Archive for the ‘MES’ Category

MCPS Teachers Attend STEM Workshop

September 28, 2017

On Saturday, September 23rd, MCPS teachers attended a STEM workshop in Westmoreland County.  Teachers from MES, SCW, and MHS have been participating in summer and weekend workshops to gain knowledge and training in  techniques in using problem-based learning in a Makerspace setting.  The program, called STEMLabs and Design Briefs for Building STEM Knowledge, is funded through the University of Mary Washington by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia through Title II Part 1 NCLB. Middlesex County teachers are participating along with teachers from Colonial Beach, Rappahanock County and Westmoreland County.

Faculty from the UMW Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences and educators from the Friends of the Rappahannock have partnered with approximately one hundred teachers and administrators from Superintendent’s Region III to develop a program of intense, high quality educational experiences that utilize a problem-based learning context, the Design Brief, to deliver middle and high school mathematics and science concepts aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning.  As part of the program, MCPS received materials for their STEM labs and Makerspace areas that include 3D printers, Hummingbird Board Duo kits, and Vernier sensors to use with student projects.   

(See MCPS teachers in action in the video below!)

Below,  you can see a group of MCPS teachers working on a project they created to design a system to remove trash from our storm water system. They built and programmed a model of a storm drain and created a device to remove trash from the drain. The teachers used Hummingbird Boards and Visual Programmer Language to create this project. For more information about the program, you can visit

Delegate Hodges Visits Middlesex Elementary School

March 21, 2017

Delegate Keith Hodges spent the better part of Monday, March 20th in classrooms at Middlesex Elementary School as part of the school board’s recognition of the VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month program. He visited classrooms at every grade level, interacting with students about their learning and responding to questions the students had about the delegate’s position, the laws he’s helped to shepherd, and the way the three branches of government relate to one another.

One group of second graders took a very active role in teaching Del. Hodges the specifics of coding and programming with a unique lesson involving tiny robots called “Ozbots.” He then sat down with the students and put pen to paper and created his own Ozbot track.

Special thanks to Delegate Hodges, not only for his advocacy and support, but for his personal investment and interest in our schools!

2017-18 Draft Calendar

March 14, 2017

The school board considered a draft 2017-18 school calendar during last night’s school board meeting. The draft was initially developed in consultation with the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and further considered by the division leadership, instructional team and Administrative Council.

Using a survey, feedback was gathered from the school community with 122 participants responding. That feedback has informed the development of the current draft.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 8.11.24 AM

The board will consider adoption of a final calendar during its regularly scheduled April 3rd meeting and welcomes your comments and suggestions!

Congratulation MCPS Odyssey of the Mind!

March 6, 2017

MCPS Odyssey of the Mind Teams competed and triumphed in Louisa on Saturday, March 4. Two middle school teams both earned first place distinctions and advance to the state championship held in Northern VA in April! The MES team, with many first year OMers, had a solid showing and came in second place.

The team challenges were:

  • Middlesex Elementary completed the Division 1 problem, “It’s Time Omer” (coached by Stephanie Shelton) 2nd place
  • SCW had the Division 2 problem “It’s time Omer” (Coached by Kathy Ruark) 1st place
  • SCW had division 2 problem “A Superhero Cliffhanger” (Coached by Claire Evans) 1st place

Outstanding work, OM Teams!


MCPS Odyssey of the Mind Teams in Louisa March 4, 2017

The state tournament will be held Saturday, April 1, 2017 at John Champe High School located at 41535 Sacred Mountain St., Aldie, VA 20105.

Power Hour!

December 12, 2016


Did you know that computing is the #1 source of wages in the U.S.? There are more than 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide, but last year only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce. Computer science is foundational for every industry today. Yet most schools don’t teach it. Teachers at Middlesex Elementary School are trying to change that.

On Friday, December 9th,MES students joined in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (December 5-11). More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code. The hour of code encourages schools to teach the foundational 21st century skills of computer programming to students of all ages. 

Among the classes that participated in the Hour of Code were Ms. Spain’s fourth grade class, Ms. Wright’s fourth grade class and Ms. Reiley’s fifth grade class with Ms. Segall (Media Specialist).  Even Principal Sanders joined in the fun!  Katie Brockel, Coordinator of Gifted Education, facilitated the event and helped teachers learn how to incorporate computer programming in their classrooms.reiley-5th-grade-5

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” remarked Superintendent Pete Gretz. “Ms. Brockel’s work with our teachers to integrate hands-on computer science experiences is an invaluable part of our mission. We are incredibly blessed to have her in Middlesex.”

