A program entitled “Beautiful West Virginia” was staged at Divide Elementary School recently.

Along with four other schools in RESA 4, Divide was selected to participate in a grant offered by the West Virginia Symphony to bring live music performances to the students. The project focused on creating Professional Learning Communities (PLC), in which teachers within the school worked collaboratively.

According to teacher Christy Gill, the students were immersed in learning for two months prior to the performance by starting with the theme of “Song of the Wolf,” a symphony written by Maestro Grant Cooper, and then teachers developed core curricular learning experiences based on that theme including the three little pigs, the wolf and environmental issues.

The students participated in a culminating day of activities presented by experts in their field. The day featured students designing their own state park, investigating how bears survive changes in their environment, and understanding the habitat of snakes.

Among the experts sharing their time with DES students and staff were:

* Jim Fregonara, WVDNR Wildlife Resources Section, wildlife diversity program

* Jodi French Burr, park ranger and Northeast Region outdoor ethics coordinator, National Park Service, New River Gorge National River

* Sara A. Prior, education and planning coordinator, State Historic Preservation Office, Division of Culture and History; and

* Megan Flinn, naturalist at Hawks Nest State Park.

Also attending were: Marsha Bailes, Ed.D., staff development director, RESA 4 (which was instrumental in offering the grant); Dr. Serena Starcher, associate superintendent, Fayette County Schools; Jean Cavalier, FCS elementary supervisor; Cynthia Dickerson, Concord University student; and Elizabeth Clark, New River College student.

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