Announcements / Events
Week of March 1st-5thMercer County is yellow on the WV DHHR Map. Mercer County will be on the following schedule for the week of March 1st-5th:ALL Elementary AND Middle School students will report to school 5 days a week. The beginning and ending time for school days and buses has NOT changed.High School students will continue on Blended Model B: 50% of the students report each day. Students with last names beginning with A-K will report on Tuesday and Thursday. Students with last names beginning with L-Z will report on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (The remote day today is why L-Z reports on Monday).Sports Spectators for YELLOW:4 tickets per student athlete/participantVisiting teams: 2 tickets per student athlete/participant
Secondary School Athletics: Limitations on Crowd SizeThe number of observers allowed to attend indoor athletic competitions is as follows:*Metrics will be pulled from the WVDHHR map on Friday for the following week.Green: 6 tickets per student athlete/participantYellow: 4 tickets per student athlete/participantGold: 2 tickets per student athlete/participantOrange: 0 ticketsRed: No practices or sports competitionsTickets for visiting teams:Green: 4 tickets per student athlete/participantYellow: 2 tickets per student athlete/participantGold: 2 tickets per student athlete/participantOrange: 0 ticketsRed: No practices or sports competitionsOnly individuals with tickets will be allowed to attend. No passes will be honored. Tickets will be distributed by scheduled event/game. Each ticket is for one game. The school principal will calculate the maximum capacity of the gym to insure at least 6 feet of physical distancing between spectators (family groups may sit closer than 6 feet apart). If maximum capacity cannot be maintained in between games/events, the gymnasium/event site will be cleared in preparation for new game/event. CI cards will NOT be honored at any games except for opposing teams’ administrators. Mask wearing is mandatory. Anyone refusing to wear a mask will be asked to leave.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PREK-8TH GRADE STUDENTS:On February 19, 2021, Governor Justice recommended that PreK-8 schools no longer follow the WV DHHR Covid Alert map and would offer 5 full days of in-person instruction beginning March 1, 2021. The West Virginia State Department of Education approved this plan and mandated that all counties adopt a full return of students in PreK-8 schools five days a week. Mercer County will follow the schedule below beginning March 1, 2021:Elementary and middle school students will follow Blended Model A regardless of county’s color on the DHHR map; all students attend school five days a week.High school students will follow Blended Model B; 50% of the students attend each day. UNLESS: the Incidence AND Positivity rates are below 3.0 for TWO weeks, then high school students will attend five days a week. If the Incidence and Positivity rates raise to 3.0, then high school students will go back to the 50% schedule the following week.Students will be moved to remote learning if: 1) designation of red on the WV DHHR map means high schools go remote the following day; 2) the number of employees quarantined prohibit adequate supervision of students, a specific school(s) may be transitioned to remote learning immediately.
VIRTUAL STUDENT MEAL PACKS:Virtual Student 5 day meal packs will be available for pickup tomorrow, Wednesday, February 24th. If picking up from an elementary school, arrive between 3:00 and 4:15. If picking up from a middle or high school, arrive between 3:30 and 4:45.
Mercer County Schools celebrates Bluefield Primary’s Ms. Sarah Shrader as February’s Profiles in Pedagogy honoree for elementary! Ms. Shrader received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Multidisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education, both from West Virginia University.
Ms. Shrader loves teaching at the new Bluefield Primary School and says the best thing about being a teacher is creating lifelong learners. She loves helping students understand that they can do anything if they keep learning something new every day. Something she feels people outside of education may not understand is that summers off is a myth. “Many teachers volunteer with youth programs such as 4-H camp, attend trainings, tutor students, and much more. We care deeply about the education and futures of all students, so we use much of our time out of school continuing to help them,” she says.
Teaching during a pandemic has taught Ms. Shrader creative ways to show her students she cares. Even though they can’t see her smile under her mask or give hugs goodbye at the end of the day, her students know she cares through heart hands, air hugs, silly dance moves when they succeed, and extra verbal praise. She says, “I’ve learned to be more meaningful in my interactions, so they know that even though things are very different this year, our classroom is still a happy and positive learning environment.
