Posts Tagged ‘students’

SCW Relay For Life Team Surpasses Goal

May 24, 2014

Relay 2014

St. Clare Walker’s Relay For Life team had their most successful year yet! The team, made up of SCA and Builders Club members, raised over $1,900! Throughout the 2013-2014 school year, the team held multiple fundraisers to help combat cancer. Starting back in October, a movie night was held where students paid an entry charge to watch a movie on the big screen in the auditorium and enjoy delicious snacks during intermission. A second movie night was held in April. Hat Days were a huge hit because students were able to pay to wear a hat all day and show their support in the fight against cancer.

The Friday before Spring break, the SCA and Builders Club hosted their yearly Variety Show for the entire school. All admission fees went to the Relay For Life team’s cause. This is an annual event so be sure to look for information so that you can attend next year!

One of the most successful fundraisers was the annual coin drive competition. This is a yearly competition held in the spring to see which homeroom can come together to collect the most money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s winning homeroom was Mrs. Harrow’s sixth grade group. The homeroom raised over $140!

The night of the big event, the team sold pizza, drinks, and pixie sticks to put forth their last donation. Everyone enjoyed a night of fun, while the whole time, remembering and honoring those who have fought cancer or are continuing the fight. Emilie Smith, SCA president, who has participated in Relay For Life for the past three years, describes the experience as a “fun and exciting way to fight cancer.”

A special recognition goes to Hannah Williams who was the team’s top fundraiser. Hannah has been SCW’s top fundraiser for the past three years!

The SCW team would like to thank everyone who has supported the team this year. Please continue to listen and watch for future events and fundraisers!

Emilie Smith, SCA president, has participated in Relay For Life for the past three years while at SCW, she describes the experience as a “fun and exciting way to fight cancer.”

SCW FIRST Robotics Team Competes at Regionals

November 14, 2013

On November 9, 2013, the FIRST Robotics team from St. Clare Walker Middle School attended the regional competition at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. SCW Club members have been preparing for two months and developed an invention, prototype, and programmed a robot to perform specific tasks.

FIRST Robotics Club 2013- 1st Place Research Project

Standing from left to right – Jacob Winn, Jerry Lindsey, Chloe Hodges, Kenneth Beam, Tyler Radabaugh, Jack Graulich, Jack Ruark. Kneeling in front – Cole Ruark

This year, FIRST Robotics had a theme of “Nature’s Fury,” which includes all natural disasters. The team developed an invention that would help people prepare, survive, and recover from a hurricane. Students came up with the “Flash Wall,” a device that resembles a wall that pops up from the ground using hydraulics surrounding your home.  The Flash Wall should theoretically prevent water from reaching your home during flash floods resulting from hurricanes.

The SCW team researched damage to Middlesex County from Hurricane Isabel in 2003.  The students came up with an alternate resource to use to make the Flash Wall with cenocell, a material made from compressed coal ash.  Each year, 125 million pounds of waste can be recycled into cenocell.  This material is lighter, cheaper, stronger, and more environmentally friendly than concrete.  For additional guidance, the students interviewed Mark Nugent, Emergency Services Coordinator for Middlesex County, and he gave his opinion on different aspects of the Flash Wall prototype and presentation.

For the competition, students were required to build a LEGO Mindstorms robot that would perform tasks on an official FIRST Robotics mat.  The robot had to be programmed to complete tasks such as pushing a person from one place to another, pushing a lever that released an airplane, and capturing objects on the mat.  At the competition, the students were evaluated on the robot’s performance and robot design, the project solution, and a core values test.  FIRST Robotics insists each member much be respectful of each other and enjoy themselves at the competition.  The core values test graded each of the FIRST Robotics members on their teamwork and graciousness throughout the whole competition, as well as how they treated others.

The SCW team achieved highly in each category and received first place for their research project, which included scoring on the presentation to the judges.  Unfortunately, the SCW team did not qualify to advance to the state competition, but the students are very pleased with their win and learned a lot.  The students look forward to performing even better in all categories next year.

