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West Virginia Department of Education officials tour local classrooms

Wood County Summer School teacher Tessa Hill, left, goes over a reading lesson with students Noah Barnes, rear, and Leland Fugett, front, at Fairplains Elementary School. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

PARKERSBURG — For the third and final time this summer, West Virginia Department of Education officials toured Wood County summer school programs, visiting Fairplains and Blennerhassett elementary schools on Tuesday morning.

“Great programs are going on, this was one of the most organized programs across the state for the (Summer Student Opportunities for Learning and Engagement) S.O.L.E. program,” said Michelle Moore Leftwich, coordinator of federal programs.

“Wood County Schools has really put a lot of effort, time, organization, and heart into their programs for this summer. It’s been nice to come, see, and get ideas that we can share back with other districts about how they can implement their summer S.O.L.E. programs,” she said.

Leftwich and other officials got first-hand experience of two Wood County Schools Summer Learning programs, “Jumpstart Academy” and “Out of This World STEAM Camp.”

First visiting Jumpstart Academy at Fairplains Elementary, the program helps students in kindergarten through second grade with their basic skills for the upcoming school year. It is based on a top 10 list of standards for each grade level provided by the state Department of Education, according to Jumpstart site coordinator Joanna Mulligan. Students are excited and feel welcomed when walking through the doors.

Wood County Summer School teacher Rhonda Moore, right, goes over a lesson with students Brynlee Simmons, left, and Jurzee McNemar, middle, at Fairplains Elementary School. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

“One of our goals was for students to come into a school and feel welcome and feel excited. So when they go to their open house, or their first day of school, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming,” Mulligan said. “Teachers are working on things like counting and alphabetic principle, some reading skills, some directional words, talking in math about shapes, and simple addition and subtraction.”

The officials later visited “Out of This World” at Blennerhassett Elementary, a STEAM camp that is available to students in third through fifth grades. Some of the activities students participated in include rocketry, 3-D printing, coding, robotics and drones.

The state Education Department provided about $34 million to counties through its second round of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Funds for summer enrichment programs.

S.O.L.E. offers engaging summer programming to address students’ social-emotional needs and support their recovery from lost learning opportunities experienced during the school year. The programs offer in-person, research-based opportunities with free transportation and meals for all K-12 students.

“We’ve been very impressed with the number of students that have been registered and that have been in attendance for the programs, how they have incorporated using multiple teachers and providing an interventionist and instructional aides in the classrooms to provide additional support to the students,” Leftwich said. “So that’s been very impressive. This has been very student-centered in everything that they have done and getting the transportation provided for students to come has been impressive as well.”

Wood County Summer School students Bennett Ware, left, and Callen Kelley, right, apply Play-Doh to apples to help with stacking at Fairplains Elementary School. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

Wood County Summer School students Piper Cullum, left, and Brynlee Simmons, right, draw as part of a lesson at Fairplains Elementary School. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

Wood County Summer School teacher T’keirston Sams reads from a book with her students at Fairplains Elementary School. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

Blennerhassett Elementary fifth grader Tyler Wingrove programs a drone as part of “Out of This World STEAM Camp” at Blennerhassett Elementary School. (Photo Provided)

Blennerhassett Elementary fifth graders Haileigh Williams, left, and Adyleigh Matheny work on 3D designs as part of “Out of This World STEAM Camp” at Blennerhassett Elementary School. (Photo Provided)

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