JUNIOR, W.Va. – The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that Junior Elementary School in Barbour County was named a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
Junior Elementary was nominated by the West Virginia Department of Education for its innovative practices surrounding health and wellness, environmental impact and sustainability education.
Each class at Junior Elementary plans an annual field trip, where students enjoy the beauty of their home state, with each child experiencing at least six West Virginia adventures before moving on to middle school.
The school also participates in an Adopt-A-Highway project each spring, where students take leadership roles in collecting and properly disposing of trash on the roadway between the Tygart Valley River and the school.
Students also participate in “brain breaks” to keep their focus during classroom instruction. Teachers have started a “Daily Mile,” where they pause classroom instruction for 12 minutes to take students away from their seats, finding them refreshed, more focused and ready to learn when they return.
In January 2019, the school was awarded a West Virginia Sustainable Schools grant that allowed for the purchase of a class set of mountain bikes, two staff bikes and tricycles. The bikes are used for the “brain breaks,” recess and physical education classes. Families can also check the bikes out after school to ride with their children.
“We are so proud of the students, teachers and administration at Junior Elementary School for achieving this national honor,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “Junior Elementary is a leader in sustainability education and can serve as a model for other West Virginia schools,” Paine said.
Junior Elementary is one of 35 schools, 14 districts and four postsecondary institutions that are being honored nationally as Green Ribbon Schools. Junior Elementary is the only school in West Virginia to receive the honor in 2019. You can see a complete list of the honorees here.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states.