Students on the SCW FIRST Robotics team include  Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich, Chloe Hodges, Jerry Lindsey, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Ruark, Jack Ruark, and Jacob Winn.  Team member Brayden Miller was unable to attend.  The team was coached by Matthew Short, SCW Technology Teacher, and mentored by Kathy Ruark, technology coordinator for Middlesex County Public Schools.

Written by Jack Graulich and Tyler Radabaugh

Interactive Algebra at SCW

October 28, 2013

A student’s interactive notebook from Mrs. Norris’ class.

This year all of Mrs. Norris’ students have been working on an interactive notebook in algebra. Their notebook is a mathematic tool that will represent their experience in math class. These students have created foldables, color coordinated notes, investigated vocabulary meanings, and much more. At this time, Mrs. Norris’ algebra class is working on Unit 2, which covers equations and inequalities. Along with their interactive notebook, the students created posters illustrating their ability to construct algebraic proofs.


Algebraic proof posters on display in the hallway.

In addition to the posters, students also played a game using equation cards. The objective of the game was to match the steps for solving an equation.  Students determined the order of play.  On an individual’s turn, the student picked the card with the equation on it and picked a card with the first step in solving the equation.  The next player picked a card that would be the next step in solving the equation.  They continued play until the equation was solved.  After solving the equation, players picked another equation to be solved and started over.

equation game

Briana Rios, Ivie Santiago, and Tyler Scott playing the equation game.

Mrs. Norris states, “The interactive notebooks have made my students more responsible for their own learning. They have become more involved in the lessons, more attentive during the activities, and more precise in their note taking.”

Written by Laura Norris

Project Based Learning in 4th Grade at MES

October 15, 2013

Fourth grade at MES has gotten off to an exciting year.


Students display their maps of the regions of Virginia.

Students have done numerous hands on projects as well as engaging lessons in various subject areas. While studying Virginia Geography, students replicated the map of Virginia using play dough and cookie mix. They were required to label the five regions of Virginia, as well as the products and industries of each region.


Heather Evans, assistant principal, and Amy Stamm, principal, with Virginia dough maps.

While studying Scientific Investigation, the students were transformed into scientists. Through a thrilling hands-on activity using Diet Coke and Mentos, they worked their way through the six steps of the Scientific Method.


Students prepare for the scientific experiment.

They were required to ask a question, research the material, make a hypothesis, perform an experiment, analyze data, and make a conclusion. While conducting the experiment, we used multiple variables that altered the outcome of the experiment.


Teachers scatter as the explosion takes place!

It is very important to connect what the students are learning in the classroom with the real world and allow them to see the relevance of what is being taught.

Written by Sara Spain

MHS Launches 1:1 Tablet Initiative

October 9, 2013

MCPS is proud to announce the 1:1 KUNO launch at Middlesex High School. The importance of this initiative will positively affect the future of students in Middlesex County. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor explains, “No matter what our students choose to do after high school, we know that they will be expected to be proficient and ethical users of electronic devices. It is also a moral imperative for Middlesex County Public Schools to prepare our students for the reality of computer-facilitated learning by teaching them how to use these devices ethically and effectively. This investment in our community’s youth will net dividends that will continue to be evident for generations.”

KUNO pic1

According to Steve Dunkel, Director of Assessment, Research, and Technology, “The device we chose for our division is called the KUNO.  It is an Android device that works with a software package called CurriculumLoft.  The software uses cloud technology to distribute content to students. Teachers and students send assignments, notes, assessments, and research materials using the device. Every student and teacher at MHS has received a device.  Staff was trained during multiple sessions of professional development.”

The best feature of the KUNO launch is how it is advancing learning for our students. “KUNOs are taking learning at MHS to a whole new level. Students are interactively engaged in their teachers’ presentations and curriculum. It’s an exciting time at the high school,” says Jeannie Duke, MHS Principal.

In Susan Butler’s Spanish class, she uses the tablets to teach listening skills to her Spanish students. “I am able to record my voice using a voice recorder app and then import it into an assignment.  Students play the recording and then answer the questions that follow.  It is great having them use headphones so that they can listen at their own pace, as well as repeat it as necessary.”

