West Virginia Schools Superintendent Clayton Burch Meets Aspiring Teachers at Wheeling Park High School | News, Sports, Jobs

West Virginia Schools Superintendent Clayton Burch, left, talks to Wheeling Park High School students Savannah Turner-Davis, Jaleah Creighton and Jerm’aniq Edmonds Thursday at the school. Burch was at WPHS to speak to students about the Beyond Education future teacher program and inspire them to get involved in the state’s similar Grow Your Own program, which aims to fund educational opportunities for future educators.

WHEELING — West Virginia urgently needs more qualified teachers, both now and in the future, according to state school superintendent Clayton Burch.

Burch was at Wheeling Park High School Thursday morning to discuss the state’s new “Grow Your Own” program to mentor and financially assist high school students who want careers in education. Later that day, he made stops in the Northern Panhandle at John Marshall and Tyler Consolidated High Schools.

Burch was joined at the WPHS by Carla Warren, Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Public Schools, and McNinch Elementary School teacher Heather Haught, winner of the 2021 West Virginia Milken Award to discuss the need for teachers in the state.

Burch said there are 650 public schools in West Virginia attended by about 250,000 students. The school employs around 23,000 teachers.

“That sounds like a lot of teachers…but here’s the thing. Statewide, we currently have 1,200 vacancies,” he said. “There are 1,200 classrooms that don’t have a certified teacher.

picture by: Photo by Joselyn King

Students at Wheeling Park High School who participate in the school’s Beyond Education program for future teachers hear information about the state’s similar Grow Your Own program, which aims to fund educational opportunities for future educators.

“We have a county in southern West Virginia that hasn’t had a certified high school math teacher in 10 years…. How can we expect them to succeed? »

The need for teachers has doubled in the past six years, and “it’s going to get tougher,” according to Burch.

“Of 250,000 children in public schools in West Virginia, 10,000 are in foster care,” he said. “Another 10,000 are identified as homeless.

“That represents 20,000 children who are either in foster care or homeless in West Virginia schools over the past year. It’s sad. It’s a bit hard.

West Virginia has the most students in its classrooms who have encountered opioid abuse issues at home, he continued.

picture by: Photo by Joselyn King

West Virginia Schools Superintendent Clayton Burch listens to the discussion during a stop at Wheeling Park High School on Thursday. Burch was at WPHS to speak to students about the Beyond Education future teacher program and encourage them to get involved in the state’s similar Grow Your Own program, which aims to fund training opportunities for future teachers.

Burch said the state needs teachers who are not only smart, but also “caring, kind, and compassionate adults.”

Warren explained that the Grow Your Own program allows students to begin pursuing a teaching degree during their freshman year of high school. Participating counties work with higher education institution partners to develop pathways that include college-level coursework and unique hands-on classroom experiences, and Wheeling Park HIgh School partners with West Liberty University.

High school dual credit courses are free for students. The costs associated with the PRAXIS class are also covered.

The goal of the program is for high school students to earn up to 30 college credits before graduating from high school and then begin college in the second year with a major in education. Once the student has earned 60 college credits, they are eligible to begin substitute teaching on their college schedule and be paid for their efforts.

Although teachers in West Virginia are currently required to teach students before graduation, they are not compensated for their time teaching students. Trainee teachers will receive compensation for their teaching under the “Grow Your Own” program.

picture by: Photo by Joselyn King

Meredith Dailer, principal of Wheeling Park High School, left, Rick Jones, assistant superintendent of Ohio County Schools, and Clayton Burch, superintendent of West Virginia Schools, listen to a discussion about the Grow Your program Own of the state to inspire students to become teachers.

By the time of their third year of middle school – or their senior year – they will be placed in a class as an elementary school teacher under the direction of a supervisor. Once students earn an education degree, they will be given hiring preference for teaching positions in participating school districts. Details regarding whether Grow Your Own graduates will be required to stay and teach at West Virginia schools are still being finalized, according to Ohio County Schools Deputy Superintendent Rick Jones.

Ohio County is one of 28 counties participating in the Grow Your Own pilot program, which begins with the start of the 2022-23 school year. WPHS already has its own Beyond Education class that seeks to inspire students into careers in education, with a focus on minority students.

Burch, Warren and Haught that most teachers are in the classroom because they “have a calling”.

Warren said she especially enjoyed the first graders she taught.

“You could wear the same dress every day, and they’d still be like, ‘You look so pretty,'” she said. “They really feed your ego in first grade.”

picture by: Photo by Joselyn King

Heather Haught, a teacher at McNinch Elementary School, winner of the 2021 West Virginia Milken Prize, tells students at Wheeling Park High School why she loves teaching.

Haught said she has been a teacher for 12 years.

“In first grade, (students) make you feel like a superstar every day,” she continued. “If you see them at Walmart or Kroger, and you’re a celebrity. It’s just amazing.

Teachers also have the pleasure of watching their students grow throughout the year, Haught explained.

“They come in like babies,” she said. “A lot of them will tell you they can’t read. I tell them it’s okay. That’s what we (the teachers) are here for.

“I can see them learning to read all year round, and it’s an amazing thing to see,” Haught said.

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