Schools highlight family atmosphere

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Cora Herron, left, and Ariella Brown speak to members of the Randolph County Board of Education as part of Jennings Randolph Elementary School’s Local School Improvement Council presentation.

ELKINS — Three elementary schools offered Local School Improvement Council presentations to the Randolph County Board of Education this week.

Coalton Elementary School Principal Alyssa Tallman said Coalton has a “family-type atmosphere.”

“What makes a family? They come in all shapes and sizes, and ours is made up of communication, high expectations, kindness, traditions, shared experiences, pride, being present, working hard, playing hard, community and love,” she said. “Our goal, as a Bearcat family, is to provide a caring and supportive learning space.”

Tallman highlighted a number of programs and activities at Coalton that allow students to be part of the “Bearcat family” including movie nights, back to school night, reading in the park, working with West Virginia University Extension Service, learning about fire safety with the local volunteer fire department and “Career Club Cookouts.”

Sarah Wamsley, president of Midland Elementary School’s LSIC and fourth-grade teacher, said Midland’s mission statement is centered around a long-term goal.

“Tonight I am going to be talking to you about our mission statement at Midland Elementary which is ‘Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today,'” she said. “For us it’s not just about preparing our students to get to the next grade level, it’s truly about preparing our students to prepare to enter the 21st century workforce someday.”

Wamsley also highlighted the school’s mission pledge.

“Every morning after we say the Pledge of Allegiance, our students stand and say our Midland pledge, which is ‘To learn, encourage, always be respectful and responsible, and demonstrate safety,'” she added.

In addition, Midland’s physical education teacher, Todd Price, told board members about pedometers that are used by students in an effort to encourage a well-rounded curriculum at the school.

“My initiative started three years ago with the pedometers, and this was my way — for the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders — of keeping track of their movement throughout the day, their activity time, their (moderate vigorous physical activity) and their overall steps,” he explained. “Their goal, which starts in August, is 100 miles by May, and if they reach that goal, they receive a certificate and, hopefully, a free day pass at the YMCA.”

Seth Blake, Midland’s music teacher, also invited board members to try out one of the school’s ukuleles.

“We’re not only using this with our younger students to really work with hand-eye coordination but also our older students to work with musical skills and spark an interest in music,” he said. “This way it is very easy to cross over in curriculum, like writing skills in music.”

Blake told the board the school has one complete set of 25 ukuleles.

Also during Wednesday’s board meeting, two students assisted Jennings Randolph Elementary School’s principal, Rochelle Chenoweth, in the school’s LSIC presentation.

Ariella Brown and Cora Herron told board members what they love most about Jennings.

Brown said her favorite part about Jennings Randolph Elementary is the school’s principal. Herron added she enjoys the school’s library, teachers and going on field trips among other things.

Chenoweth said Jennings is a school that “pulls together for the students.”

“Ultimately, we have hard-working staff, parents and students, and at the end of the day, everything that we do is all about the students being first,” she said.

The Jennings LSIC presentation included a video clip with photos highlighting activities and programs at the school including Grandparents’ Day, music and art activities and student of the week recognition.

The video also highlighted other students who shared their favorite parts about Jennings Randolph including math class, feeling safe, friends and caring teachers.