More Than Pencils, Papers, and Books – Elementary School Focus


PRINCETON, WV, October 1, 2016:  Two months into the school year, when visiting schools it is very easy to see that education involves so much more than pencils, papers, and books.  Although educators in Mercer County are devoted to teaching reading, writing, math, science, social studies, health, and physical education, schools have many other activities which assist in educating the whole child.  Many times these activities are the ones which create the most school pride since they allow the students to develop a sense of ownership and a sense of community.  These activities tend to be the ones students recall long after leaving elementary school, and they are the activities students reminisce about when the attend class reunions.  These are also the activities which help students feel not only a sense of pride in their school(s) but also a sense of pride in themselves. 

Traveling around Mercer County, at Athens School the students and the community are working hard to improve the school grounds and to build a new playground.   As a school community, they participate in the Athens town recycling of newspapers, plastic, and cardboard programs.   Through a partnership with Concord University, Athens School utilizes students to help tutor after school.  Like most elementary schools, their Fall Festival garners tremendous support from students, teachers and community members. 

Bluefield Intermediate School is proud to promote leadership skills in their students.  Fifth grade students work in the PBIS (Positive Behavioral and Intervention Support school safety patrol program.  Students are also working on a school newspaper.  In order to increase parent involvement in school functions, trainings are offered for parents by school faculty and staff. 

Bluewell School is enthusiastic about their Monday morning celebration of attendance, behavior, and academics.  Every Monday morning students are selected (based on the above criteria) and awarded a gold medal to wear for the week.  This celebration occurs in front of the whole school.  Needless to say, students wear their medals proudly. 

Brushfork School is also happy to promote their Positive Behavior Program (PBS).  Through fundraising Brushfork was able to raise over sixteen hundred dollars to reward students for positive behavior and good citizenship.

Like many elementary schools in Mercer County, Ceres has a strong Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) to help support the students, school, and teachers.  They have also been working diligently with students to help implement positive character traits and to help motivate students to want to learn.

Lashmeet/Matoaka School believes educating the whole child is their most important mission.  For example, they plan a Veteran’s Day program to help students identify with the veterans in the community as well as to learn about patriotism.  They also encourage student involvement in community and school programs such as Student Council, National Elementary Honor Society and K-Kids.  These activities encourage engaging, fun, and hands-on learning activities.

Melrose offers several after-school programs to encourage student involvement.  These programs include a Tennis Club, Lego Club, and an Art Club.  Their SOAR (Student’s Observing Awesome Responsibility) program is a huge success.  Students are stepping into leadership roles with programs like Lead Cardinals, Make a Difference Club, and Safety Patrol.

For students at Memorial Primary School, becoming lifelong learners is the goal.  For the second year, they have used the Minds in Motion Program to teach specific skills to improve coordination and agility.  They also welcome relationships with local community organizations which provide resources to support attendance and after school tutoring programs.

Mercer School prides themselves in creating an atmosphere and culture that supports the social and emotional health of their students.  They provide activities which help students take ownership in their work and in their school while teaching organizational skills.  One such activity is Grandparents Day.  On this day, each grade level has over one hundred visitors for their annual tea. 

Montcalm Elementary strives to involve parents and community members in educational activities.  Through involvement in community activities such as the Community Christmas Tree, they encourage character development.  For this program, students donate food items to provide Christmas dinners for those in need.

Blessings in a Backpack is one program which allows Oakvale students to reap the rewards of helping other students.  Through community donations, students volunteer their time and efforts to help bundle backpacks with food to help fellow students who are less fortunate.  Additionally, through grant funding, Lego kits were purchased to assist student in developing problem solving skills, organizational skills, and planning (by construction) skills.

Through collaborations with county bus drivers, Princeton Primary has implemented a school bus safety program (School Bus Success) to help provide students lessons on bus safety.  Furthermore, they too are working on an attendance initiative, P.A.S.S. (Perfect Attendance Spells Success) to promote school attendance.

Through working with AmeriCorps, The Office of Child Nutrition, RESA 1, and the West Virginia University Extension, each class at Spanishburg Elementary has been able to grow a garden.  Kindergarteners grow tomatoes while students in other grades grow tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, broccoli and potatoes.  The project provides students with information which allows them to make better food choices and allows them to develop life skills.

Several classrooms at Straley Elementary use classroom economy systems to promote positive behavior and teach multidisciplinary skills.  By choosing wisely and exhibiting strong work ethics, students are able to earn classroom money to purchase school items from the classroom store.

Sun Valley is proud of after school programs which encourages responsibility. Their Student Council leads an annual community service project to provide can food items for veterans during the month of November.  During the month of December, they hold a pet supply drive to benefit the local humane society. 

Incorporating the arts into curriculum is an essential part of Whitethorn School’s daily mission.  One new program called Lil’ Treble Makers is designed to improve students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being through singing, dancing, and theatrical performances. 

Whether students are involved in attendance initiatives, bus safety programs, life skill development, after school programming, community service projects, or developing artistic abilities, Mercer County Schools are making every effort to teach the whole child. 

  • Athens Elementary – Recycling Program, University Partnership, Community Support
  • Bluefield Intermediate School – Student Leadership, Safety Patrol, Student of the Month
  • Bluewell Elementary – Community Mondays, STAR Progress, Faculty Collaborations
  • Brushfork Elementary – Community Support, Business Partners, Academic Achievements
  • Ceres Elementary – Character Education, PTO Support, Student Motivation
  • Lashmeet/Matoaka Elementary – Veteran’s Day Program, Parent Involvement, Community Support
  • Melrose Elementary – Student Leadership, Parent Involvement, After School Programs
  • Memorial Primary – Student Attendance, Life Long Learners, Community Relationships
  • Mercer Elementary – After School Programs, Curricular Fairs, Student Council
  • Montcalm Elementary – Food Drive, Butterfly Hugs, Choir Visits, Community Involvement
  • Oakvale Elementary – Attendance, Curricular Fairs, Blessings in a Backpack
  • Princeton Primary – School Bus Success, Star Attendance, Reading Comprehension Activities
  • Spanishburg Elementary – Grandparent’s Day, Vegetable Gardens, Professional Development
  • Straley Elementary – Student Leadership, Improvement Parade, Classroom Economy System
  • Sun Valley Elementary – 1st Place Battle of the Books, Extended Math/Science Learning, Student Council
  • Whitethorn Primary – Lil’ Treble Makers, Helping Hands, Attendance Incentives