While their students are busy at summer camp, teachers across West Virginia are going back to class through professional development offered by the West Virginia Department of Education.
Many of the department's summer professional development sessions focus on providing educators with tools to meet state Board of Education goals that outline what students should know, how they should behave and what they should achieve in public schools. The sessions also board priorities, including an emphasis on personalized learning to educate every child.
During July, nearly 1,000 teachers are taking part of the Teacher Leadership Institute in Morgantown. The institute, which began July 8 and continued through Friday, gives different groups of teachers each week the chance to learn about updated Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for the 21st century and develop personalized learning teaching techniques.
Also this month, about 200 teachers participated in the 2012 Science, Arts and Social Studies Institute in Morgantown. The event consist of three separate content academies designed to provide teachers with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to serve as facilitators for quality professional development for their peers. Participants will learn about integration and development of elementary and secondary experiential inquiry science instruction and the Common Core Science literacy standards. They also will experience dance and theatre standards-based instruction and learn about the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Social Studies.
In addition, the WVDE hosted a train-the-trainer and leadership training for pre-kindergarten teachers in language and literary as well as science and math in Charleston. The program included specific professional development components for administrators as well as family engagement. Participants received a family engagement backpack to promote science and math learning. The backpacks were provided by the Carnegie Science Center with a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
"Providing our teachers with quality professional development is the key to transforming West Virginia's schools into 21st century learning centers," said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. "With this training, our teachers will be better equipped to address the learning needs of the whole child."
Without professional development, teachers will be hampered in their abilities to teach subjects that West Virginia has deemed important. Those include not only traditional core subjects such as English, math, science and social studies, but also foreign languages, the arts, career and technical education, health and wellness and more.
The WVDE, in partnership with the West Virginia University College of Engineering and Project Lead the Way, also is providing training to teachers participating in the energy and power pilot. The pilot marks the first time career technical teachers and academic teachers have collaborated to teach curriculum. The course will be used beginning this fall in preparing high school students for careers in energy and power fields.
Other professional development opportunities offered by the WVDE include the Summer Technical and Adult Education Conference in Charleston, which took place Monday through Wednesday. Attendees could view a Toyota Prius cut-away, where the car is cut in half so that its internal workings can be viewed. The car also will be on display for auto technology teachers during training on electric and hybrid electric vehicles at the National Alternative Fuel Training Center in Morgantown Monday to Aug 3.
In August, the WVDE's effort to train more than 300 technology integration specialists will continue. Once trained, the technology specialists take their skills back to their home schools where they help other teachers integrate technology into their lessons.
"We must help West Virginia teachers stay up to date," Marple said. "We already have some of the best teachers in the nation, but we need to help them adapt to today's changing world."
More information is available by calling 304-558-2699.