The Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education program at Bluefield State College has been ranked among the nation’s top teacher preparation programs in early reader instruction, according to school officials.
The National Council on Teacher Quality recently released its ranking in the 2020 Teacher Prep Review, noting that programs in West Virginia performed well above the national average.
According to council president Kate Walsh, the Bluefield State College program is one of five traditional undergraduate programs in West Virginia to earn an “A” in the council's Teacher Prep Review study.
“We are happy to recognize the strong preparation in reading instruction that your undergraduate program provides to your elementary teacher candidates," Walsh informed officials at the school.
“Your program was part of a small group—only about a quarter of programs nationwide—to qualify for an ‘A.’”
According to the council, Bluefield’s program "provides explicit instruction in each of the five components of reading instruction, supports instruction with high-quality textbooks that accurately detail established principles of scientifically-based reading practices, and provides evidence that teacher candidates must demonstrate mastery through in-class assignments, tests, and fieldwork."
Walsh stressed the quantified value of reading, a proven predictor for well-being.
“Reading ability is a key predictor of future educational gains and life success," she noted, "making successful reading instruction essential to achieving educational equity.”
College Provost Ted Lewis emphasized the role of the program's faculty in achieving the recognition.
“We are honored to be recognized among the top elementary education programs in the country," Dr. Lewis said.
"This designation demonstrates the commitment of Dr. Shelia Sargent-Martin and our faculty in the School of Education to preparing outstanding teachers."
Dr. Sargent-Martin, dean of the college's School of Education, underscored the need for good reading educators.
“Literacy instruction for future educators is critical for student success,” Sargent-Martin added.
“BSC education faculty constantly strive to provide teacher education candidates with content knowledge, an understanding of the development of the learner, as well as the instructional practices that lead to student success.”