KUNO pic2

Kate Peters has noticed students’ willingness to complete tasks with the KUNOs that they usually avoid. “They not only found the dictionary on the KUNO, they enjoy using it! We also began exploring how we might use the tablets in Spanish class. We went online to start our project about Hispanics in the United States. The information found was surprising and the statistics astounded many of us.”

In World History classes, Melisa Naumann and Lee Anderson are utilizing the KUNO tablets for a project-based learning assignment.  For the project, students assume a natural disaster has occurred which has returned the area to pre-historic times.  Students research how to make a simple shelter using only materials that would have been available during pre-historic times.  In addition, they design a map of their current location (Middlesex County) which identifies landforms, water, and natural resources and create a PowerPoint presentation to describe their survival plan. The students, working in pairs, used their KUNOs for research, to create their presentations, and to trace maps, which is difficult on a laptop. Because each student has their own device, the teams were able to multi-task during their project.

Naumann said, “Overall, students were more engaged and interested in completing the project because they find the KUNO easy to navigate and they prefer the touch screen.  The class enjoyed being able to stay in the classroom as opposed to going to a computer lab or using a laptop.  The KUNO is providing a lot of options for differentiated instruction, and I am looking forward to using it in many other ways.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Cromartie states, “Developing our students as learners, citizens, and leaders relies on our collective emphasis on technology and how technology may be used to advance students’ skills and knowledge acquisition.  Educators often talk about 21st century learning and how we are preparing today’s students for careers and societal roles that do not currently exist. I am thrilled that Middlesex County Public Schools is leading our region in this type of thinking and working.”

In addition to advancing classroom instruction, the KUNO has other benefits for the students. Unlike devices designed for the general public, the KUNO tablet with CurriculumLoft considers student safety. An embedded filter makes the device CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) compliant, both on and off school property.

The device design also considers school budgetary constraints. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor explains, “This learning solution is destined to lighten backpacks and lessen paper consumption over time, saving the county immeasurable sums while forwarding advanced methods of student learning. Students will be able to submit assignments electronically and save documents and assignments to virtual storage space on the school’s virtual cloud.”

Overall, the launch is an exciting new initiative for MCPS for now and for the future, which provides advanced technology to the high school students on a daily basis. Cromartie states, “Through our 1:1 Kunos launch, students at our high school have the opportunities to fully experience curriculum integrating knowledge across the content areas, producing work and receiving feedback in innovative formats, and eventually maintaining their own ePortfolios to exhibit their learning and growth over time.”

MCPS Welcomes New Teachers

September 10, 2013

Middlesex schools are excited to welcome new teachers to their faculty for the 2013-2014 school year. Each of these individuals will be a valuable addition to our MCPS family.

Middlesex Elementary School

In addition to a new assistant principal, Heather Evans, MES is also proud to add the following new faculty members:

Jesse Douglas

Jesse Douglas

Jesse Douglas joins MES to teach fifth grade students. She is from Chesterfield, Virginia, and recently graduated from Radford University. Ms. Douglas is engaged to be married in November. She says of her new position, “Becoming a teacher has been a lifelong dream that has come true.”

Scott Martin

Scott Martin

Scott Martin, the new fourth grade teacher at MES, is from Wyckoff, New Jersey. He attended Penn State to obtain a BS in elementary Education. Before moving to Virginia, he was a teacher’s aide in first and third grade. He has also taught both sixth and second grade. In addition to teaching in the classroom, he also worked as a lead instructor at The Little Gym teaching gymnastics, dance, and Mommy & Me classes.

Blair Rhodes

Blair Rhodes

Blair Rhodes teaches third grade at MES. She graduated with a Masters of Science degree in elementary education from Old Dominion University in May of 2013. Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Ms. Rhodes recently moved to Middlesex. She married her husband, Ryan, in June. She describes herself by sharing, “My passion is teaching, and I consider myself a lifelong learner. I am excited to be a part of MCPS and am looking forward to a wonderful 2013-2014 school year!”

St. Clare Walker Middle School

Jamie Wynberry, former special education teacher, has been promoted to Dean of Students at SCW. In addition, the following faculty members are welcomed into the SCW family.

