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State Pushes Back On Counties In Remote Learning
The 2021 PBS Kids Writers Contest Is Open
Special Event At The Clay Center Will Kick Off
Contest And Help Kids Start Their Stories
Parents, guardians and teachers of budding storytellers, avid young readers or talented artists can now submit their child's or student’s original story, complete with illustrations, to the 2021 PBS KIDS Writers Contest. The contest is presented with support from The Clay Center in Charleston and WQED in Pittsburgh.

A two-part event at The Clay Center on Sat., Jan. 30, will kick off the contest. RSVPs are required.

WVPB will offer a free information station in The Clay Center lobby from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (with an hour break for sanitation) Students and parents may pick up their detailed entry packets for the PBS Kids Writers Contest, ask questions about the contest, enjoy fun activities, and get some great PBS Kids giveaways. Students who cannot make it to the event can download contest rules, requirements, checklists and the entry form from wvpublic.org. The contest ends on March 31, 2021. All entries must be postmarked on or by that date to be eligible.

When they enter the PBS KIDS Writers Contest, aspiring authors will compete with kids in their grade level from across West Virginia to win prizes. The contest is open to all students in the state in grades K-5, including those in public and private schools as well as those who are home schooled. There will be first-, second- and third-place prizes awarded at each grade level. Our top winners may even have their stories animated by WVPB’s Television Production Department. (Fun fact: one of these productions was nominated for a Regional EMMY! Watch it here! )

The Clay Center will host a special story-starting session for attendees that includes a discussion about storytelling, how to generate ideas for a story using props, and how to explore the questions "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How." This activity is included in the cost of admission to the Clay Center, $9 for adults and $7.50 for children. (There is no cost to enter the lobby and participate in WVPB information and activity booth.) If they wish, participants will have the option to storyboard their stories and share them. They will also hear a reading of West Virginia storyteller and PEN Award-winning author Bil Lepp’s book, The Princess and the Pickup Truck, a National Association of Parenting Product Award winner. For this session attendees can choose between the 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. session with story time at 11 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a story time at 2:30 p.m.

Because of pandemic safety protocols, attendance is limited, and reservations are required, even to enter the lobby. The break between sessions will allow for sanitation of the space. Masks and social distancing also will be required. Reservations may be made by clicking the green banner at theclaycenter.org or by calling 304-561-3570.

Education Director Kelly Griffith said inspiring young writers is one of the best parts of her job at WVPB. "We would love to see a lot of entries from each grade level from across the entire Mountain State. We have great prizes in store for our winning authors in conjunction with our partner PBS KIDS station in Pittsburgh, WQED.

"Some teachers use this contest as a part of their lesson plans and we love to get those entries," Griffith said. "We hope our friends at local libraries will encourage participation, too. During this challenging time of teaching during a pandemic, our PBS Kids Writers Contest provides a unique opportunity for children to write and illustrate with purpose."

State Pushes Back On Counties In Remote Learning, Says They Must Offer In-Person Option
Just three West Virginia counties are still offering remote-only schooling, but that could soon change.

In an emergency meeting held by the West Virginia Board of Education Wednesday, board members discussed Marion, Gilmer and Taylor County schools — the only counties remaining in the state that have opted to continue with remote-only learning.

This is a change from Monday, when seven counties were still opting to keep students working from home.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said in the meeting that Gilmer County is asking for assistance, although he did not specify what type of assistance the county is requesting. Taylor County has opted to follow its own metric system, according to Burch, and Marion County has opted to stick with a blended model and continue to follow the state’s coronavirus map — keeping all students remote when a county is orange or red. This is what all counties followed in the fall. Education Reporter Liz McCormick has the story.
President Announces Executive Actions To Help Reopen Schools
President Biden has called reopening schools a national emergency and said he wants to see most K-12 schools in the United States open during his first 100 days in office, which would be between now and April.

Today he announced he would sign several executive actions, including measures meant to push the process along.

These come after actions signed on his first day in office geared toward improving college access and providing relief for student loan borrowers. LEARN MORE.
Josh Grant, coordinator of Wellness Education for the West Virginia Department of Education, teaches kids how to stay healthy. In each half hour, Mr. Josh gets kids moving around and exercising at home. He kicks off 2021 with a mix of active stretching and high intensity workouts for our West Virginia students.

