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PECPS and Virtual Virginia make a live connection

This week, high school students taking Biology II – Ecology with Virtual Virginia received a live, in-person lesson. This was a project whereby Ms. Lewallen, Virtual Virginia science teacher, collaborated with Ms. Frogel, science teacher at PECPS, to organize a watershed adventure sponsored by a grant provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Dubbed the “Beautiful Earth Steward Team,” students traveled to the Sandy River Reservoir where they met with their Virtual Virginia teacher and a representative from the James River Association. Students spent the morning learning about runoff from storm drains. Students saw firsthand the detriment of plastic pollution collecting along the riverbank, minimal levels of dissolved oxygen in the water system and evidence of invasive species. Diligently, students worked to clean pollution from Sandy River Reservoir and collected macroinvertebrates to determine the health of the waterway. After identifying the macroinvertebrate species, testing the level of dissolved oxygen and clarifying the levels of nitrates in the water, students rated Sandy River Reservoir. By collaborating and communicating their ideas, students noted the importance of trees in creating riparian zones to promote river health. To finalize the day and bring awareness to others, students used their creative thinking skills to beautify the sidewalks of the high school with ecological images and messages bringing attention to storm drain runoff.

This adventure was a great example of how The Profile of a Virginia Graduate is put to use in and out of PECPS classrooms. The 5C approach, which includes critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills will prepare every student with the content knowledge they need and the skills they need to succeed after graduation. Additionally, this field experience allowed students to exhibit the 2021-2022 Prince Edward theme, “PE-3, Excite, Explore, and Engage in learning!”

“We are thrilled to see our students learn about their surrounding community and make a positive impact on their school community,” commended Dr. Michelle Wallace, assistant superintendent.

Virtual Virginia is a program of the Virginia Department of Education serving students in Virginia public schools grades K – 12 by providing flexible options for the diverse educational needs of students and their families.

Prince Edward County Public Schools is an inclusive, student-centered community focused on inspiring confident, knowledgeable and productive citizens who are empowered to lead.