By Jennifer Smith
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Education leaders and teachers from across the state got down to business Monday in Charleston at the West Virginia Education Summit sponsored by the West Virginia Education Alliance.
Organizers said the goal is to bring educators and the community together to learn what each needs to do to ensure students graduate with the skills they need to enter the workforce.
Winfield Middle School 7th grade science teacher Erika Klose was excited to hear from the business roundtable that included five panelists, all who run highly successful companies including the president of the West Virginia High Tech Consortium, the chief operating officer of Appalachian Power and the president of CAMC Health Systems.
Klose said in a lot of cases educators aren’t always up to date on the latest technology or skills students need in the real world. She said one of her main goal is to adapt her lesson plans so kids are prepared for high tech careers.
“For me, I’m here for my students. I’m learning what I can do to better help them to understand what the business community really has to offer them,” she stressed.
Klose called it a give and take. She helps prepare her students for the careers of tomorrow by getting feedback from executives on what skills they’re looking for in new hires. She called that especially important with science.
“(Students) are at the point where they make huge decisions. They may not be able to make an exact decision on what they want to do with their life but they make big decisions about what they perceive as cool or not cool or interesting or not interesting,” said Klose
The teacher explained if a student has a bad experience with a science class it can put them off the subject for years. By the time they try and catch up, they’ve missed so much a career in science or math may have already passed them by. She finds that especially true for young women.
“Girls get so much input about what as women they can do and what they can’t do. So especially at that age, if we can allow them to see that there’s a place for them in especially a technology career or something like that, it’s a really important time,” Klose stressed.
Also speaking at Monday’s event were Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and new state Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano.