Roanoke County school bringing students together, when they’re forced apart

The students are loving it, can mix within grade levels

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Bringing students together when they’re forced to be apart. That’s the goal of a new project at a Roanoke County elementary school.

There was a lot of excitement at Green Valley Elementary School, as students spun a giant wheel to get sorted into houses of dreamers, friendship, givers, or courage.

“It was fun and exciting at the same time because you get to go up and see all your friends cheer you on when you’re on the stage,” said Caleb Hicks, a 4th-grade student.

Some students like first-grader Evelyn Viar got what they wanted, sorted into the house of givers.

“I really love giving, I like sharing stuff and giving stuff,” said Viar.

“We thought in a year of a pandemic and us being separated that this would be a great way to create more climate and culture family,” said Jennifer Britton, a 3rd-grade teacher at Green Valley Elementary.

Britton helped inspire the idea from the Ron Clark Academy House System. She says this is a way to bring the whole school together and compete for points, while also social distancing.

“We’re going to be able to do things like reading buddies. So fifth-grade reading buddies with kindergarten. We’re going to be able to do social distance flipgrids where students can interact with different grade levels through the computer,” said Britton. “We will compete in terms of academics, we will compete in terms of reading, bringing in soup for seniors, anything that would get the kids excited to just have a friendly competition and be excited about school again.”

The students are loving it.

“You can make lots of new friends and interact with other people besides people in your class and in your grade,” said Beau Lonker, a 4th-grade student.

“I think it’s going to be fun because you get to do challenges with other people and you can actually do stuff instead of just sitting down with six feet and stuff,” said Hicks.

Students will stay in the house they got until they leave Green Valley. New and transfer students will spin the wheel to get their assignments once they come to the school.

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