First Lady Visits Area Schools

First Lady Visits Area Schools

FIRST LADY of Virginia Pamela Northam greets a young student in a socially distanced preschool classroom at Natural Bridge Elementary Monday morning. She, along with State Education Superintendent Dr. James Lane, also visited Kling and Waddell elementary schools as part of their “Back to School” tour of schools across the state. (Harrison M. Branham photo)

First Lady Visits Area Schools
First Lady Visits Area Schools
First Lady Visits Area Schools

AT TOP LEFT, Pamela Northam, First Lady of Virginia, visits a classroom at Kling Elementary in Buena Vista as part of her “Back to School” tour of divisions in the state. AT TOP RIGHT, Natural Bridge Elementary Principal Rick Bain takes Northam on a tour of the school. AT LEFT, Northam reads to preschoolers at Natural Bridge Elementary. BELOW LEFT, Waddell Principal Melanie Camden (right) shows Northam around the school, where teachers are instructing virtually this fall. BELOW RIGHT, Kling Elementary students Jensen and Paisley present Virginia Superintendent of Education James Lane and Northam with gifts from the Buena Vista school division. (photos by Harrison M. Branham and Katie Doar, with others courtesy of Waddell and Kling elementary schools)

First Lady Visits Area Schools
First Lady Visits Area Schools
Northam, Lane See Different Teaching Models

First Lady of Virginia Pam Northam stopped by three Rockbridge area schools Monday as part of her “Back to School” tour of divisions across the commonwealth.

Northam, accompanied by State Education Superintendent Dr. James Lane, came to Natural Bridge, F.W. Kling and Harrington Waddell elementary schools to check out the reopening process for the area’s young learners.

The Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County school divisions showcased to Northam three distinctly different reopening models of learning, as each of the three schools is operating with varying levels of virtual instruction.

The team first stopped at Natural Bridge Elementary Monday morning. For Rockbridge County schools, only pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students have returned to the classroom, while grades 2-12 began with a virtual start to the school year.

Natural Bridge Elementary Principal Rick Bain gave a tour to Northam and Lane, showing off the NBES modified learning plan. While the youngest students were present in their classrooms, upper grade level teachers also worked in their rooms to continue instruction for their virtual students.

In the early afternoon, Northam went on to Buena Vista to visit the Little Blues at Kling Elementary. Buena Vista schools are instructing almost totally in-person, with K-7 students in the classroom four days per week and high school students attending a “blended” schedule of in-person and virtual learning throughout the week.

At Kling, which houses sections of pre-K and K-2 students, Northam and Lane observed classroom activity modified for social distance. To honor their guests, Buena Vista City Schools had two Little Blues from Kling offer gifts and flowers to Lane and Northam to conclude their visit.

While at Natural Bridge and Kling, the first lady stopped by classrooms of younger students for story time. A supporter of early childhood education in Virginia, Northam read aloud to students and asked children to thank their “superhero” teachers for their hard work.

“We appreciate the challenges you have faced,” Northam said to teachers.

Northam and Lane finished up their “Back to School” visit to the area in Lexington, where the city division has reopened with a totally virtual plan for students K-8. Though students were not in the building, the state team came to observe how Waddell teachers are operating under the motto on their marquee: “Teachers can do virtually anything.” Also working in their classrooms to provide at-home instruction to students, Lexington teachers chatted with Lane and Northam following their first week of reopening.

Northam acknowledged local teachers in a tweet following her visit to Waddell Elementary Monday afternoon. Alongside a photo of Lexington teacher Amanda White wearing a Superman cape in her classroom, Northam wrote: “We always say Virginia educators are super heroes, but Lexington teachers take it to a whole new level!”

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