Claire Evans

Claire Evans

Claire Evans graduated from Mary Washington College with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 1999. After working as a soil scientist for the Department of Health for six years, she taught eighth grade students at Hamilton-Holmes Middle School in King William for eight years. Her husband, Mark, works for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative as a journeyman lineman. They have two sons, Wyatt and Kai. Mrs. Evans is a fan of extreme sports. She and Mark have rafted the Upper Gauley River in West Virginia several times and completed the Tough Mudder event on their wedding anniversary in 2011.

Kate Messner

Kate Messner

Kate Messner went to East Stroudsburg University and earned a degree in Recreation and Leisure Service Management before beginning a career as an aquatics director at a YWCA. When she decided to go back to school to become a teacher, Ms. Messner moved to Virginia to obtain a MA in Special Education at Hampton University. After graduating, she accepted a position with a regional day school (SECEP) then accepted a position in Hawaii teaching high school. After 4 years there, she bought a house in Middlesex County and worked at Grafton High School in Yorktown. Outside of school, she loves biking, hiking, swimming, writing songs, and playing other’s songs on her five guitars. Messner states, “I am delighted to be at St. Clare Walker Middle School and hope to be an asset to the school, students, and our community.”

Middlesex High School

MHS has added a number of new faculty members, all of whom will be an asset to the school.

Susan Butler

Susan Butler

Susan Butler graduated from Emory and Henry College at Emory, Virginia, and has been teaching middle and high school Spanish in grades 5-12 for the past eleven years.  She and her husband Erik have two children, Wesley, age 9, and Christopher, age 5.  They also have a beagle named Hunter and two cats named Amigo and Azriel. Besides family, teaching, and her pets, Butler’s other love is country music.

Melinda Hodges

Melinda Hodges

Melinda Hodges is coming to MHS from Lafayette High School in James City County where she taught biology, chemistry, and AP chemistry for 11 years.   Previously, she worked as a chemist for Uniroyal Chemical, DuPont Chemical, and Danbury Pharmacal.  Ms. Hodges has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology  and a Master of Arts degree in Education from the College of William and Mary. When not at school, she enjoys sewing, gardening, and reading.

Billy Jarvis

Billy Jarvis

Billy Jarvis comes to MHS from Warhill High School in Williamsburg and is a native of Richmond. Coach Jarvis graduated with a degree in Social Sciences from and played football for James Madison University. He has taught for 33 years and has been an athletic director and head varsity football coach. Coach Jarvis is teaching United States History, World History II, and Psychology, as well as coaching the varsity football team. Coach Jarvis and his wife, Sherri, have three sons, Bobby, Brian, and Brett, and two grandsons, Wyatt and Garrett. His favorite football team is the Cleveland Browns.

Cathy Metcalf

Cathy Metcalf

Cathy Metcalf attended James Madison University after knowing since eighth grade that she wanted to teach high school English. This is her fourteenth year teaching high school English, most recently at Gloucester High School. In addition to English, Metcalf has taught drama, Latin, and speech and debate. Originally from Yorktown, Ms. Metcalf has lived all over the Hampton Roads area and in China for three years.  She has two very large, spoiled dogs and a roommate who is also a high school English teacher. She has four tattoos, and one of them says, “Shakespeare.”

Melissa Naumann

Melisa Naumann

Melisa Naumann graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Psychology and received her teaching endorsement in special education K-12.  Now in her fifth year teaching, Ms. Naumann previously taught at an alternative school for one year and three years at Warhill High School in Williamsburg/James City County.  She teaches special education at MHS and coaches competition cheerleading. Her many years of experience in dance, choreography, and cheerleading will prove beneficial in this role.

Kim Owens

Kimberley Owens

Kimberley Owens graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design.  After graduation, she worked for Gibbs & Cox (a naval architectural firm) and Newport News Shipbuilding in various design departments then served as a professional territory manager for several firms such as Ames Color-File, Wright Line and Chasen’s Business Interiors.  For thirteen years, she taught Visual Arts Teacher in Hampton and then in Tampa, Florida.   Ms. Owens holds teaching endorsements in Technology Ed, Visual Arts PreK-12, Gifted Education, and Family & Consumer Sciences.  Ms. Owens is single and has no children other than her beloved pets. She has spent much time throughout her life in Middlesex and Mathews Counties. She loves gardening, boating (including sailing), the beach, dogs and cats (especially border collies), and she is an artist. One time, readers of the Daily Press voted her design for a highway flyover painting to be their favorite of all finalists’ entries.

