West Virginia University at Parkersburg
WVU Parkersburg's Education Division awarded $30,000 grant from Benedum Foundation.
CONTACT: Dr. Cindy Kelley, chair of Education Division, 304-424-8345.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Virginia University at Parkersburg's Education Division is the recipient of a $30,000 grant for its Partnerships Project, a collaboration between the college and local elementary schools.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation has awarded the grant to the college for its unique educational initiative which impacts more than 300 Wood County Schools' elementary and middle school students. The grant is part of the Foundation's support for the Partnerships for Teacher Quality Initiative at ten public teacher preparation programs in West Virginia.
Originally, the Partnerships Project involved WVU Parkersburg working with Fairplains Elementary School to meet the needs of children, teachers and the college's elementary education majors. The college taught its instructional strategies course at Fairplains to give its teacher candidates an opportunity to be in an elementary classroom setting as they learned and applied concepts and skills to utilize as elementary teachers.
The Project has expanded to involve Fairplains and four additional elementary school partners with instructional strategies courses being offered in those schools as well, including Mineral Wells, Worthington, Williamstown, and Neale elementary schools. A sixth instructional strategies class is offered at the college with varied partner school students bused to the college to participate.
WVU Parkersburg offers a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education. The institution was one of the first colleges in the state to initiate a professional development relationship with public schools as part of its education program.
"With the Benedum grant, we can continue and expand the Partnerships Project," noted Cindy Kelley, chair of the college's Education Division. "It's an opportunity to offer educational benefits for new teacher candidates and public school students and the project creates a win-win situation for the college and our partner schools."
Dr. Kelley said the project has three goals: to better prepare teacher candidates for the profession of teaching; to provide remedial and enrichment services for public school students, and to provide meaningful professional development activities for teacher candidates, in-service teachers and college faculty.
The Partnerships Project is also a partner with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Parkersburg. Through the club's Power Hour program, emphasis is placed on enhancing skills identified by the schools as being in need of remediation.
All of WVU Parkersburg's teacher candidates are involved in a study track that includes a minimum of three semesters of clinical experience in established Partner schools, Dr. Kelley noted. While in Wood County, student teachers are placed in Partnership schools. The Education Division is still piloting and developing partnerships for student teachers in other schools in the service area.
"Currently we are exploring partnership possibilities in Jackson and Roane counties," Dr. Kelley said. The Education Division assisted Roane County with the funded writing of a Reading First grant. The Project is also assisting with after-school programs in Jackson County. Talks of possible formal partnerships have begun with Pleasants County.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation was established in 1944 by the late Michael and Sarah Benedum, natives of West Virginia, as a memorial to their only child, Claude Worthington, who died in 1918 at the age of 20. Focusing on West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Foundation has awarded 6,627 grants totaling just over $279 million since its inception.
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Executive Director, Communications and Public Relations
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