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SOLE summer school for coronavirus recovery

This summer Kump Education Center has the privilege of working with Randolph County Public Schools on SOLE (Student Opportunities for Learning and Engagement). Three hundred students are enrolled to work on basic skills that they may not have developed over the last 15 months while schools were closed or working within various virtual learning or part-time classroom schedules.

Elementary students will attend school at George Ward, Midland, or Elkins Third Ward, and secondary level students will go to Elkins or Tygart Valley Middle and High Schools. Kump Education Center is recruiting College Mentors to help students with their basic skills in the morning and assist with afternoon activities designed to engage learners in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects.

We have interviewed amazingly smart college students for these mentor positions. They attend Davis & Elkins, Fairmont State, Georgetown, West Liberty, West Virginia Wesleyan and West Virginia University. Most of them plan to teach or serve as school psychologists, but we have one nursing student and one studying biometrics. They are enthusiastic about helping younger students regain the academic progress that they have lost over this difficult period of quarantine and isolation.

The morning program will include both breakfast and lunch for all students, but it will be most beneficial for those who may not have food available at home. During the morning local teachers with appropriate certifications will cover the most important math and reading skills students will need for the grades they plan to enter in the fall. College Mentors will be assigned by the teachers to help students who are struggling with specific skills.

Some students will go home after lunch, but those who are registered for the afternoon program will enjoy hands-on learning activities both outdoors and inside their schools. This is the time when the special facilities at Kump Education Center will be used to increase engagement for third and fourth grade students. They will ride on school buses to spend two hours working in research teams on discovery-science challenge tasks.

Discovery science tasks will include active exploration, using technology as a research component, and computer reporting methods to share experiences with others in morning classes after they return to school. Tasks may include using i-Naturalist to identify native plants in the Kump Center wetland, or finding rocks and using Rock Identifier to learn what students may have in hand. Students may learn about life cycles of pollinators and migratory birds, or see tiny fresh-water creatures under a microscope.

Science and technology are becoming as important to the learning experiences at Kump Education Center as history and government. History teaches us that science offers humanity the best protection against disease and many other harms. With this in mind, we requested that all SOLE College Mentors and teachers be vaccinated for Covid-19 before they start working with children this summer.

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