More than 450 educators, school partners and community leaders convene to focus on student achievement during annual West Virginia Student Success Summit

Charleston, W.Va. – More than 450 West Virginians dedicated to the achievement of the Mountain State’s students gathered this week at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center for the West Virginia Student Success Summit, an annual event hosted in partnership by West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission, Community & Technical College System, and Department of Education.

Focusing on this year’s theme, “Framing West Virginia’s Future Together,” school counselors, educators, administrators from pre-school through higher education discussed how to better create seamless, lifelong learning opportunities for the state’s students and prepare them for West Virginia’s future economy.

“It is perhaps more important now than ever before that partners across the state come together around the critical mission of helping more West Virginia students pursue and succeed in some form of education or training after high school,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “I am so grateful to everyone who joined together for this year’s Student Success Summit, and I am so inspired by their dedication for our students. Because of their vision and commitment, I am confident we can help West Virginia’s young people overcome the challenges they may face – and reach their education and career goals, right here at home.”

“With the challenges facing our children, it is vital that educators, administrators, counselors and everyone committed to student attainment do everything possible to ensure our students have every opportunity to succeed,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “The Student Success Summit allows participants to not only share ways to impact academic achievement, but also provides techniques to address their social-emotional issues that support the whole child.”

West Virginia has 6,838 children in foster care, more than 17 percent of the state’s children live in poverty, and more than 10,000 are homeless. This creates unique issues that state educators face every day in the classroom. Attendees of the Student Success Summit addressed these tough issues head-on and sought to come up with creative, collaborative solutions to tackle the biggest hurdles in the state’s PK-20 school systems. During the two-day summit, participants engaged in thoughtful small-group breakout sessions and learned from dynamic plenary speakers for the purpose of creating a brighter, more successful future for West Virginia’s students.

A key component of the Student Success Summit was collaboration with students themselves. During the summit’s opening plenary, a panel of West Virginia students shared their insights, thoughts, experiences, and opinions on student success. Additionally, they spoke about the art of resiliency, finding balance, the value of education, what it means to be part of Generation Z, and what educators specifically can do to help them take that extra leap towards postsecondary educational attainment.

Leaders from the West Virginia Department of Education also updated participants on efforts to address the teacher shortage in the state. They outlined various pathways to teacher licensure, including the Grow Your Own WV Teaching Pathway Model and the WV Residency Model. The newly launched Teach WV campaign helps those considering a career in education obtain licensure.

The Student Success Summit is the state’s preeminent collaborative event among the PK-12 and higher education systems, as well as community stakeholders, that focuses on creating a college-going culture across the state and promoting college- and career-readiness in West Virginia’s schools.

“Collaboration among students, teachers, administrators, higher education professionals, businesses and communities is vital for student success and achieving workforce educational goals for the state,” said Elizabeth Manuel, Senior Director of Student Services at the Higher Education Policy Commission and Community & Technical College System. “By addressing the state’s biggest issues head-on at the Student Success Summit, participants left equipped with strategies to better achieve student success within their classrooms, schools, colleges and communities.”