Chris Schulz Published

Teachers Learning State’s New Literacy And Numeracy Programs

A colorful background contrasts the white lettering "Invest 2023 Educational Symposium" on a sign in a hallway. A man in a blue shirt and black pants stands next to the sign with his back to the camera in a hallway that extends away from the camera.
Teachers from the north of West Virginia are in Morgantown this week to learn more about the state's literacy and numeracy efforts.
Chris Schulz/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Teachers are meeting in Morgantown this week to learn more about the state’s new programs for reading and math. 

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is hosting hundreds of educators during the second INVEST Conference of the summer. 

Superintendent Michele Blatt said this is the second statewide conference to help prepare educators to implement the Third Grade Success Act. Teachers from the south of the state met in Charleston last month.

“It is to begin the implementation of House Bill 3035, the Third Grade Success Act, to start training our teachers and principals on the implementation of the science of reading components,” Blatt said. “And also start with the Unite with Numeracy work around the math skills so that our students can be successful by the time they leave third grade.”

Todd Seymour, principal of Preston High School and a former math teacher said, “This week is all about trying to enhance our reading and math, teaching and learning in the state.”

Seymour said educators are trying to reiterate the foundational courses and skills that impact every educational outcome.

“Not that social studies, or science, or foreign language isn’t important,” he said. “But reading and math are incorporated in all of those. It’s the foundational courses, our reading and math. If you can’t read the social studies textbook, you’re not going to do well. If you’re in science and can’t do the calculations, you’re not going to do well.I think that’s really what we’re trying to do, and trying to come up with research based strategies that are going to help and enhance what we’ve been doing,” he said.

For many educators, INVEST is their first look at the state’s Ready Read Write literacy program as well as the Math4Life: Unite With Numeracy program.

Trenna Robinson, a fifth grade teacher in Elkins, said she’s excited to learn about the Unite With Numeracy program, but that Randolph County has been proactive in improving its math base. 

“Schools were allowed to have their own math team and we meet after school, and we actually had our own math getaway, which was really cool,” Robinson said. “Teachers brought different ideas. It’s all new up and coming things to help make our students successful.”

She said with the setbacks of COVID-19, teachers as well as students and parents need to refocus and get back to where they need to be, and both small, local teams as well as statewide conferences, contribute to that.

“I like our small teams, because we can focus on our students and our needs within our buildings and our county,” Robinson said. “I also think this is really beneficial because we see large groups of people, and see different ideas from different places and get their ideas and see what we can use to help our students be successful.”