UPDATE 11/5/13 @ 7:45 p.m.
CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Cabell County School Board has voted to consolidate two elementary schools to form a new expeditionary learning school.
The board voted Tuesday night to consolidate Peyton Elementary and Geneva Kent Elementary schools.
The schools will form a new expeditionary learning elementary school at the former Beverly Hills Middle School.
Expeditionary learning is a style of teaching that puts students in control of their own learning process.
Students and teachers are still held to the state's testing standards, but the structure of the classroom will be much different. It will include components like community service and actual expeditions.
Also during Tuesday night's meeting, the board named Ryan McKenzie, who is the current principal at Peyton Elementary, the principal for the new school.
The school is expected to open in 2015.
The county wants to consolidate Geneva Kent and Peyton Elementaries to form a new school in the former Beverly Hills Middle School.
The plan for the new consolidated school includes renovations to the old building, but its main focus will be on a specific style of teaching that's new to West Virginia.
Peyton Elementary School teacher, Stephanie Cade, picks a book to read for 1st grade students every day. Yet, they also get to pick the way they want to learn every day.
It's all a part of a teaching method called Expeditionary Learning. curriculum Director, Lenora Richardson says it will be the way everyone will teach at the new Cabell County Expeditionary Learning School.
"It's teaching those skills to get along with others to be able, to collaborate, to problem solve, to give back to your community. Those are the components of what an expeditionary learning school promotes," said Richardson.
Expeditionary Learning is a style of teaching, that puts students in control of their own learning process.
"I see myself as the facilitator for what they need to do," said Peyton Elementary School Teacher, Stephanie Cade. "Right now as the facilitator, my job is to help them find that background knowledge that they need."
Students and teachers are still held to the state's testing standards, but the structure of the classroom will be much different
It will include components like community service and actual expeditions.
"For example the expedition we are starting is "Farm to Table" we just went to heritage farm because most of my kids have never been to a farm before," said Cade.
The new consolidated school will be the first of its kind in West Virginia, and school officials expect it to succeed.
Expeditionary learning is being used in schools across the country, and many of them have the highest test scores in the nation.
The new school will be partnering with Marshall University, The Huntington Museum of Art and other agencies to help students learn in real life settings.
If approved, the school would open in 2015.
In August, the board proposed consolidating Geneva Kent Elementary and Peyton Elementary. The consolidated school would be located in the former Beverly Hills Middle Schools.
Monday's meeting was for Geneva Kent parents and staff. A small crowd attended the meeting.
During the meeting, school officials went over the layouts of the schools and the updates that are needed.
School officials say the move would give students a chance to be a part of a new expeditionary learning curriculum that has not been attempted in the county yet.
"I love Geneva Kent, but I feel that the new facility will support our students the way that they need to be supported and it will be incredible for project displays and technology and everything that we need," said Amanda Ottaviano, a parent and teacher at Geneva Kent.
Ottaviano was one of nearly two dozen teachers from the county that recently attended a conference in Atalanta, where they visited a school that uses expeditionary learning.
School officials also say they hope the school would set the stage for improvements in education across the state.
"We can try new ideas and they can spread throughout the district. So I think really if you're talking about what model we're talking about, this is kind of a research arm of the school district," said Cabell County Superintendent William Smith.
Another public meeting, for Peyton Elementary, is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Cabell County Board of Education meeting.
If approved, the school would open in 2015.
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