Do you have a workout you'd like to see? Contact Mr. Josh at wellness@k12.wv.us today!

Wellness Wednesdays
airs on WVPB-TV Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. right after WVDE's Education Station!

CHECK IT OUT!

Bring The Rich Collections And Expertise Of The Smithsonian To Your Students with LearningMedia
PBS and the Smithsonian Institution are teaming up to bring learning-ready content to PreK-12-grade educators nationwide. As museums remain closed due to COVID-19, a collection of free, standards-aligned Smithsonian content will be brought to life on PBS LearningMedia.

“PBS and the Smithsonian Institution have a shared commitment to education and helping teachers and learners connect with relevant and meaningful resources,” said Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS.

These resources will focus on three main areas of importance to teachers, families, and caregivers:
  • Interdisciplinary resources that connect content from across the Smithsonian’s many museums and research centers to introduce concepts that cross subject areas. Students might learn science through art, or history through research. These resources help foster a sense of creativity and encourage teachers and students to explore new ideas by connecting concepts across disciplines.
  • Classroom-ready content on contemporary issues of local and global importance. These resources bring the Smithsonian’s power to contextualize contemporary issues into the classroom. They provide content and expertise needed to help students make sense of the world and foster future-focused conversations around challenging topics like race, identity or the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Signature Smithsonian collections and programs. These include some of the Smithsonian’s most sought-after programs like virtual tours or the National Air and Space Museum’s Emmy-winning STEM In 30 series.

The Smithsonian content collection is available in a variety of formats, including videos and interactives, document and in-depth lesson plans. Educators can browse content and filter by standards, grade level, subject and special collections. All Smithsonian learning-ready resources and content are publicly available and can be accessed by visiting PBS LearningMedia!
SAT Discontinues Subject Tests And Optional Essay
The College Board announced on Tuesday that it will discontinue the optional essay component of the SAT and that it will no longer offer subject tests in U.S. history, languages and math, among other topics. The organization, which administers the college entrance exam in addition to several other tests, including Advanced Placement exams, will instead focus efforts on a new digital version of the SAT.

In the announcement, the organization cited the coronavirus pandemic for these changes: "The pandemic accelerated a process already underway at the College Board to reduce and simplify demands on students." LEARN MORE!
Embrace your child’s curiosity and unleash their creativity by encouraging them to become problem-solvers!  Empower them to ask questions, make observations, and gather information. LEARN HOW!
Invite These Cool Kids To Your Family Nights This Weekend!
Gather the gang for Family Night, weekly family viewing events featuring movie specials or themed programming.  Watch, play and learn with your favorite PBS KIDS characters every Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and repeating on Saturday and Sunday evenings; Odd Squad Family Night: Tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Jan. 24!
Who Needs the Constitution Anyway?
Grades 5-12 • Media Gallery • U.S. History/Civics/Government ArtsCollege/Career Readiness

This inquiry kit features sources from the Library of Congress, including documents, maps, songs, and artwork about the United States Constitution.

Thinking Questions Include: What did Americans do to show they were together and loyal to their new country? Name two things that Federalists and Anti-Federalists did not agree about?  How did the Constitution bring Americans together?  Additional activities can be found in the Support Materials section. LEARN MORE!
WATCH: Cam Henderson: A Coach’s Story
Monday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. on the West Virginia Channel
Cam Henderson, who coached football and basketball at Marshall University between 1935 and 1955, is the winningest coach in school history with 358 wins. He's credited with inventing basketball's zone defense and fast break. Henderson was inducted into the Helms Athletic Foundation N-A-I-B National Hall of Fame in 1952 and the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1956. The documentary includes rare footage of Henderson from private collectors and dozens of interviews with his former athletes and acquaintances.
Number 44 | Mr. Clutch

Jerry West is one of West Virginia’s most famous sons. During his basketball career he’s been a basketball player, coach, manager, executive and team owner. It only makes sense that a statue in his honor now stands at his alma mater, West Virginia University. The research and creation of the statue is detailed in this video. WATCH!

Do you have ideas for what you’d like to see in our newsletter? Maybe you just want to give us feedback on the WVPB, PBS and NPR classroom resources you like best. Email us at education@wvpublic.org.