Playing for Change: Peace through Music

Playing For Change has a simple philosophy:  No matter who you are or where you come from, we are all united through music.  The organization began in 2005 when a small group of filmmakers created a video of musicians around the world performing the same song.  The video offered a theme of hope, solidarity, and peace.  Since that time, Playing For Change has grown to include an audience of over 250 million individuals worldwide. 

Jen-Osha Buysse, MLA’s Mulit-Cultural Music Director, leads our unique partnership with Playing For Change. “Working with this foundation is like a dream come true.  I remember the first time I saw a Playing For Change video.  It featured Bob Marley’s ‘One love’.  That video inspired me. I wanted our music program at MLA to come from a place of passion, and to help my students connect with other cultures.  Working with the Playing For Change program has allowed our classes to be fun, engaging, and exciting!”  

More information about Playing For Change can be found here:  http://playingforchange.com/

Kids Move at MLA!

Kids move at MLA

 

MLA offers 5 days of Phys Ed and 1 day of outdoor education through Mountain SOL School every week.  Learn why all this movement is important for kids' development.  Read more . . .

Congratulations to Mrs. Menihan

 

 

Morgantown Learning Academy Teacher Named Finalist for National Award

 

MORGANTOWN, WV– July 15, 2016 – Amanda Menihan, a middle school teacher at Morgantown Learning Academy, has been selected as one of five finalists in West Virginia for the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program.  This award is the nation’s highest honor for U.S. teachers of Mathematics and Science. 

Established by Congress in 1983, the PAEMST program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards nationally each year. 

The award recognizes teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that supports content knowledge and exemplary academic skills, resulting in enhanced student learning.  

The PAEMST application consists of three components: Administrative, Narrative, and Video. Each applicant is evaluated using the five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching:

  • Mastery of mathematics or science content that is appropriate for the grade level taught.
  • Use of instructional methods and strategies that are suitable for students in the class and supportive of student learning.
  • Effective use of student assessments to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning.
  • Thoughtful practice and life-long learning to improve teaching and student learning.Leadership in education outside the classroom.

As a state finalist, Ms. Menihan will be recognized for her outstanding contributions as a teacher of mathematics at the annual conference of the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (WVCTM) in March 2017. 

Ms. Menihan joined Morgantown Learning Academy’s teaching faculty as a Middle School teacher in 2011.  She holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also has undergraduate degrees from West Virginia University and Metropolitan State College of Denver.  Prior to MLA, Amanda taught in the St. Vrain Valley school district in Longmont, Colorado for eight years.

 

About Morgantown Learning Academy:

Morgantown Learning Academy is a non-profit, non-church affiliated, private school for children from preschool to eighth grade located in Morgantown, West Virginia. The school was established in 1963 to provide an alternative education of the highest quality for children of all racial, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.  The MLA educational program is based on a child-centered philosophy that is committed to teaching children in the ways they learn best, including smaller classrooms, parent involvement, personalized instruction, and hands-on learning.  For more information about Morgantown Learning Academy, visit www.learningacademy.org or call 304-296-9554.   

 

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National Wildlife Federation Certifies New Wildlife Habitat at Morgantown Learning Academy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

Contact:          Elizabeth Wiles

                      Morgantown Learning Academy

                      304-296-9554

 

 

National Wildlife Federation Certifies New Wildlife Habitat at Morgantown Learning Academy  

Local students making a difference to protect wildlife

 

MORGANTOWN, WV– September 8, 2015 – National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, is pleased to recognize that Morgantown Learning Academy (MLA) in partnership with the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School (Mountain SOL) has successfully created a Certified Wildlife Habitat® through its Garden for Wildlife program. NWF celebrates the efforts of MLAto create a garden space that improves habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs and other species by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, shelter, and places to raise young. Certification also makes this Certified Wildlife Habitat® part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.

“We are so excited to have another passionate wildlife gardener join us and create a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Over the last 40 years, nearly 200,000 wildlife gardeners have joined NWF’s Garden for Wildlife movement and helped restore wildlife habitat right in their own yards and neighborhoods,” said David Mizejewski, naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an apartment balcony or a 10-acre farm, a schoolyard or a business park, or anything in between, everyone can create a home for local wildlife. Turning your space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat is fun, easy and makes a big difference for neighborhood wildlife,” he added.

MLA summer camp students were actively involved in the certification process. “Our wildlife habitat was created as part of a fun learning curriculum for our summer camp students,” says Stacy Clovis-Woofter, Garden Educator at MLA and the Mountain SOL School. 

