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Education Commissioner Welcomes Students, Faculty Back to School

With schools across the territory getting ready for a Sept. 2 opening date, V.I. Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory told the community the Education Department is focused on "putting in the framework we need to support our students, our teachers and our administrators."

Among the pieces she discussed were implementing Common Core standards, and enhancing professional education, she said in the "welcome back" statement issued over the weekend. The statement was issued as an audio file.

"It is my pleasure to welcome our students and staff back to what we hope will be a very productive 2014-2015 school year," she said.

"As we move into the new year we continue to focus on the integration of the Common Core States Standards. These new standards will help our children develop the critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills they need, while preparing them for a new online assessment in the spring of 2015," she said.

Frett-Gregory said she also is excited about plans for teacher education.

"As we develop our students we are also focused this year on supporting our teachers,” she said. "I am truly excited about our professional development initiative, which will give our educators access to the resources and technical assistance they need to be truly successful in the classroom. We believe that this effort will also benefit our students as we focus on these new teaching strategies."

The commissioner did not provide details of what those professional education programs are, or what Common Core standards are being implemented.

Frett-Gregory said the department has a new five-year plan that will direct the efforts to meet long-term goals.

"With this plan in place to inform the work that we do, we are confident that we will make stride in achieving our goals, building our programs and truly creating a public school system our students and parents can be proud of."

Frett-Gregory said the department had been working on the plan since April, but her statement did not discuss any details about it.

"As we move into a new school year, we will continue to move forward with a clear sense of direction. We ask the support of our community, particularly our parents and teachers, as we work to face our challenges and meeting our goals," she said.

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