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Melissa Schroeder is our Above and Beyond Award winner for January 2021. She is a 5th grade teacher at West Hamlin Elementary in Lincoln County. Below are WVPB Education Director Kelly Griffith, Schroeder and Joe Justice from Advantage Technology. Photos By Harrison Evans/WVPB
Lincoln County 5th-Grade Teacher Earns
Above and Beyond Award For January

Melissa Schroeder, a 5th-grade teacher from Lincoln County, has earned West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes excellence and creativity in and out of the classroom.

Mrs. Schroeder was presented the award this week at West Hamlin Elementary in Lincoln County, West Virginia. She actually won the award in January, but inclement weather and COVID-19 precautions delayed the presentation. She received a monetary award, our signature Blenko Above and Beyond blue apple paperweight, a certificate of recognition, and a host of other special gifts made possible by the sponsorship of Advantage Technology.

“Every child in my classroom is a unique being with untapped qualities and undiscovered abilities,” Mrs. Schroeder said. “It is my privilege to spend my days both teaching and learning from them. How blessed am I to watch these children grow into young adults that will change our world and shape our future?  What an awesome and humbling experience to know that I've had some small impact on their lives while they have changed mine forever!”  

Kelly Griffith, WVPB’s Education Director, said Schroeder certainly goes Above And Beyond the call of duty for her students. “Mrs. Schroeder is an absolute gem!" Griffith says. “Her softheartedness and generosity toward students, colleagues and the school community is refreshing. This has been a difficult year for educators, but she makes it look so easy. She continually does the difficult work with kindness and praise and is a great example for all.

Mrs. Schroeder was nominated by Mr. Rodney Hoover, her administrator at West Hamlin Elementary, who said the teacher affectionately refers to her students as her “lovelies.”

Mrs. Schroeder is that teacher that will advocate for every child and be that champion that every kid deserves,” Hoover wrote in his nomination. “Once a child is a student of Mrs. Schroeder's they are always one of her lovelies, and she will follow that student beyond her classroom into adulthood and help any chance that she can.

Mrs. Schroeder is one of the most giving people that I have ever met. She sacrifices so much of her own time, money, and even health, to be there for children. The greatest compliment that I could give Mrs. Schroeder would be if I had an elementary aged child, I would fight to put my child in her classroom because I know the benefits they would get being with her!"

Mrs. Schroeder is a Nationally Board-Certified Teacher and has been a standing member on the West Hamlin Elementary Leadership Team for more than 10 years. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, she distributed food and student work three times a week all spring. During  summer, she continued to distribute food to families. She also spends hours every day doing live/online instruction with her students. Every day when students enter her room they must go to the How-Am-I Board and check in with how they are feeling that day. 

“Mrs. Schroeder is that teacher who will come to my office and REQUEST (more like demand) to have that disadvantaged student that needs that extra attention and love be placed in her classroom,” Hoover said.

She has put herself in charge of purchasing teddy bears to be delivered to students who have experienced the loss of a loved one. She is also in charge of the flower fund for staff members. This year prior to school opening, Mrs. Schroeder took it upon herself to obtain a list of every student's school email, login, and password so she could change those to kid-friendly passwords because she knew that the scope of education would be evolving into online platforms. West Hamlin Elementary has nearly 450 students.


"There is no one more deserving," Hoover said.

To nominate a creative and excellent teacher like Mrs. Melissa Schroeder, click the graphic below and submit your nomination.
March 31 is the deadline. Help your young authors get motivated to write! LEARN MORE!
State BOE Mandates In-Person Classes For Elementary, Middle Schools
Members of the West Virginia Board of Education voted on Tuesday to mandate elementary and middle school students return to five days a week of in-person instruction by March 3.

The board also voted for high-schoolers to return to the classroom in counties that are not marked red on the Department of Health and Human Resource County Alert map.

“We understand all the concerns related to going back to school,” said Miller Hall, state board president. “We know teachers and school staff are working hard and are concerned about safety measures, but so are we. Anybody who thinks we are not concerned about the safety of our young people, they are wrong.”

Thirty-eight counties currently offer four or five days a week of in-person instruction, according to the Department of Education website. If they want to continue with the four-day model that allows a day for local virtual instruction, counties will have to apply for a waiver.

Hall emphasized that this decision follows state and national data showing little to no classroom transmission.
“This is not he said, she said, or hearsay,” said Hall. “This is data.”
SEASON THREE begins March 3!
Bill To Expand Charter Schools Slowed, Virtual Charter Enrollment Capped
A bill that would expand on West Virginia’s current public charter school law has now seen some changes since it left the House of Delegates. The Senate Education Committee considered the measure in a lengthy Tuesday evening meeting.