Kate Peters

Kate Peters

Kate Peters joins the faculty at MHS where she will be teaching Spanish.  She is certified by VDOE, having completed her teaching credentials at The University of Virginia.  She also studied at La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas and La Universidad de Madrid, Complutense when she lived abroad. Ms. Peters is a Virginia native.

Grace Smith

Grace Smith

Grace Smith comes to MHS from King and Queen High School. Before teaching in Virginia, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, minoring in criminal justice from Fayetteville State University and then earned her teaching certification at UNC: Pembroke.  In North Carolina, she taught ninth grade for five years then relocated to New York where she completed a graduate program in liberal studies with a concentration in online learning and technology and taught composition at Jefferson Community College.  Ms. Smith’s mother is a resident alien, a citizen of Great Britain where half her family resides.  She has one brother living in England, one in South Africa, and a third in the Netherlands. Ms. Smith and her two sons, Gabe and Logan, have now joined the family of Middlesex Schools. She is looking forward to a wonderful school year.

SCW TSA Finalists at National Competition

July 22, 2013

The St. Clare Walker Middle School Technology Student Association competed at the 2013 National TSA Conference in Orlando, Florida. More than 5,500 people attended the annual conference, held from June 28th to July 2nd at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Middle and high school student members competed in more than 60 competitive events based on principles and concepts learned through projects during the school year in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. The conference celebrated the contributions of advancing technology in our society and TSA’s 35th anniversary with the theme “A Tradition of Excellence.”

Front row: Jack Ruark, Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich   2nd row: Brooke Daniel, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Radabaugh, Chloe Hodges   back row: Andrew Hudson, Jerry Lindsey, Advisor Mr. Matthew Short, Jeffery Jones, Kevin Horton

Row 1: Jack Ruark, Kenneth Beam, Jack Graulich
Row 2: Brooke Daniel, Tyler Radabaugh, Cole Radabaugh, Chloe Hodges
Row 3: Andrew Hudson, Jerry Lindsey, Advisor Mr. Matthew Short, Jeffery Jones, Kevin Horton

Students were also able to participate in leadership training sessions, career and education fairs, STEM educational products and services demonstrations, and a national service project for the American Cancer Society.

Participants from SCW TSA included: Kenneth Beam, Brooke Daniel, Jack Graulich, Chloe Hodges, Kevin Horton, Andrew Hudson, Jerry Lindsey, Jeffery Jones, Cole Radabaugh, Tyler Radabaugh, Jack Ruark, and SCW TSA Advisor, Matthew Short. The students competed in eighteen individual and team events, and exchanged ideas with fellow TSA students across 47 states and the countries of Germany and Turkey.

The following St. Clare Walker Middle School students ranked as Finalists (top ten placements) and were recognized and presented with 2013 National Finalist Pins at the awards ceremony: Brooke Daniel, Chloe Hodges, Cole Radabaugh, Tyler Radabaugh, and Jack Ruark received 4th place for the Nation in Website Design. Participants were required to design, build and launch a World Wide Web site that featured the team’s research about a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) related topic. Semifinalists participated in an on-site interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise gained during the development of the website. This year’s website theme was “Advancements in Law Enforcement.” The SCW TSA website entry can be viewed here.

Tyler Radabaugh received 5th place for the Nation in Transportation Systems. Participants worked individually to apply and document the engineering design process and mathematical principles and scientific concepts used in the research, design, construction, testing and evaluation of a rubber band-powered boat. Performance ratings of the boats were based on a combination of speed and payload capability measurements.

Jack Graulich received 9th place for the Nation in Communication Challenge. Participants designed and produced 1) a trifold brochure that promotes the chapter, 2) an effective sponsor support request on chapter letterhead, and 3) an 8 ½ x 11 inch glossy, two-sided postcard promoting TSA’s current national service project. Semifinalists were determined and were given the challenge at the competition to determine finalists. Semifinalists had to creatively design a solution to an on-site problem using their computers they brought.