Ms. Shrader’s advice to anyone considering a career in education is much the same as her advice to her students in the classroom: if you work hard and do your best, you can do anything! Our world needs great teachers, counselors, and other school staff. Your best is enough, and you can make a difference in the lives of future students.
When she was in school, her favorite subject was reading. “I was a bookworm!” she says. “I loved doing book studies, picking new books from the library, and exploring new places through the pages in books.” No doubt her enthusiasm for reading rubs off on her students! Ms. Shrader’s idea of the perfect school would be one with a library filled with every children’s book ever written, has connected courtyards for each classroom for outside learning, has a greenhouse where food is grown for meals, and has a teacher’s aide for each classroom to help provide even more support for students.
Outside of school, Ms. Shrader loves traveling the globe. She’s been to 19 countries so far (pre-pandemic)! She loves sharing what she’s learned from those experiences in her teaching. She also enjoys zoo photography, baking, and reading.
Please join Mercer County Schools in celebrating Ms. Sarah Shrader! Thank you for everything you do for our students!
Mercer County Schools celebrates Bluefield High School’s Mrs. Gail Webb as February’s Profiles in Pedagogy honoree for secondary! Mrs. Webb graduated from Bluefield College with a BA in Education in English and Theater, then went on to the University of Virginia to receive a PreK-12 gifted education endorsement, attended Radford University for a reading specialist endorsement for Prek-12, attended Fitchburg State University for a dyslexia practitioner license, and the University of Kansas for a Content Literacy Coach license.
Mrs. Webb has taught many years at Bluefield High School. She feels the relationships that teachers and students form during the course of a school year, or several school years, are priceless. Those relationships carry far more importance than subject matter (and those bonds enhance subject matter). She believes the camaraderie of educators is also invaluable. Teachers teach students, and teachers help teachers.
Something people outside of education may not understand is when students leave the classroom at the end of the year, regardless of subject or grade level, teachers grieve (and sometimes celebrate). Teachers may not remember students’ names, but they will remember where their students sat. When teachers shop in Walmart, they are famous (or infamous). Teachers, counselors, media specialists, principals, etc. Are in a league (or club) of their own. No matter what the occasion, the conversation shifts to students, lesson plans, or strategies. Most teachers are teachers because of a teacher.
Teaching during a pandemic has taught Mrs. Webb to be flexible. She enjoys working with technology, so it has been enjoyable for her to learn new platforms. She misses the energy of a full classroom, but she has found that a strong online teacher presence is almost as effective. She has also learned not to take it personally when she consistently calls parents of students who aren't attending TEAMS meetings and learns those parents have blocked her calls.
Mrs. Webb’s words of wisdom for anyone considering a career in education is go for it! “I encourage students to go into the teaching profession. Is it difficult? Absolutely! Is it rewarding? Definitely! When I finish my career (and my life), I can honestly say, ‘It’s been fun.’ And... before considering a career in teaching, read James 3:1.”
When she was a student, Mrs. Webb’s favorite subjects were English, speech, theater, and creative writing. She says, “I had inspiring teachers, and although I was sometimes into mischief, these teachers encouraged me.” She LOVES to read and enjoys writing, so English was so much fun. She still vividly remembers novels she studied in high school and literature she read in college, and she hopes her students remember some of the stories they have read and the discussions and writings that have accompanied those stories.
Mrs. Webb’s idea of the perfect school would entail time travel – pre-pandemic time travel. “Send me the student who slips her phone under her textbook (thinking I wouldn’t notice). Give me the boy who gets a friend to let him in the back door in the morning to avoid the tardy sweep. Beaver-Graham game (or Beaver-PikeView/Beaver-Princeton)? Bring it on! Let there be parents waiting in the pick-up line, students in pep rallies and theater productions, hallways ringing with laughter and chatter, and teachers meeting in the library. Let there be cupcakes in the classroom, donuts on the office counter, and, most importantly, let me see the sweet faces and mischievous grins of my students without masks. Perhaps we didn’t recognize perfect until we lost it.”
Please join Mercer County Schools in celebrating Mrs. Gail Webb! Thank you for everything you do for our students!