WHEELING – Students at Wheeling Park High School who want to become teachers will have the opportunity to be pushed to the top of the class starting next year.
The West Virginia Department of Education selected schools in Ohio County as one of 21 school districts in the state to participate in a “Grow Your Own” teacher program.
Drawing from the nursing career technical training path, high school students will take the first steps toward a teaching career by earning credits — and possibly classroom teaching experience — before graduating. of high school. The goal is for applicants to enter college with a minimum of 22 credit hours.
The school district will partner with West Liberty University on the program, according to Ohio County Schools Deputy Superintendent Rick Jones.
County school districts will work with colleges and universities to provide college-level education and provide building supports around each student as they develop strong professional practices, according to a state DOE release.
WPHS already has a “Beyond Education” program in place which aims to inspire students to enter the teaching field.
“It didn’t inspire the Grow Your Own program, but it’s probably part of the reason we were selected to be a pilot school,” Jones said. “They know what we’re doing and that it’s easier for us to be involved.”
Ohio County schools have already been in contact with WLU officials and logistics are being discussed, he added.
Jones said the program could begin next fall at the start of the 2022-23 school year.
“We are very interested in this if it can work for us and for our children,” he said. “We met with West Liberty last week, and we need another follow-up.”
State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch said “the Grow Your Own path is brimming with potential.”
“The county option is a good step forward, but we plan to offer other licensing opportunities that will give people more flexibility when exploring the profession,” he said. declared. “We are at a critical stage, along with the rest of the country, to address the teacher shortage and we must work creatively, collectively and cohesively to address the recruitment and retention challenges.”