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Empowering K-12 via County Partnerships

By Dr. Conrad Lotze
VP & Dean, School of Education at American Public University

American Public University System (APUS) created the Leadership in Learning Partnership (LLP) in partnership with West Virginia schools. Through this partnership, we offer an opportunity for school districts to work with a nationally recognized online university to provide professional development opportunities to their staff members.

The LLP initiative is similar to the Professional Development School concept, which provides partner schools the ability to create a collaborative relationship with a university’s school of education. The purpose of the LLP is to:

  • Identify, develop, test and refine practices that promote student achievement
  • Support initial preparation—and continuing professional development—for teachers and other school-based educators
  • Improve student and educator development

APUS has resources that can benefit school districts and we can identify and address each school’s specific needs. We have initiated this partnership with Jefferson and Berkeley counties in West Virginia, both of which are close to the APUS headquarters. We hope to expand our partner network to other surrounding counties.

Partner schools will benefit because teachers and administrators will be able to take courses from APUS for professional development or for recertification purposes. APUS can tailor courses to meet partner district needs, such as the new West Virginia Department of Education teacher evaluation processes or the Common Core Standards.

APUS is also developing a Virtual Leadership in Learning web portal for podcasts and webinars focused on the professional development needs of partner schools. Additionally, we will schedule course offerings in which professional development for credit will be offered to partner teachers at a reduced rate. The first such course is Online Learning and Student Achievement and is set to begin in July. 

One of the contributions the partner schools make to APUS is to help our students understand working as an educator and the real-work applications of what they learn in classes. The APUS media team has just completed a video segment with a local principal who talked about the qualities he looks for in a new hire and the characteristics of a successful first-year teacher. This video (and future videos) will be used in APUS courses.

APUS is very excited to participate in these partnerships, and we are working to form additional arrangements with other counties in West Virginia.

About the Author:
Dr. Conrad Lotze possesses many years of educational leadership and teaching experience from a variety of academic positions. Conrad holds a BS in Mathematics from the College of William and Mary, an MA in Mathematics Education from West Virginia University, and a PhD in Mathematics Education from American University.

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