February 9, 2022

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) launched its TeachWV campaign during the meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) in Charleston today. The official launch included the newly revised TeachWV.com website that will be a resource for those interested in earning a teaching certificate, and the naming of the counties that will participate in the pilot of a Grow Your Own (GYO) teacher preparation program.

Grow Your Own models are designed to provide innovative, low-cost pathways into the teaching profession. Grow Your Own West Virginia is one model that partners the county with an institution of higher education. Modeled after the nursing career technical education pathway, high school students begin the journey into the profession by earning credits and eventually classroom teaching experience before graduating high school. The goal is for candidates to enter a college with a minimum of 22 credit hours.

Counties work with colleges and universities to provide college-level instruction while also building supports around each student as they develop strong professional practices. By starting their career with a foundation in pedagogy and practical classroom experience while surrounded by mentors and other education professionals, the student will have a better entry into the profession.

In this model, once the student reaches their senior year in college, they are eligible to return to the classroom as the teacher of record providing much needed relief at the local level as well as gaining valuable experience and a salary for themselves.

“The Grow Your Own pathway is teeming with potential,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “The county option is a good step forward, but we expect to offer other opportunities for licensure that will give people more flexibility as they explore the profession. We are at a critical stage, along with the rest of country, in dealing with the teacher shortage and we must work creatively, collectively and with consistency to address the challenges to recruitment and retention.”

Counties participating in the Grow Your Own pilot (to date) include:

Berkeley Lewis Putnam
Braxton Marion Summers
Cabell McDowell Taylor
Calhoun Mingo Upshur
Fayette Monroe Wayne
Greenbrier Nicholas
Jefferson Ohio
Kanawha Pocahontas

The TeachWV.com website has been redesigned to provide more information about options to earn a teaching certificate. The site’s navigation allows individuals to plot their pathway based on a variety of variables. It also highlights testimonials from current college students pursuing their teaching degrees as well as those from educators, and information from teacher preparation programs around the state.

In other WVBE business, the WVDE Office of Support and Accountability gave a six-month update on the Special Circumstance Review of Jefferson County’s high school counseling services. The review was conducted at the request of the county Board of Education.

Four focus areas were addressed as part of the review:

1 – Comprehensive School County Program (CSCP)

2 – Grading, Transcription and Scheduling

3 – Communication and Customer Service

4 – Central Office Support

According to the WVDE review team, the county has made progress in addressing many of the issues raised including (among others): completion and utilization of a Comprehensive School Counseling Program; improvements in responding to student and family calls/correspondences; and the creation of a central office position to support school counseling programs.

The WVDE recommends further work with the county to ensure all areas of the Review are addressed and fully implemented. Documents are available on wvde.us. The Special Circumstance Review Report published in July 2021 can be viewed on the WVDE Office of Accountability and Support’s webpage. The WVBE approved the six-month Review as presented.

Additionally, the Board approved amendments to two county Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plans (CEFPs). These include:

  • Ritchie County to include the addition of a school-based wellness center at Smithville Elementary.
  • Wirt County to upgrade HVAC systems and improvements at Wirt County Middle School and renovations at Wirt County High School’s auditorium that will create improved and increased instructional areas.

Finally, the WVBE placed Policy 2417 on public comment for 30 days. It is being revised to include Alternate English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards. These standards will create the framework on which the ELP Alternate Assessment is based. The policy will be made available at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is Wednesday, March 9, 2022, in Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.

Documents presented during WVBE meetings can be found on the wvde.us website. For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.

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