1K educators gather for three-day summit

MORGANTOWN — About 1,000 educators will descend on Morgantown over the course of three days to participate in workshops designed to help kick-off the new school year.

Dr. Steve Paine delivered opening remarks to several hundred educators Monday morning, discussing a number of issues ranging from the state of education in West Virginia, proficiency in math and the Public Employee’s Insurance Agency (PEIA).

Expecting 1,000 in Morgantown this week and another 1,000 in Charleston for a second Summit for Educational Excellence next week, Paine praised the work ethic of the state’s educators.

“I think that speaks to the professionalism of our teachers and our principals; I see the majority of our audience comes from that background today,” he said. “That they are willing to give up their time at district expense or their expense to come together to learn from some of the finest throughout the country.”

The workshops were designed with input and feedback from teachers.

“We asked them what’s the professional develop we can help you with or facilitate for you that will make a difference in your upcoming school year,” Paine said. “We asked them, we’ve assembled those sessions, and that’s why we are here — to respond to their needs.”

Paine once again cited his belief that West Virginia’s students can improve in mathematics, following the release of scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) earlier this year that showcased a troubling outlook for West Virginia’s students.

“I have a real heart to really focus in on mathematics student achievement,” Paine said. “It’s been a problem in West Virginia for the past 30 years. I fail to believe that our kids can not or will not learn mathematics as well as any other students in the rest of the country.”

Just 35 percent of West Virginia fourth graders were proficient in math, remaining below the national average of 40 percent. Meanwhile, only 33 percent of eighth graders were considered proficient in the subject.

Paine also expressed his optimism in the future of the state’s education following the statewide work stoppage earlier this year and the ongoing work of the PEIA Task Force.

“I’m just optimistic that with the commitment the governor’s put together with the Task Force that he will find a solution,” Paine said.

The summit also features a keynote address by online adjunct graduate-level professor Kathy Shrock from Wilkes University, Pennsylvania, this morning.

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