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Concord Establishes Relationships with Local Schools to Improve Student Achievement

Concord Establishes Relationships with Local Schools to Improve Student Achievement

Athens, W.Va. - Concord College’s teacher education department has implemented a program that is supporting national goals to improve student achievement. Professional Development Schools (PDSs) are being established in local primary, elementary, middle, secondary, and high schools in this area to encourage teaching methodologies that result in higher student achievement. The PDS program was launched 15 years ago in West Virginia as a result of a partnership between West Virginia University and the Bennedum Foundation.

The PDS is a public school that has a relationship with Concord College’s Department of Teacher Education. The relationship will: result in an improvement in the quality of field experience of new teachers, improve “in-service” programs for practicing and future educators, and result in an increase in collaboration to improve student achievement across the curriculum.

Concord’s responsibility in the partnership will be facilitating seminars and support groups for teacher candidates; designing and conducting improvement activities; working directly with students at the PDS through tutoring, demonstration, teaching and co-teaching; facilitating and implementing research efforts; assisting in writing and implementing grants, and contributing to the enhancement of school and family communications.

The public schools will: provide student teaching placements, maintain an awareness of trends and issues in education, assist in the collaboration between the public school and the College in the implementation of research-based programs, provide feedback to Concord on the needs of public school teachers and students, mentor teacher candidates, supervise teacher candidates, and monitor teacher placements in the public schools.

The successful implementation of the PDS will result in an improvement of instruction and higher student achievement.

Public schools that have partnered with Concord include: Athens School, Bluefield Middle School, Mercer County Early Learning Center, Princeton Primary, Princeton Middle School, Princeton High School, Pike View High School, Straley Elementary, Whitethorn, and Graham High School.

On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Concord College hosted a meeting with area PDSs, 14 public school teachers and principals were in attendance.

Dr. Darrin Martin, assistant professor of education with the College, and coordinator for the PDS program, welcomed the public school teachers and administrators to the Athens campus. “We want to forge a partnership to improve education in this area,” Martin stated. “This program is all about improving education and student achievement through the development of better prepared teachers.”

Concord College Assistant Professor of Education Cheryl A. Trull conducted a brief presentation on the use of handheld devices, like the popular Palm Pilot. Handheld devises can assist administrators and teachers with scheduling, tracking, assessment, communications, and note-taking.

Patricia Taylor, teacher at Whitethorn Elementary in Bluefield, West Virginia, said, “This is an ongoing process to improve student achievement. We want to continue to look for ways to improve things for our students.”

Jo Anna Fredeking is the principal at Princeton Primary School, and she commented, “We’re looking at a shortage of teachers, as 65 percent will be retiring soon. We’ll lose that experience base, so we are hopeful that this process will help young teachers.”

For information on the PDS program at Concord contact Dr. Darrin Martin, 1-304-384-5202 or


Photo #1: Concord College faculty and staff: (back row) Dr. Thomas Brewster, Mrs. Patty Harris, Mrs. Teresa Frey, Dr. Kathy Liptak, and Mr. Rick Druggish. (front row) Dr. Darrin Martin, Mrs. Kathy Hawks, Mrs. Lethea Smith, Ms. Nancy Burton, Mrs. Diane Grych.

Photo #2: Representatives from participating PDSs: (back row) Santina St. John, Principal, Straley Elementary; Joe McKenzie, Principal, Princeton Middle; Todd Browning, Principal, Princeton High; Ron Ball, Principal, Mercer County Early Learning Center; Ivy Rowe, Liaison, Bluefield Middle; John O’Neal, Liaison, Graham High. (front row) ­Yvonne Price, Liaison, Straley Elementary; Susie Morgan, Liaison, PikeView High School; Sandy Puckett, Whitethorn; Jo Anna Fredeking, Princeton Primary; Patricia Taylor, Liaison, Whitethorn; Shirley Bourne, Liaison, Princeton Primary; Jan Wilson, Liaison, Princeton Middle School; Ben Disibbio, Principal, PikeView High.