West Virginia: Working in Education in West Virginia

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Technology Education

The West Virginia Department of Education approves the courses that are offered via the West Virginia Virtual School by distance learning companies, organizations, and K-12 and higher education institutions. The Virtual School pays students' tuitions on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds are available. When funds are no longer available, the local district or parent must pay the tuition. Students in private and parochial schools may enroll in classes. Enrollment in the West Virginia Virtual School has increased from three students in 2000 to over 2,000 students in approximately 165 different courses.

The virtual school offers a weeklong professional development course for classroom teachers who would like to add an online component to their classroom instruction.

The Center for Digital Education ranked West Virginia seventh among the states for its policies and practices that support online education.

Teacher's Aides

The estimated mean annual salary for teaching assistants in West Virginia was $21,730 in May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nationwide mean was $23,560.

West Virginia is one of twelve states that have higher requirements for instructional paraprofessionals than required by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. West Virginia is one of only ten states that require instructional paraprofessionals to be certified; licensure/certification requires 36 hours of postsecondary education or its equivalent. West Virginia requirements for paraprofessionals in federally funded programs are higher than those for paraprofessionals in state-funded programs.

All paraprofessionals must pass the West Virginia State Competency Exam for Classroom Aides. West Virginia offers a number of courses for paraprofessionals who are working toward certification.

Educational Management

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the estimated mean annual wage for preschool and childcare administrators in West Virginia was $33,050 in May 2008, which is much lower than the nationwide mean of $46,370. For elementary and secondary administrators the state mean was $58,720, compared to the nationwide mean of $86,060. In an attempt to address issues regarding principals' pay, the Alleghany County Schools have adopted a plan to base principals' pay on a formula indexed to the top of the teachers' salary.

A posting for a high school principal position indicates that candidates should have the following: West Virginia principal certification for grades 9-12, a master's degree or higher, and three years of successful teaching experience.

Curriculum and Instruction

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean annual salary of instructional coordinators in South Dakota was $48,450 in May 2008, which is lower than the nationwide mean of $59,780. Also called educational specialists or consultants or instructional materials directors, educators in this position develop instructional materials and help teachers develop curriculum and integrate technology into learning.

To help educators deliver 21st century instruction in order to improve student achievement, the West Virginia Department of Education makes resources such as project-based learning models, instructional strategies, models for technology integration, classroom assessments, and technology standards available to educators, parents, and children.

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