News Journal

Saturday, June 13, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • ourvalley.org • 75 cents Radford City Schools awarded new active learning classroom through grant RADFORD — Radford City Schools, in partnership with Rad- ford University, have been award- ed an active learning classroom through the Active Learning Center (ALC) program, a grant initiative in its sixth year offered by Steelcase Education. The grant program supports both educators and students by creating an environment that encourages engagement, collaboration and cre- ativity. “Traditional classrooms are out- dated,” according to a statement by Steelcase. “Immovable desks and chairs aligned neatly in rows lend themselves to rote memorization, not the variety of teaching strategies most educators use today. With the installation of a classroom valued at $82,000, as well as professional learning and transformation services valued at $50,000, Radford will pos- itively impact teaching for students eager to return to classes.” Beginning spring 2021 and ready by the fall, this Steelcase Educa- tion learning environment will be installed in the technology room at Radford High School by Barrows, Inc. Radford chose the Flex-Flip Studio design, a design intended to help students engage in creative problem solving. Tools and furnish- ings in this environment provide responsive support as students chal- lenge assumptions and imagine al- ternatives together. Radford partnered with Charley Cosmato, Director and Instructor of Radford University’s Center for In- novative Teaching and Learning, to propose a study exploring how in- tentionally designed active learning classrooms change the self-reported learning experience of users of the classroom space. The study will be conducted in the late fall of 2020 and early spring of 2021. Radford City Schools and Radford Univer- sity are long-time partners in explor- ing and providing innovative teach- ing and learning experiences on their campuses, with a focus on increasing student activity and engagement. “At some point word was going to get out that Radford City Schools are, in fact, regional centers for in- novative pre-K-12 teaching and learning,” said Cosmato. “Steelcase did not pick RCPS from a nation- wide pool of applicants because it had the greatest need, but because their ideas for innovation and flex- ibility show the greatest promise for meeting the needs of the next gen- eration of students. That sort of re- silience is the name of the game for a successful learning organization. It is something we look for in our own students and steadfastly support and celebrate in our community part- ners.” “Radford High School was cho- sen because of a demonstrated com- mitment to active learning,” said Steelcase Education’s Jami Moyer. “Research shows that space impacts behavior, and these classrooms will help a new group of teachers and students explore the learning pos- sibilities an interactive space can bring.” In addition to receiving a new classroom, Radford will receive training from Steelcase on how to use their new spaces and will have the opportunity to share insights and best practices with all awarded schools. Over the two-year program, Steelcase Education and Radford will partner to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed space. “We are so excited to be recog- nized by Steelcase Education for our efforts in promoting personalized, engaged learning with our students,” said Rob Graham, Superintendent of Radford City Schools. “With Steelcase Education’s support, we will continue this mission and foster better collaborations between stu- dents and teachers in the classroom.” Four schools, colleges and uni- versities were chosen for their dis- tinguishing approaches to active learning and for their commitment to foster student success both in the classroom and beyond. Governor shares guidance for phased reopening of public schools Virginia Governor Ralph Northam this week an- nounced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. The K-12 phased re- opening plan was developed by the Office of the Secretary of Education, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education and is informed by guidelines from the Cen- ters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All PreK-12 schools in Virginia will be required to deliver new instruction to students for the 2020-2021 academic year, regardless of the operational status of school buildings. The PreK- 12 guidance is aligned with the phases outlined in the Forward Virginia blueprint and provides opportuni- ties for school divisions to begin offering in-person in- struction to specific student groups. “Closing our schools was a necessary step to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of staff, students, and our communities,” said Gover- nor Northam. “Our schools have risen to the occasion and found ways to provide remote learning opportuni- ties, keep students engaged, continue serving meals for children who otherwise would have gone hungry, and support students and families through an immensely chal- lenging time. “Resuming in-person in- struction is a high priority, but we must do so in a safe, responsible, and equitable manner that minimizes the risk of exposure to the virus and meets the needs of the Virginia students who have been disproportionately impacted by lost classroom time,” the governor said. