Elementary school in Radford sees renovations, district leads as ‘innovation district’

$16 million in state funding went toward a new gym and library, as well as renovations in classrooms

McHarg Elementary is better equipped to educate students in the future.

RADFORD, Va. – Recently, Radford School leaders held the Virginia Education Summit to provide school and political leaders a space to discuss issues impacting the classroom. One school division is taking the lead to help students in science, technology, engineering, and math.

School leaders at McHarg Elementary in Radford said they are better equipped to educate students in the future, thanks to some new renovations.

Radford City Schools Superintendent Robert Graham said $16 million in state funding went toward a new gym and library, as well as renovations in classrooms.

While the improvements delayed the school from opening this year, Graham said the new facility was worth the wait.

“It’s a beautiful facility and our architects took the time to listen to our community on what they wanted and to our staff on what they needed and what the students needed,” Robert Graham, Radford City Schools Superintendent said.

Part of the renovations at McHarg Elementary includes the Tinker Tank and the goal to help kids with future careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEM.

“I learned how to program algorithms” Colin Criner, a second grader at McHarg said.

Criner is one of around a dozen students who enjoy learning about technology.

“We played with Beebots,” Josie Ramsey, another second-grader said.

Blenna Patterson is the STEM specialist who teaches in the Tinker Tank. She shows students from Pre-K to second grade the basics of computer programming engineering and even cyber security

“There are learning what algorithms are, they’re learning to work with partners,” Patterson said. “When you break it down to a level, they are comfortable with, they’re hands-on with, they’re experiencing it, then they pick up it up very quickly. Getting dressed in the morning is algorithm because it matters what order you put on your shoes, socks, pants or underwear.”

The Virginia Department of Education named Radford City Schools as a division of innovation because the district created a pipeline where children can learn about coding and programming starting in elementary to high school.

“We’re really working to provide innovated experiences for all students not just as Mcharg but all the way through their career at Radford City,” Michelle Greene said, Principal of McHarg Elementary.

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.