Students will return to the community with experience competing against the best in the nation and having gained expertise and knowledge from peers from across the country. More information is available on the national TSA website.

The SCW TSA would like to sincerely thank the following individuals and businesses for financial contributions that helped get them to the National Conference event: Bob and Carolyn Boxley, C&F Bank, Dr. Ben Lennon, DDS, EVB Bank, Eric and Elizabeth Faudree, Thomas and Betty Lou Frazier, Gloucester Pharmacy, Bill McCarron, Middlesex Kiwanis Club, Kathy Osborne, Revere Gas, Rufus and Diane Ruark, Evan and Sandra Vanleeuwen, and Vernon and Bonnie Williams. Also, thank you to Cooks Corner Car Wash and Harrow’s Home Center for sponsoring the SCW TSA fundraiser and those who came out to support the event.

The SCW TSA would like to thank the following for assistance with specific student competitions: The Deltaville Maritime Museum Executive Board and Vice President, Bill Powell, and Park Director, Marvin Tiller, Student Resource Officer and Deputy Ben Langford, Dwayne Dunlevy of the Office of Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Delegate Keith Hodges, Kelly Lowe of Lowe Tide, Kristee Norwood of Portraits by Kristee, Fred Hodges, and TSA Alumnus Stephen Blue.

The SCW TSA students are encouraged by all they have learned throughout the Regional, State, and National TSA Conferences and look forward to competing well in the 2013-2014 school year. SCW TSA Advisor, Matthew Short, is proud of the many accomplishments by the students and is excited for the future of the Middlesex TSA chapters. The 2014 National TSA Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. next summer.

Written by Lauren Radabaugh

View “Thank You” video.

Dear Students,

June 11, 2013

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The faculty, staff, and administration of Middlesex Public Schools thank you for an amazing school year. We hope you all have an exciting summer, filled with family and friends. Remember that learning doesn’t end when you leave the halls and classrooms of MES, SCW, or MHS. Every experience and activity in your life can increase your knowledge and skills. This summer, pause when you’re about to utter the words, “I’m bored.” Decide to try something new. Put down your iPhone and iPod so you can look at and listen to the world around you. Take a hike in the woods, examine the shells along the beach, watch fishermen bring in their catch at the end of the day, read a book, visit a museum or an aquarium, or sit with a grandparent and soak up some wisdom. Whatever you choose to do, continue learning and growing, and we’ll see you in September!

School’s ALMOST Out for Summer

June 4, 2013


Although the end of SOL testing is near, school continues until June 14th. This presents a challenge to teachers because many students “check out” after testing is over, but each member of the innovative MCPS faculty is using his or her creative genius to keep the students engaged. Here are just a few of the activities planned for the last days of school:

Next week, Eileen O’Brien’s students will visit the second grade to read books they are creating in class. O’Brien asked her students what they would like to learn about that hadn’t been covered this year. Students researched their chosen topics to create shape books, which included at least three paragraphs of five sentences each. After they illustrate the books, O’Brien plans to laminate the covers and bind the books. The books will include an ‘About the Author’ page featuring the student’s picture.

In Robyn Stein’s Algebra I classes, students are designing games based around one topic they learned this year.  They are using familiar board games and card games, such as Monopoly and Go Fish, as examples. Students will create a game board or playing cards and write a rules manual. Players of the game must use algebra skills to compete. After the projects are graded, students will have a competition day in class to play the games.

Elizabeth Blackwell’s eighth grade art students are searching for pictures or phrases that describe their goals and dreams for the coming years. After collecting them, the students create and decorate a box in which to keep their pictures and phrases. Some students choose to seal their boxes until later in the future and some keep them open. The project encourages focus on goals for the future and emphasizes individual creativity.

box1  box2  box3

A variety of activities will keep students engaged in Kim Aliff’s second grade classroom. Her students will be learning stitchery, writing stories, and beginning to learn cursive writing. They are also participating in a math fact competition called Gumball Math.

