to school at the same location their children are going to school so a Middle College center will meet the needs of a specific population."
The stakeholders also discussed the importance if pre-service and in-service training programs for teachers. Specific attention was given to math training.
"We know that our professors in higher education need a deeper understanding of how to teach math," said West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Mike Mullen. "The recent Math Conference sponsored by the Department of Education is a good start. Putting professors and k-12 teachers in the same room to exchange ideas and teaching methods is a step in the right direction."
Concerns regarding the number of freshman college students who are required to take remedial courses were spotlighted.
"I am excited that k-12 and higher education are on the same team," said State Superintendent of Schools David Stewart. "We are not dodging the issue of poor math scores on both state and national assessments. We are going to attack this problem the same way we did regarding our reading scores several years ago. We have new, rigorous graduation requirements in place and expect to add another math credit requirement in the near future. We will get the job done."
The Board of Education recently approved the Five-Year Math Plan. The plan provides proven, research-based instructional strategies to our math teachers.
"We aren't where we need to be but I am confident the collaboration between all stakeholders will continue," said Board President Barbara Fish. "We are committed to making gigantic strides."