Preston County West Virginia is located just twenty five miles from Morgantown, the host city of the popular West Virginia University. However, to look at the educational platform within this community, you would never know that one of the most successful colleges in the country was a few minutes down the road. This county of 30,000 people is home to a very small education system with five elementary schools and just one high school. Sadly, the education system here is in serious trouble and desperately needs help to turn it around for the future of their children.
The Preston County School Board is under what is known as a state takeover. This means that the school board is under the control of the West Virginia Board of Education. All decisions made within this system have to go through the state for approval. The reason for this takeover is do in great part to the fact that the academic yearly progress standardized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This system has failed to meet academic progress for the past six years. With the state now adapting the new national education standard of the Common Core Curriculum, the state is trying to recruit highly qualified substitutes to start the transition process to a better educational future for youth of Preston County.
Due to the shortage of qualified substitutes in the state, a program has been created that oversees many of the state’s counties to recruit and retain the best possible teaching professionals possible. The RESA program as it is known was developed as a short training program to develop and refresh substitutes to meet the standards of overseeing the classrooms they will be working in throughout the school year. The program costs $100 and consists of 18 hours of training divided into three segments.
The first portion of the program is the application and online home study course. In order to apply to be a substitute in the state of West Virginia, applicants must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in something (not necessarily education). Applicants need to fill out an application and mail in copies of their college transcripts to prove their educational qualifications before being given access to the online program.
The online program is a 10 hour timed process where students will access a training website displaying many of the various laws and regulations that you need to know prior to entering the classroom. This process comes along with a large study guide that needs to be completed while reviewing the material online. This portion of the program is actually timed by the website and reported to the director to ensure that you logged at least the required ten hours for this assignment. Once you have verified the online process is completed, you can get on the schedule for your face to face class (the final segment).
The class is only offered one day a month, leading to a waiting period for many applicants. In the meanwhile, they should be working on the second and most important segment of the training process, the observation. Completion of the RESA training requires the applicant to sit in on six hours of classroom observation. During this process, you will be sitting in the room while a full time teacher is conducting their class. You will also have a study packet to complete during the observation period. Both of these study guides will be brought with you to the final segment.
When you get to your two-hour face to face training class, you will meet with the director of the program and attend a classroom style session. In this session, you will review the highlights of the material you reviewed online and prepare the final exam. When you arrive to the session, the packets will be reviewed before the exam to ensure you qualify to finish. The final exam consists of 25 multiple choice questions related to the material you read online and reviewed in the last session. You need to complete the exam with at least an 80% to pass the program and receive your certificate.
After completing this course, you return to the Preston County Board of Education and formally apply to become a substitute for the county. Your application will also require you pay for a FBI level background check and to have your official educational transcripts included with the application. Once the county receives the packet from you, they will forward it to the West Virginia Board of Education for review. When they evaluate your application, you will receive a substitute teaching certificate in an email confirming your eligibility. Applicants will take a copy of this certificate back to the Preston BOE office and turn it into the human resources office. An interview with the Assistant Superintendent will then be scheduled. Upon successfully completing the interview they will send your information back to the state for final approval to hire you within the county. Remember that the state is in control of this school board and must approve anything before it is finalized. Once their approval comes back you will be added to the substitute roster across the county. Now you can begin looking for classrooms to cover!