Mary Frances Merrin, the newly elected president of the Kump Education Center, wants people to know what is happening at Kump Center.
"Our purpose for the Kump Education Center is to maximize the classroom experience," Merrin said. "We want to boost teacher success and support student academic achievement."
The Kump Education Center (KEC) is partnering with Davis & Elkins College, Randolph County Schools and Youth Health Services to bring the Professional Development Schools (PDS) concept to the highlands. The Kump Center office is located at D&E College while the historic Kump House is being restored. The Randolph County Board of Education sends one teacher from each PDS school to serve as a liaison. The Kump PDS liaisons meet with D&E College instructors to ensure that college interns and veteran teachers work together effectively.
College interns learn to teach by working with first-rate teachers, and excellent teachers get better by working with enthusiastic future teachers on "Action Research." This active form of research demands regular questioning about what strategies help students learn.
Good things are happening in all five Professional Development Schools. Third Ward Elementary School was the first local school to begin using D&E College tutors in math and reading. Now Elkins Middle is planning to use college tutors to help students improve basic skills, and Elkins High School is collaborating with KEC on efforts to encourage students stay in school.
Beth Cooper has been a Kump PDS liaison at Midland Elementary working with college students on Action Research in reading for two years. This year she is adopting the Action Research model trying strategies to build the problem solving skills of her first grade students.
The new Kump PDS liaison at Third Ward Elementary, Carol Losh, has organized a special "Kids' Connection Night" for 6 - 7 p.m. Feb. 27 to strengthen the link between home and school. Parents will learn how to make reading games, where to find learning websites online, and tips to make doing homework easier.
The Kump PDS theme at Youth Health Services: Home Ties Child Care is diversity awareness. These preschool children are learning French songs and poems and listening to international students from D&E College who tell folk stories from their home countries.