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Mon Schools readies for learning ‘avalanche’

Artificial Intelligence.

Outdoor wellness.

Minecraft to Mars.

Courses in beginning German — and American Sign Language.

This isn’t your granddad’s summer school.

If you haven’t signed your kid up for “Summer Avalanche,” the summertime learning enrichment program hosted by Monongalia County Schools, then administrators and organizers would like to kindly point you in the direction of  

Once you get there, click on “Summer Avalanche” for registration links and notes on course offerings, such as the above offerings, that will take place from July 5-27, the run of the program.

The Avalanche is a pandemic byproduct that no one in the district’s central office minds one bit, said Susan Taylor, who coordinates student programming for all four seasons.

“Something for everyone,” she said.

Students over the past three years have experienced a full range of extracurricular courses.

Elementary youngsters were schooled in the rudiments of money management to the video-as-literature sessions that taught writing and critical-thinking skills in fun, accessible ways.

Mon’s district initially funded it with a $1.4 million outlay from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund.

That item on the ledger was designed to knock away intellectual roadblocks put up by months of remote learning here and elsewhere.

In March 2020, when it became clear West Virginia wasn’t going to be able to dodge the contagion, Gov. Jim Justice ordered all public schools closed — for what was then the duration.

The name “Avalanche” is an ironic misnomer — on purchase.

In the physical world, an avalanche causes things to slip and come crashing down.

This avalanche, Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico has said, does the opposite by allowing students to keep climbing during a time of the year when they just might lose what they learned, simply by being away from the classroom.

Call it intellectual urgency, she said.

Talerico even has a mantra, and a cautionary reminder, in fact, that she’s known for voicing this time of year.

“The school year is already half over,” she’ll say.

“Summer will be here before we know it.”

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