West Virginia Tools for Schools

21st Century Tools for 21st Century Schools (Tools for Schools)

 

In November, 2005, West Virginia became the second state in the nation to sign an agreement and announce a joint effort with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.  West Virginia's 21st Century initiative provides a powerful statewide vision to ensure that every child in West Virginia succeeds as a citizen, worker and leader in the 21st Century.

 

“We have focused a great deal on equity in education as part of No Child Left Behind,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Along with that, we must focus on ensuring that our children are prepared for tomorrow. We are responsible for producing students that can read and write but these students also must be able to analyze data, solve problems and communicate effectively.”

 

Part of ensuring that West Virginia students receive a 21st century education is to provide the necessary resources (e.g., hardware, software, professional development, infrastructure and technical support) to meet the needs of 21st century learners.  To acquire 21st century skills, students and teachers must have access to appropriate technology tools and resources so that they can access information, solve problems, communicate clearly, make informed decisions, acquire new knowledge, and construct products, reports and systems.

 

Students must learn to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models and to use telecommunications to publish and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences and to use a variety of media and formats to communicate effectively to multiple audiences. Students must learn to use technology tools to enhance their learning and to promote creatively.  Finally, students must use technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.

 

A forward-thinking 1989 West Virginia Legislature passed legislation providing for “high quality basic skills development and remediation in all public schools.”  This legislation resulted in the creation of the Basic Skills/Computer Education Program for West Virginia Schools.

 

The legislation was amended in 1996 to provide for the "utilization of technology in middle, junior high, and high schools" to ensure that West Virginia's high school graduates would have the technology skills necessary to fully prepare them for post-secondary education or employment and to equip them with the skills and attributes necessary to succeed, to continue learning throughout their lifetimes, and to attain economic self-sufficiency.  As a result of this legislation, the WV SUCCESS Initiative was born.  SUCCESS, Student Utilization of Computers in Curriculum for the Enhancement of Scholastic Skills, provided the technology tools necessary to meet this mandate. 

 

West Virginia Code 18-2E-7 was amended in 2007 to provide for “21st Century instruction and learning in all public schools.”  The 21st Century Tools for 21st Century Schools Initiatives support this legislation by providing high quality technology tools, application software, engaging classroom curriculum / technology resources, relevant and job-embedded professional development, and infrastructure to support the initiative.