CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hundreds of West Virginia educators from schools all across the state are taking proactive approaches this summer to ensuring their schools provide safe and nurturing learning environments for students.

The educators are taking part in the Safe and Supportive Schools Program which is a cooperative effort between the West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD) and the West Virginia Department of Education.

At four separate two day training sessions held throughout the summer in West Virginia, public schools that choose to participate will send a group, consisting of an administrator and staff, to review data from a school climate survey previously done at each school regarding their particular school’s culture.

Chief Operations Officer with the WVCPD Lorrie Smith said during each training session, each school group will work through that data to come up with a plan to change their school’s culture within the next school year.

“This is really an attempt to identify problems, make interventions to solve the problem before it escalates and to also reward good behaviors,” she said.

It’s about helping students who have difficulties or problems within the schools before it leads to actions that put the rest of the students in danger.

“Try to implement some positive behavior supports rather than what we can do to get them in trouble,” said Smith.

By promoting and reinforcing positive behaviors, the WVCPD believes participants work to reduce discipline issues at their schools.

Once the sessions are over, the school groups will go back to their respective schools and implement the plan they put together.

Smith said this is really going to take dedication and constant involvement from everyone at the schools, the staff, the parents and the students, in order for the plan to be implemented and for the school culture to be changed for the better.

“If they (the school staff) feel ownership to the plan, the students will feel ownership and it will make a big difference in the culture as far as trust and respect,” said Smith.

The first in the series of training sessions took place over the weekend at Capital High School in Charleston. The other sessions will take place at the Lakeview Conference Center in Morgantown on July 10-11, the Days Hotel in Flatwoods July 31 through August 1 and August 6-7 in Beckley at the Beckley/Raleigh County Convention Center.

This is the second year for the Safe and Supportive Schools Program and Smith said they plan to continue doing so each year as long as there are schools wanting to participate.

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  • mark

    Great teachers who have good common sense is the answer for nearly every issue. You can't institute enough programs to overcome bad teachers or absentee parents, but the state will do whatever it can to make people feel good. Actual progress is secondary to a liberal mindset where good intentions are supposed to outweigh results.

  • Old Line

    As a 20 plus year employee in hospitality management I will say that many State entities have conferences at private lodging and conference facilities. We do an excellent job facilitating them, and we also give them a great rate. Being State entities also enables them to have tax exemption. I am not familiar with State owned conference centers, but I do know we do an excellent job, and it is also good for all of our employees in terms of revenue. We also make some great connections with patrons, and some of them stay with us when they are in town on their own dime. I always liked hosting conferences for State and Local law enforcement and first responders. I met some really good people from those events. They are very personable.

  • Joe

    I would also add that if the words "avoiding danger" are an objective of these meetings, should not law enforcement and social work professionals be involved.

    This is quite confusing.

  • Joe

    I actually asked this question a month or so ago in a comment attached to the article identifying "priority schools" the RESAs and the "Office of Professional Development" would focus on over the next three years.

    My same question applies here....

    If, based on all feedback from teachers I have read on this site, the number one reason by far for poor performing schools and schools with dysfunctional cultures are the parents and outside influences, then what specific professional development is going to be achieved?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.


    • mntnman

      The training actually involves how to engage parents and get them more involved -- it is a tough issue to deal with --

  • MrJ

    "And the winner of The 2013-2014 Educational Catch-Phrase Award is......envelope please.......(pause for dramatic effect)'s a tie, folks....SAFE AND NUTURING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS and DATA ANALYSIS!"

    But Johnny still won't read.

    • Mrs. F

      Ah, so Johnny can, but he wont? Apples and oranges.

  • Joe

    Any reason why state-owned facilities and conference centers cannot be used for this training. Lakeview is incredibly expensive.