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Work ethic, communication skills to become part of the curriculum in Putnam County Schools

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Teachers in Putnam County will begin to emphasize work ethic and communication skills with their students in the fall -- and those qualities will count toward a student's grades, Superintendent Chuck Hatfield told school board members Monday.

Hatfield said training workshops for "learning outcomes" are being held so teachers can enforce skills that students will need in the workplace.

"It will be a formal part of their curriculum next year," Hatfield said. "It's something business leaders ask for and we assume they get elsewhere, but don't necessarily."

Middle-school students will have things like punctuality, work ethic and how well they communicate count as 10 percent of their grades beginning next fall, according to Hatfield.

The same skills will account for 20 percent of high-school students' grades.

"I don't know any other system in the state doing anything like this system-wide," Hatfield said. "For example, part of their English grade will be their work ethic."

The elementary students' version of the learning outcomes program -- "Leader in Me" -- is something Hurricane Town Elementary has already implemented successfully, he said.

Hatfield told board members Monday that five other county elementary schools would adopt the program in the fall.

Conner Street, Confidence, George Washington, Poca and Rock Branch will start the program that's based on Stephen Covey's best-selling book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

"Over the next three years, we plan to add all [elementary schools]," said Cindy Daniel, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

Daniel said training sessions are also underway for elementary school teachers to learn the program.

Buffalo High School teachers are also receiving training this summer. The schools' teachers are in Grand Rapids, Mich., this week preparing to teach project-based learning curriculum when the new innovation zone school opens in the fall.

Schools that the state Department of Education approve as innovation zones receive waivers to state policy, which lets them try out new, research-based strategies in an effort to improve student learning.    

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.

 


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