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) con- vened numerous and diverse stakeholders through the Re- turn to School RecoveryTask Force, the Accreditation Task Force and the Continuity for Learning Task Force this spring to inform strategies for reopening. Secretary of Education Atif Qarni held 35 strategy sessions with diverse groups of education stake- holders between May 29 and June 8 to gather their recom- mendations on how different reopening scenarios would affect their respective roles. The secretary and his team engaged 800 individuals in these conversations and heard from a wide range of per- spectives including English language learners, parents of students with special needs, career and technical educa- tion centers, early childhood educators, students, school nutrition workers, private school leaders, bus drivers, school psychologists, the Vir- ginia High School League, counselors and nurses. Local school divisions will have discretion on how to operationalize within each phase and may choose to of- fer more limited in-person options than the phase per- mits if local public health conditions necessitate. Entry into each phase is depen- See Schools , page 2 Adam Berry rides a school bus daily to deliver food to kids at their homes. RU student Adam Berry keeps kids fed by the bus load Each weekday morning, Adam Berry boards a school bus and rides for nearly two hours along Peppers Ferry Road. The bus makes frequent stops, as it normally does along this route, not to pick up or drop off school children – that stopped when Virginia schools closed due to COVID-19 concerns – but to deliver breakfast and lunch to kids at their homes. As a junior educationmajor at Rad- ford University, Berry has been work- ing as a teacher’s aide at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) since August. When Gov. Ralph Northam closed schools in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Berry was given a choice to end his work as an aide or stay with the school system to help with the lunch program. Berry’s twelfth-grade English teach- er said she could not see him doing anything other than being a teacher, so it comes as no surprise that the To- ano, Va., native chose to stay on board with MCPS by helping other aides and school cafeteria workers deliver meals to children of families struggling through the pandemic’s uncertainty. “All of a sudden, their kids are home, and it’s just not in their budgets to pro- vide food for them, especially now that so many are laid off from work,” Berry said. “So many are on free- or reduced- cost lunch, and so many families just can’t afford to feed their children three meals a day, seven days a week, all 365 days of the year.” Before deliveries can begin each day, Berry and a staff of bus drivers as- semble the meals into individual bags. Each bag contains enough food for breakfast and lunch and two milks. Then the workers board the buses at 11 a.m. and take their bus rides, fin- ishing before 1 p.m. The daily deliveries are showing Virginia's state parks continued their return to normalcy Thursday with the announcement that reservations are once again being accepted at cabins and lodges. Cabins and lodges reopened Thursday, June 11, at Virginia state parks Reservations for overnight stays are once again being accepted for cabins and lodges at Virginia state parks. The reopening comes with two notable changes in operations to ensure visitor safety related to the preventable spread of COV- ID-19: the discontinuation of linen services and the addition of a 24- hour rest period between bookings. Linens will no longer be provid- ed. Overnight guests in cabins and lodges will need to bring their own linens including sheets, pillow- cases, blankets, towels, washcloths, shower mats, kitchen towels and dishcloths. Parks officials arrived at the de- cision to cease linen services to eliminate the possible exposure of COVID-19 to guests, staff and third-party laundry facility person- nel from soiled linens. As an ad- ditional precaution, all mattresses and pillows have been fitted with special coverings that will be sani- tized as part of enhanced cleaning protocols between guest stays. Further, reservations are being scheduled with one vacant day be- tween check-outs and check-ins to reduce the risk of airborne trans- mission of COVID-19. A 24-hour rest period between check-outs and check-ins allows airborne particles time to settle onto stabilizable sur- faces to be sanitized and provides additional protection to housekeep- ers. These changes have no effect on camping cabins or yurts. For addi- tional information on cabin opera- tions, visit VirginiaStateParks.gov/ covid-19-update-cabins. Reservations may be made by calling 800-933-PARK (7275). Staff is working at capacity, and wait times will be longer than usual. Reservations can also be made faster through ReserveAmerica.com. Before their visit, all park guests are encouraged to review the lat- est information on available rec- reational opportunities and park closures at VirginiaStateParks.gov/ covid-19-update. See Adam Berry , page 2 Steelcase Education’s sixth annual grant program provides new classrooms to improve student engagement Radford University announces inaugural Dean of the School of Nursing RADFORD - Following a national search, Radford University has announced the selection of Johnnie Sue Wijewardane, Ph.D. to lead the School of Nursing in the role of Dean effective August 3. She currently serves as Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, located in Jackson, Missis- sippi, where she also served as Associate Dean for Aca- demic Affairs. Prior to her current work in an academic health center, Wijeward- ane served in a variety of academic and administrative roles, including instructor, assistant professor, associ- ate professor, professor, and Chair of the Graduate Nurs- ing Department in the Col- lege of Nursing at theMissis- sippi University for Women, located in Columbus, Mis- sissippi. Wijewardane is highly- regarded in the field of nurs- ing having been recognized as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practi- tioners. Before entering aca- demia, she spent more than a decade as a nurse in a va- riety of clinical and hospital settings. Wijewardane says she is proud to join the Highland- ers’ faculty. “I am honored and hum- bled to be selected as the in- augural Dean of the School of Nursing at Radford Uni- versity,” she said. “The insti- tution has a rich tradition of excellence in nursing edu- cation and clinical engage- See Dean , page 2

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