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WVU-P to award grants to six local schools

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg announced Friday it will be giving the Professional Development Schools Mini Project award to six different schools in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The schools named for the award are Blennerhassett Elementary and Middle, Franklin Elementary, Hamilton Middle, Neal Elementary, and Wirt County Middle will receive funds to help to make learning easier for students during the 2020-2021 school year.

Starting in 1992, the partnership is between 23 schools in six counties and is committed to establishing a relationship that impacts student learning through a grant provided through the West Virginia Department of Education.

“The money that we were able to give to them comes through the West Virginia Department of Education, the competitive grant process that we apply for every year. One of the things that we always write into our grant is the opportunity for these mini-projects,” said Bobbi Marshall, education professor at WVU-P. “Because money’s always tight, and if we’re able to support our schools in that way. We found that’s been a good way to make that connection and to support the students that are in our school system today.”

Blennerhassett Middle will be using the funds to take care of its MobyMax subscription, which will help students with special needs with remote learning. MobyMax allows teachers to look at a student’s progress in real-time and will be able to provide help if they see a student that is struggling.

With the majority of them not coming to school because of COVID-19, and with help from the special education teachers, Principal Melanie Arthur wrote the proposal to WVU-P.

Blennerhassett Elementary will use the award to help to provide headphones to be in use with iReady math and two smart TV’s.

Franklin Elementary will be using funds to get resources for the school’s STEM program.

Meaning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, teacher Lisa Rawson, who wrote the proposal, said it will “allow the students to explore, be a little more creative and it will help them get a little bit more confidence,”. she said.

An idea that proposed multiple times to Hamilton Middle School in the past, teacher Josh Blackburn’s outdoor classroom was also awarded.

Blackburn said that it offers kids a safe place to learn during this time and will help with support engagement for the students as well.

Pickering Associates will also be helping with building the outdoor classroom.

Wirt County Middle school will be using the funds for kinesthetic desks for math classrooms. With physical education time being cut during the school year and with the help of eighth-grade teacher Jessica Theys, students will keep active by using the exercise bike desks while learning according to PE teacher Louann McVey.

Contact Tyler Bennett at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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