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Beverly Elementary praised for response

Schools and communities across the nation struggled to connect with students and families during the pandemic. For the rural communities in West Virginia, this was especially true.

Beverly Elementary in Randolph County responded to the pandemic in a way that supported both students and families. The staff implemented “Tuesday Talks” which offered their families an opportunity to engage in collaboration with local agencies and partners.

“Tuesday Talks” were scheduled at 12:30 p.m. during the lunch hour, as a time to reach as many parents and caregivers as possible. Organizations from the community share information with families along with providing time for questions and discussions.

Topics included: Growth Mindset, pandemic Q&A with the school nurse, emotion coaching, nutrition and fitness, gratitude, helping children with math at home, ways to encourage reading and writing at home, outdoor education, upcycled crafts, and local history sites. Each family is provided with a corresponding resource or give-away item.

Partners for this project include Youth Health Services, WVU Extension, WV DEP, Wonder & Grow, WV DNR, Beverly Heritage Center, and author Cheryl Ware.

In addition, the school offered virtual field trips to the school community every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Trips included traveling to the Green Bank Observatory, Helvetia, the Hershey Candy factory, Ellis Island, Plymouth Plantation, and the San Diego Zoo.

In December, the focus was on Christmas Around the World which included several live speakers from different countries! This was an exciting way for students to learn about the cultures and holiday traditions firsthand from children, high school students, and families all around the globe. Countries visited included South Korea, Australia, England, Italy, Chile, and the Netherlands.

Beverly Elementary received positive feedback from the community and is committed to continuing these programs during the 2021-2022 school year and beyond. While the number of participants was not astronomical, despite the restrictions in place last year, the school offered more family engagement opportunities than ever before.

Multiple parents joined while driving, some at work, one even in full scrubs and a mask at the hospital! Many students joined the virtual field trips while eating lunch, many of which had just been delivered by the school bus drivers. The students were overjoyed to share what had been passed out that day!

In reflection, the staff realized that the time might have worked well for most families, but they wanted to offer something at a different time of the day this school year, so they started Friday Meet-Ups. The school will host a virtual gathering of the school community on Fridays at 10 a.m. Each month is themed. The first gathering will be A Story/Sketch/Song on the topic, a guest speaker, and a virtual field trip that relates! Classrooms will join in to make it a virtual assembly as well.

Brandie Turner

Early and Elementary

Learning Specialist

June Harless Center at

Marshall University

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