Demonstrating a math topic to 4th grade students (Seth Gilbertson).
C.W. Shipley, the public elementary school in Harpers Ferry, was recently recognized by the Blue Ribbon School Program as an Exemplary High-Performing School. Only 297 schools nationwide (including two others in West Virginia) received this recognition in 2022. C.W. Shipley was previously recognized as a Blue Ribbon School in 2014.
Nomination by the State Superintendent of Schools is the first step in the process of selecting the award-winners. Dr. Brooks Kursey stepped into the role of Principal of Shipley this year, but he was the Assistant Principal last year when the school found out it had been nominated by the state. Kursey recalled, “it was exciting to hear that we were asked to apply. We had a committee of six that went through all of the things that make Shipley a successful school. It was good to reflect and refresh on the great things that we are doing and bring them to the attention of the community.”
According to Kursey, Shipley Elementary School’s application highlighted the positive learning environment at the school — making all of the children feel safe, supported, and valued. In describing its instructional strategies, the school noted Jefferson County Schools’ decision to provide a Chromebook computer to every student and the change that move has brought to how technology can be integrated into classroom instruction.
Kursey noted that the one-to-one use of technology allows for interactive lessons in a format that seems intuitive for children, who are already experienced with a digital world — and who expect the dynamic stimulation that they are familiar with outside of the classroom. Kursey emphasizes that the most memorable learning experiences are not the tests, but the experiments and the activities. He remarked that the technology doesn’t replace hands-on learning, but it does extend it in new ways and also allows for easier collaboration — and allows teachers to better monitor how engaged each student is in real time. It may seem that everyone is just looking at a screen, but it’s a two-way window into a different world.By Staff Contributor