Mountaineer Notes, April 15, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8

April 16, 2015 is the Virginia Tech Day of Remembrance in honor of the victims of the April 16, 2007, shootings at Virginia Tech, their families, and the entire Virginia Tech community.

Over the past two weeks we have had the following teachers and administrators finish the Google Educator certification initiated by Director of Technology Ryan Campbell and Wetsel Principal Tim Taylor:

  • Taylor Aylor
  • Marissa Basile
  • Laura Daniel
  • Joe Kubricki
  • Devin Milbourne
  • Erin O’Leary
  • Pattie Rees
  • Jessica Sarver
  • Jarrod Tanner
  • Katie Walker
  • Todd Whitaker

This brings the total number of Google Educators to 17 for the district with many more still working towards certification.  When all is said and done, Wetsel Middle School alone will account for right at 1% of all Google Educators.  Simply Awesome!

The new district phone installation has begun.  So far the installation has gone well and we are currently working on finalizing details for when the cut over and training will take place.

The new district website is up and running.  Be sure to note the new address and bookmark it when you get a chance.

Travis Koshko.  MPS Second Graders thoroughly enjoyed learning about the weather directly from CBS 19 Chief MeteorologisIMG_1452t, Travis Koshko!  He entertained and informed the captivated audience with homemade weather tools, straws and ping-pong balls, and humor.  During his morning show, he showed their picture and even spoke about the intelligence of the students!

The students in the Alternative Education program have been working on a project to bring awareness to the nationwide problem of bullying.  The students started the project by reading Ghost Girl, in which the main character deals with being called names because of her appearance.  Students worked in groups to research various aspects from both sides of the problem, people who are bullied as well as the ones who bully others.  They found various statistics, videos and pictures, which they imported into slideshows that were presented in class.  Students will continue the project by developing ways to get the information out to the public in order to make a change in our community.  Lisa Wagner, who is the supervising teacher, has the Health, Sociology, and Language Arts classes collaborating on this project.

Compass Learning will be changing next year.  It will continue to be correlated to MAP testing for grades K-8; however, the content has been upgraded and we will now be able to use it on I-Pads.  For the high school Compass platform, additional courses have been added from electives to AP courses.

Appomattox 1Ten students took part in power of place-based education” in a two-day program at which 6th, 7th, and 8th graders explored the final days of the Civil War through primary sources and GIS technology. Presenters and collaborators included GIS expert Chris Bunin, American History Teacher Jared Morris,Appomattox 2 and STEM instructor Victoria Gelbert. The second Saturday of the program involved a trip to Appomattox during the 150th commemoration of the surrender by Lee to Grant. While at Appomattox, students were able to use primary sources with the help of park rangers to locate where ancestors were located at the time of surrender. They witnessed a cavalry re-enactment and watched a recreation of the “stacking of arms” ceremony. The group represented Madison with respect and class.

iPad Testing. Nick Curtis, MCPS school psychologist, trained special education teachers for new testing applications using iPads. Teachers now have increased testing applications, more efficient scoring procedures, and improved recommendations for student success. MPS began the new testing assessment format last week.

BRVGSThe seniors in the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School program presented their final projects.  This is a culminating project that many of them started over the summer.  It included research, a paper, an internship, and community service project as parts of the presentation.  Our students shined as they shared their learning experience with fellow students, parents, teachers, administrators, board members and community members.  Beth Wilson was responsible for putting this program together to provide an opportunity for our students to shine.

Sixth grade students in Kim Adam’s science classes will participate in a Watershed Field Day at Graves Mountain to examine the health and quality of our local watershed.  This experience is a valuable extension to their classroom study of Virginia’s watersheds.  Students will collect biological samples, chemically test the water, collect a soil samples, calculate the flow of the Rose River, and observe demonstrations of watersheds and septics.

Teachers and students in 4th Grade participated in the Mindfulness Project on Monday April 13.  Professors from JMU provided instruction on focusing attention, improving self-regulation skills, and building a resilience to stress.  Teachers were also introduced to educational strategies that foster an effective and cohesive learning environment.  A special thank you to Guidance Counselor Nicole Keys for organizing the event.

Congratulations to the Boys Soccer team for their 2-0 win over Clarke County last week. This is the first time our boys team has beaten Clarke in over a decade.

Congratulations to the Varsity Baseball team on their 2-1 win on Friday against rival William Monroe. Bradley Merryman pitched the final 5 innings to pick up the win and got out of a bases-loaded-no-out jam in the bottom of the 8th inning to preserve the win.

Congratulations to the Boys Track team for finishing 3rd as a team at the Wrangler Invitational on Saturday.

The MPS Kindergarten students planted their “Kinder Garden” on Monday with the help of the Master Gardeners of Madison and a grant from the Madison Education Foundation. The students read Peter Rabbit, and then planted the vegetables that Peter Rabbit disturbed in the story.

WilsonFriday of last week, seniors from MCHS chose to shadow teachers, and administrators throughout the school division as part of Senior Leadership Day.  The learning experience worked two ways wiAllisonth seniors learning what it is like to work in the school division and the adults were able to learn more about our students and what they are doing after high school.  It was a rewarding experience for all.  Attached are some pictures from the day.

The Junior Beta Club of Wetsel went to visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond on April 13.  Sponsor Christy Black arranged the visit and Claire Keith helped to chaperone.  The students learned about the actions of the Nazi’s in Europe during WWII, and the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust.  It was a very informative lesson about a dark period in human history we should never forget.


MCHS Career and Technical Education Staff and students showcased their Career and Technical Education courses and products.  MCHS students had an opportunity to inquire and discuss current CTE course offerings during their lunch block. Current CTE course offerings include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Cosmetology
  2. Nursing
  3. EMT
  4. Business/Marketing
  5. Agriculture
  6. STEM courses
  7. Computer Information Systems
  8. Life Planning/Nutrition and Wellness
  9. Woodworking


Please contact the high school for further information about Career and Technical Education courses.

Math Drives CareersApril is Mathematics Awareness Month.  This year’s theme is Math Drives Careers. “Innovation is an increasingly important factor in the growth of world economies.  It is especially important in key economic sectors like manufacturing, materials, energy, biotechnology, healthcare, networks, and professional and business services.  The advances in and application of the mathematical sciences have become drivers of innovation as new systems and methodologies have become more complex.  As mathematics drives innovation, it also drives careers.”  Click here to find out how 17 real people use mathematics to drive their careers.

Big shout out to the Wetsel PE Department of Brian Rehm, Julie Smith, and Tom Butterworth. They do an outstanding job of data collection from the time a student enters Wetsel as a 6th grader until the students leaves the school. They analyze data for fluctuations in height, weight and BMI three times a year. This is invaluable data when assessing physical needs of our children.

Thank you to Guidance Counselors Erin O’Leary and Corey Rudd for setting up 15 community speakers for Wetsel’s 2nd Annual Career Day to be held this Friday. 8th Grade students sign up to attend sessions with speakers whose career that have an interest in.

Wetsel staff would like to thank the PTO for providing dinner for teachers at the Parent/Teacher Conference last night.

IncubatorWYES Third Grade has been observing real life examples of the life cycle.  The entire 3rd grade has been watching the Decorah Eagles webcam, and was very excited to see eagles hatch while they were watching!    Brittney Wright’s class had caterpillars in their classroom that they watched form chrysalis and become butterflies, and Kim Dodson’s class is currently incubating chicken eggs that will hatch in May.


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