HB 2012, as it left the House of Delegates, allowed for up to 10 public charter schools to be established in the state over the next three years — that’s seven more schools than what’s currently allowed in state code.

But, on a narrow vote, the committee adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, that brought that number back down to three charter schools over the next three years. If successful, 10 charters would be allowed every three years after that.

Romano’s amendment also capped the number of students who could enroll in virtual public charter schools in the first three years at 1,500.

He said his amendment allows the state to tread cautiously, as there are currently no charter schools in the state. “I just think we’re taking a big step here,” Romano said. “You guys want these schools. You want these charter schools. You want virtual charter schools. I understand you’re going to get what you want … Let’s see if they're successful. Let’s see if they work in West Virginia before we open them up and take, potentially, 12,500 students out of the public school system in a statewide virtual program.”

Education Reporter Liz McCormick has the full story.
The Black Church Resources Available On LearningMedia
New resources are available on PBS LearningMedia for The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song, a two-part, four-hour documentary series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., tracing the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America.

Part One begins with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the extraordinary ways enslaved Africans preserved and adapted their faith practices under the brutal realities of human bondage.

Part Two focuses on the role of the Black church in addressing social inequality and ministering to those in need, from the exodus out of the Jim Crow South during the Great Migration to the heroic phase of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The series examines the church as a living institution, and the changing nature of worship spaces.The churches Gates visits are both a world within a world, where Black Americans could be themselves, and the epicenter of the freedom struggle.

Teachers are invited to utilize these lesson plans, which are drawn from the series, to explore the ways that the Black church has shaped our nation's history.

WVPB is airing the series again this weekend:
Sunday, Feb. 28,
8 p.m. Part 1
Monday, March 1, 8 p.m., Part 2.

Join "Mr. Josh" for a super fun mix of active stretching and high intensity workouts for our West Virginia students! Wellness Wednesdays airs on WVPB-TV Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. right after WVDE's Education Station!
Summer School And Other Bold Ideas To Help Kids Catch Up
It's been 11 months since schools first shut down across the country and around the world and most students in the U.S. are still experiencing disruptions to their learning — going into the classroom only a few days a week or not at all. To respond to this disruption, education leaders are calling for a reinvention of public education.

It won't be cheap, they say. The White House has a plan that includes $130 billion in aid for K-12 schools. One estimate puts the full cost of recovery even higher: $12,000 per student over five years, about a 20 percent increase in spending for large districts. But those in the education world say it would be more expensive not to fix this.

Education experts, parents and students are thinking about what is going to be necessary to recover — and at the same time the things that are not worth returning to.  Here are four key ideas.
Those Wild Kratts Have Adventures For The Family This Weekend
Join the adventures of Chris and Martin Kratt as they encounter incredible wild animals, combining science education with fun and adventure while traveling to animal habitats around the globe! Make your weekend memorable with a marathon Family NightWatch February 26, 27 and 28 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday With Great Activities For PreK-12
He was an author for all ages! Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel was an American children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator and filmmaker. He is known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. On March 2, his birthday, we celebrate Dr. Seuss Day. There are many ways to engage students PreK-12 students with his work.

  1. Younger children can watch Cat in the Hat videos, play games and complete activities at the PBS Kids App or website.
  2. Read Oh, the Places You’ll Go to upper elementary or middle school students. Then challenge them to use resources from Inside Appalachia, Folkways and the Clio Site to find unusual places to visit in Appalachia and describe “the place they’ll go”!
  3. Engage older students in a discussion about discrimination using The Sneetches and the LearningMedia resource March on Washington: Fair or Unfair from PBS NewsHour education or include analysis of Geisel’s political cartoons in your 20th century U. S. history courses.

Galileo’s Falling Bodies
Grades 6-12 • Video • MathScience • Engineering
Learn how Galileo mathematically described the physics of falling objects in this video from NOVA: The Great Math Mystery. For thousands of years, people erroneously thought that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones. It was not until Galileo studied the motion of falling objects that it became clear that, in the absence of air resistance, gravity causes all objects to fall at the same rate. Galileo used ramps to slow down the speed of falling objects so that he could carefully observe and collect data about their motion. Ultimately, he recognized that all falling objects accelerate at the same rate and showed that the distance a falling object travels is directly proportional to the square of the time it takes to fall. LEARN MORE.
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.