Janice Parker’s high school English students will be busy with two activities. The “Around the Room Short Story” project involves multiple students writing one short story. Each student contributes one literary element, such as setting, characters, dialogue, conflict, or resolution. Each phase of the writing is timed, and then the story is passed to the next writer to complete their part. The story eventually returns to the original writer who develops a title and completes any revisions necessary for the finished story. Parker is also challenging her students to teach a 10-minute lesson. Students can teach a dance step, a magic trick, how to braid hair, how to make bird calls, or another school-appropriate topic of their choice.

Students in Annie Somerville’s civics classes will view the reality entrepreneurial show, Shark Tank¸ and design a good or service to enhance the economy. In teams, students will create a prototype of their good or service and explain their target group based on age and gender. Students will also determine in which types of economy they would sell their good or service, what business type they would organize with, and any kind of advertising or promotions they would utilize. Teams will earn incentives for creativity, organization, and resourcefulness.

Each middle school grade level in Matt Short’s technology classes will have a specific project. Sixth grade students will work with LEGO Robotics. Seventh grade students will create bottle rockets and have the opportunity to launch them outside, while eighth grade students design wood plaques and carve them using the CNC router.

photoStudents in Linden Barrick’s language arts classes are honoring those who inspire them by creating a booklet featuring ten people who inspire them the most. Each page in the booklet includes the name of the inspirational individual, a drawing of the person or of something that symbolizes him or her, and a short paragraph briefly explaining how the person influences the student’s life. Barrick’s students will also be researching fifteen idioms and creating a presentation. Each slide of the presentation will feature one idiom, a brief explanation of its origin, and an illustration depicting the figurative meaning of the phrase.

Staying engaged is difficult this time of year for students, but the dedicated teachers of MCPS are diligently working to make the last few days of school fun AND educational.  Encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn in the stress-free atmosphere, and if you’re interested in educational summertime activities, please visit the Virginia Department of Education website at:

Teachers of the Year

May 10, 2013

In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, faculty and staff at each of the three Middlesex County schools honored Teachers of the Year. Candidates were nominated and finalists were selected by their colleagues at each school.

This is the second consecutive year that teachers have been awarded this distinction. The honor recognizes exemplary teaching service both in the classroom and within the school community and embodies teacher leadership and instructional innovation. This year’s selections represent the many highly skilled and dedicated professionals who serve Middlesex County’s children each day.

Patty Larson, Kindergarten, Middlesex Elementary School

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Ms. Larson proudly shared her beliefs about teaching saying, “If you love and care about your students, they will learn. I believe that when students know how much we care about them, they will try their best and exceed our expectations. I feel that every child counts each and everyday. We must invest our time in them now, so that our investment will blossom in the future. Children are a precious gift, and I love being there tohelp them grow, succeed, and develop a love of learning. When my students accomplish something we have been working on, you will find me wiping the tears from my eyes because I am a proud teacher. I am passionate when it comes to each child reaching his/her personal best. I feel that all children can learn, and I want to be their loudest cheerleader, encouraging and helping them to create that emotional attachment to learning for the rest of their lives.”

Elizabeth Sanders, Language Arts & History, St. Clare Walker Middle School


A native of Lancaster, Mrs. Sanders is completing her fourth year of teaching. She confidently says, “The most important thing I can offer my students is encouragement. I believe that every child is capable of being successful. They just need a little help finding the success in themselves.”

Mrs. Sanders earned a Bachelor of Science at James Madison University, a Master of Arts in Teaching also from JMU, and is working toward a Master of Education in Policy, Planning, and Leadership at The College of William and Mary.

Elizabeth currently resides in Lancaster with her husband Dan and their four-year-old Labrador Riggins.

Hugh Scanlan, English, Middlesex High School


A lifetime resident of West Point, Mr. Scanlan has taught English for over three decades. Mr. Scanlan says, “As an English teacher, I have always felt that I have three goals: to help my students become critical thinkers, to make them more competent writers, and to help them understand that true learning is only accomplished by testing their capabilities through trial-and–error development. To me, literature and  literary history are simply means to an end. They provide models for students to work within their gradual evolution as thinkers and writers.”

Mr. Scanlan earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond. He and his wife, Charlotte, have been married for 43 years.

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