West Virginia Executive Summer 2014 - Page 81

Student Success Summit to Focus on Supporting Students at Every Level More than 300 education administrators, teachers, students, military leaders and community group members joined forces in late July to find ways to help students prepare for lifelong success. Education representatives ranging from preschool teachers to college presidents to the students they serve convened during the fourth annual Student Success Summit at the Waterfront Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown. The annual, two-day event provides a unique opportunity for participants to work together to create a more seamless, life-long education system. The summit featured more than 60 sessions on topics ranging from dropout prevention to college access to on-the-job learning experiences. This year’s theme was “Students Soar When Communities Connect.” Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, served as the keynote speaker. His message focused on the role public and community organizations play in supporting education goals. “Engaging the community is a critical component of building stronger education systems,” says Chuck Heinlein, state superintendent of schools. “Educational experiences and student development do not begin or end at the classroom door. A partnership between parents, faith-based leaders, nonprofit social service providers, public agencies and employers is vital as we work to help students develop the personal skills and connections required for their ultimate success.” Six high schools sent teams of students to participate in a focused Youth Summit track of the conference. Students learned leadership skills and strategies to build and strengthen a college-going culture in their communities. The summit was sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Department of Education, with support from the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and the state’s military service units. Department of Education Joins with Microsoft to Give Students a High-Tech Edge High school students across West Virginia now have the opportunity to graduate with an informational technology (IT) certification thanks to a new collaboration between the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and Microsoft Corp. The department selected Microsoft’s IT Academy for West Virginia’s high schools, career and technical schools and virtual schools program. “Within 10 years, 60 percent of jobs that exist will be ones that don’t exist today,” says West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Chuck Heinlein. “The IT Academy brings industryrelevant technology education and software to West Virginia, creating opportunities for every teacher and every student in the state to be successful now and into the future. The extent of our collaboration with Microsoft is unprecedented, and our students are the true benefactors.” www.wvexecutive.com summer 2014 81