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook  when asked about programming education stated “In fifteen years we will be teaching programming like  we teach reading and writing, and  wondering why we didn’t do it sooner.”

You can learn more about the Hour of Code by going to 


Challenging Great Minds

April 6, 2016

MCPS OM TEAMS 2016.jpgMiddlesex OM Teams Head to State

Saturday, March 19, 2016- Middlesex County students matched wit and whim at Lancaster High School with students from neighboring counties in a day of problem-solving at the Rappahannock Regional Odyssey of the Mind competition. Odyssey of the Mind promotes creativity by challenging students of all ages to solve divergent problems working through teamwork. Middlesex County teams competed in three of the five possible problem categories.

The Middlesex Elementary School Something Fishy team including Victoria Dunham-Quigley, Elliott Austin, Gracie Wynberry, Owen Wynberry, Abigail Smiley, Alexis Alley, Hudson McMinn, and Coach Stephanie Shelton placed fourth in their division; the Furs, Fins, Feathers and Friends team including Catie Lowe, Chessa Lowery, Ella Hodges, Carina Bednarczyk, Hali Valadez, Courtney Harrow, Sara Hale, and Coach Kendra Reiley placed FIRST in their division and will advance to the state competition.

The St. Clare Walker Aesop Gone Viral team including Gabe Smith, Dean Tennant, Sara Paige Murray, Madeline Hurd, Nikki Adams, Julia Young, Samantha Wright, and Coach Kate Messner placed fourth in their division; the Something Fishy team including Mikayla Dunham-Quigley, Natalie Cutler, Delaney Ruark, Lillian Taylor, Ryan Mahr, Peyton Bishop, Emma Hale, and Coach Claire Evans placed second in their division; the Furs, Fins, Feathers and Friends team including Wyatt Evans, Kaydence Congleton, Autumn Satterly, Jordan Hershberger, Dominic Buzzell, Eddie Tennant, and Coach Kathy Ruark placed FIRST in their division and will advance to the state competition.

The Middlesex High School Furs, Fins, Feathers and Friends team including Emma Barnhardt, Kimani Robinson, Celia Moore, Alyssa Deel, Mackenzie White, Will Fochtman, Noah Cannon, and Coach Grace Smith placed FIRST in their division and will advance to the state competition.

The Odyssey of the Mind state competition will be take place at Menchville High School located at 275 Menchville Road, Newport News, VA 23602 on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

One School, One Book

January 29, 2016

HumphreyOn February 1st, Middlesex Elementary School kicks off its annual One School, One Book school-wide event!

Literacy educators everywhere recognize the benefits and importance of reading out loud at home, and One School, One Book gives families the opportunity to set aside time each evening to read together. Studies show children who are read to learn to read more easily and become better readers. In fact, improved literacy skills provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity.  Ms. Beaton Healy, MES Title I Reading Teacher, says “OSOB is a fantastic program that allows students, families, and MES to experience literacy together.  We are proud to be able to provide this opportunity for our students and families.”

Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond your child’s reading level.  Reading chapter books with your children, even when they are able to read by themselves, is also beneficial. With that idea in mind, this year’s selection for One School, One Book is The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney.  This chapter book is great for elementary students of all ages. It can be followed, understood and enjoyed by younger students, but will still captivate and interest older children.

The World According to Humphrey details the adventures and daily shenanigans of Humphrey the Hamster; the newest classroom pet of Room 26.  With a fresh voice and an engaging, hamster’s-eye view of school, families and “ingenious treats that can be hidden in a cheek pouch”, Humphrey will elicit laughter and demands for hamsters to be mandatory in every elementary classroom.

The adventures continue when every weekend Humphrey gets to sleep over a different student’s home. Not only does Humphrey learn to read and write, but he masters the necessary skills of shooting rubber bands (only in self-defense, of course), turning off TVs, and teaching English as a second language. With an adventurous spirit every elementary school student will love, Humphrey definitely delivers!

Each MES family will receive a complimentary copy of The World According to Humphrey and will be asked to read it at home each evening during the month of February.  During the school day, there will be daily activities, questions & prizes for students which pertain to the previous evening’s reading selection, so families are encouraged to follow the schedule sent home in your child’s backpack.

Mark your calendars…The MES One School, One Book culminates in a special family event on Thursday, February 25th!

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