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Education: Wood County Schools setting a good example

School may have been out for the summer, but that does not mean Wood County Schools stopped educating local students. In fact, based on the reaction after a tour by state officials, Wood County Schools may be doing a better job at that than most in the state.

West Virginia Department of Education officials have toured Wood County Schools’ summer programs three times this year — most recently visiting Fairplains and Blennerhassett elementaries.

“Great programs are going on, this was one of the most organized programs across the state for the S.O.L.E. (summer Student Opportunities for Learning and Engagement) 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.”

On this visit, Leftwich and company got to witness the Jumpstart Academy and Out of This World STEAM Camp. These are efforts to address students’ social-emotional needs while supporting their effort to make up for learning loss during the school year. They are in-person, research-based programs with free transportation and meals for all K-12 students.

We know students learn differently — perhaps even better — during the Wood County Schools programs that so impressed state officials. It is worth asking whether some of the techniques and programs used over the summer might better serve our students’ learning needs during the school year, too. Surely school officials are keeping an eye on what might work and what simply won’t scale up.

But in the meantime, they should be pleased to be serving as an example for the rest of the state. Our communities are fortunate to have administrators and teachers who work hard to do so.

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