“MLA is unique because we provide outdoor education through our partnership with Mountain SOL,” Clovis-Woofter explains. “In our recent ‘Wild Lives in the Garden’ summer camp, our students explored MLA's 12 acres of land, outdoor classrooms, and gardens to find signs of existing wildlife habitats.  We also worked to create several new wildlife habitats for a variety of song birds, hummingbirds, butterflies and moths, insects, frogs, toads and other amphibians.  Through our innovative summer camp, students learned about the four necessary components of a healthy wildlife habitat: food, water, cover/shelter, and places to raise young.  Students also reviewed the requirements for certification and helped me complete the application.”

Eve Ammons-Ward, Director at MLA, feels the new wildlife habitats embody the school’s hands-on style of learning.  “Child development research shows that children come to understand concepts through repeated active exploration of material, versus only through abstract descriptions.  MLA’s projects and activities, such as the newly certified wildlife habitats, are designed to encourage active exploration and experimentation,” says Ammons-Ward. “At MLA, children are encouraged to solve problems actively, to set their own goals, to evaluate their own progress, and to develop an ability to apply skills in real situations.”

Located on the campus of Morgantown Learning Academy, Mountain SOL has been offering in-class environmental education programs to the students at MLA, and afterschool outdoor education classes to all local students, since 2014.  Morgantown Learning Academy is a non-profit, non-church affiliated, private school for children from preschool to eighth grade located in Morgantown, West Virginia. For more information about Morgantown Learning Academy, visit www.learningacademy.org or call 304-296-9554.  For more information about Mountain SOL, please visit www.mountainsol.org.

About Morgantown Learning Academy:

Morgantown Learning Academy is a non-profit, non-church affiliated, private school for children from preschool to eighth grade located in Morgantown, West Virginia. The school was established in 1963 to provide an alternative education of the highest quality for children of all racial, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.  The MLA educational program  is based on a child-centered philosophy that is committed to teaching children in the ways they learn best, including smaller classrooms, parent involvment, personalized instruction, and hands-on learning.

About Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School:

Located on the campus of Morgantown Learning Academy, the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership school (Mountain SOL) has been offering environmental education programs to the students at MLA, and afterschool outdoor education classes to all local students, since 2014.  Through Mountain SOL, students participate in an active outdoor educational lesson a minimum of once per week.  Mountain SOL curriculum builds upon the students’ indoor classroom studies and meets West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs).

MLA and the Mountain SOL School


Did you know that MLA sits on 12 acres, with a trail system, school garden, and more?  MLA supports outdoor education through a partnership with the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership school, an outdoor classroom and trail system, a school garden, participation in the state's Wild Yards program, and afterschool programs that help to share stewardship skills and love of the natural world with our students.  
During the 2013-14 school year, we were proud to be the recipient of two grants supporting our outdoor education program.  We received a Greenworks grant from Project Learning Tree to support the MLA Wild Yards Project!  This project focuses on youth-led creation of wildlife habitat on our property.  Working in partnership with Friends of Deckers Creek Youth Advisory Board, the Master Naturalists of Morgantown, and volunteers from the non-profit Aurora Lights, students drafted a wildlife plan, worked with our partners to finalize the plan and create the habitat, and applied for Wild Yards certification through the state!  
We also received funding from the Whole Kids Foundation to build 8 raised beds in our garden and connect our garden with in class curriculum for all grades from Pre-K to Eighth. We have a Friends of the Garden working group of parent and local volunteers helping to move the project forward, as well as enthusiastic teachers and students!
During the 2014-15 school year, every MLA student received in-school outdoor education with Mountain SOL instructors once a week! We received funding for two environmental education projects, both in school and after school, through the Mountain SOL school:
Growing Wilder! Adding Monarchs to the MLA Wild Yards:  With funds from Project Learning Tree's Greenworks! program, MLA students expanded their Wild Yards area with the addition of habitat for the Monarch Butterfly. Through a partnership with the Monarch Sister School Project, student learned about the importance of the Monarch and why it is disappearing. We skyped with students at Leona Vicardio Primary School during Spanish class (levels 4/5 and MS) about the Monarch butterfly as well as the geography of our homes.  We made a butterfly garden and painted a new mural showing the life stages of the Monarch.  When the Monarch finally made it to us, our citizen scientists were ready to report the sightings!

Biodiversity Advocates for the Mountains (BAM):  With funding from the Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation, both Mountain SOL afterschool students and our older MLA students learned about different groups (taxa) of wildlife (animals & plants) that are native to our area, how to survey for those different kinds of wildlife and conduct surveys on the MLA campus to create an inventory of flora and fauna in our own backyard.  Both professional Biologists and biology students at WVU will present lessons on taxa natural history and proper survey techniques and protocols.  The students will then venture out on the MLA lab-land to put those techniques to practice.  So far we have had a presentation on predators, another on snakes, and one on falcons and owls!  Our students created survey videos as well!

For more information and to view the videos, please go to www.mountainsol.org

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