College of Education Receives Accreditation from International Dyslexia Association

West Liberty, W.Va., June 9, 2016 by Maureen Zambito — West Liberty University is one of nine universities in the country that received accreditation this year from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). “Our master’s of education reading track was recognized by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) in May and is now an IDA accredited program. This represents the hard work of our reading specialist Theresa Kowcheck and the careful preparation of a self-study, followed by an accreditation visit by IDA. We have placed a special emphasis on the explicit teaching of multi-sensory instructional literacy practices in our curriculum,” said Dr. Keely Camden, Dean of the College of Education. The reading track in the master’s of education also was submitted to the West Virginia State Department of Education Program Review Board for recommendation to the West Virginia State Board of Education for West Virginia state accreditation. “We expect to hear back from the State Department of Education this month on the status of our state reading certification proposal,” Dr. Camden added. The IDA and its affiliate, the Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI), certified WLU for having met the standards outlined in IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading. This was the third round of university reviews by IDA, which conducts the process every two years. An alumna of WLU, Kowcheck teaches in the master’s program as an instructor for the reading specialist track. She also is the director of the Center for Multisensory Learning at Wheeling Country Day School where WLU students fulfill their clinical hours for the master’s in reading track. “I’m proud of the long time partnership between West Liberty University and Wheeling Country Day School. The partnership between these two strong, academic institutions has built a foundational education program for teachers who instruct students with language-based learning differences,” said Kowcheck, who has been a certified Orton-Gillingham reading practitioner since 2007. The IDA Standards provide a framework for course content in university and other teacher preparation programs, offering thorough, research-supported documentation of what every teacher ought to know and be able to demonstrate, whether they are teaching dyslexic students, other struggling readers or the general student population. “We are delighted to see this third group of teacher preparation programs meet the rigorous requirements for IDA accreditation, as well as to see increasing numbers of programs demonstrating an interest in seeking IDA accreditation,” said Louise Spear-Swerling, Ph.D., vice president of the CERI Board of Directors...
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West Liberty Students Celebrate Every Kid Healthy Week and Take the Screen-Free Week Challenge

      West Liberty University partnered with West Liberty Elementary School and other local organizations to celebrate Every Kid Healthy Week and encouraged families to take the Screen-Free Week Challenge. Launched by Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance in April that promotes the importance of sound nutrition, regular physical activity, and health-promoting programs in schools. Why? Because healthy kids learn better! West Liberty Elementary School Principal Stacy Greer reports, “Each night this week, students will have the opportunity to participate in free events that promote physical activity, health, and family interaction. We are also celebrating Every Kid Healthy Week by encouraging families to take part in the Screen-Free Week Challenge.” Promoted by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood since 1994, this is highlighted as “a week to turn off televisions, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles for seven days and turn on the world around them. Screen-Free Week is a chance for children to read, play, think, create, be more physically active, and to spend more time with friends and family.” Every child that participates in the challenge will receive a free ticket to a minor league baseball or softball game at CONSOL Energy Park, courtesy of the Washington Wild Things. Austin Snodgrass and the Washington Wild Things Mascot kicked off the celebration at an assembly at West Liberty Elementary School this week. Participating students also received raffle tickets to win other prizes. This celebration is the end of a year-long implementation of an initiative called “Eagles Move to Improve” at West Liberty Elementary School. With grants funded by Action for Healthy Kids and the Highmark Foundation, the school purchased curriculum and materials to promote physical activity and to integrate math, science, reading, and social studies lessons with movement. They also purchased more physical education and recess equipment. Diana Rice, West Liberty Elementary School Wellness Team leader and certified Physical Activity Leader by Let’s Move Active Schools, has partnered with Kathleen Wack, Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education to lead the initiative. In fact, it’s not unusual to see Rice’s students dancing through the hallways when moving to art or music class instead of walking in a line, or jumping up for a quick 5-minute brain energizer in between math and reading. “I have seen such a positive difference in my classroom after I add some movement. Students are more...
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