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First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam visits Asbury Elementary School summer school program

First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam visited Asbury Elementary School’s Summer Olympic Learning Academy on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

First Lady Northam was accompanied by Hampton City Schools superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith, summer school coordinator Nancy Eason, and Asbury principal Marye Werling, and other HCS administrators as she visited classrooms to observe and interact with students in their learning environment.

The tour included visits to Tina Becouvarakis’ third grade class, Cheri Bedard’s third grade class, Michelle Bowers’ first grade class, Ashton Cross’ first grade class, and Andrea Samsky’s fourth grade physical education class.

Becouvarakis’ class was integrating math and creativity. They were singing a multiplication rap for eights. The students were given multiplication facts to show representation and were given the choice to make an array, groups, or repeated addition with manipulatives and graph paper.

Bedard’s class was integrating English language arts and creativity. The students read the book, An Eye for Color, the Story of Josef Albers. The students were given the task to list their family members and ask about their favorite color in advance of the lesson. During the activity, they drew squares for each family member, and painted them using each family member’s favorite color.

Bowers’ class was integrating English language arts and STEM. After reading a nonfiction book called Basketball, students were given the task to complete a STEM challenge of creating a stand for an individual basketball to help keep the Olympic athletes from having to touch someone else’s basketball. They worked through the entire design process to make and test their stands to hold the ball for 20 seconds.

Cross’ first grade class featured English language arts literacy centers. She placed her students in small groups. One group was at her table participating in a cause and effect activity to go along with the story for the day, Diary of a Spider. One reading group worked together using their fluency folders and reading toolboxes to practice reading fluency poems. The third group completed a phonics activity by sorting silent ‘e’ picture cards and recording their answers on a worksheet.

To round out the visit, students participated in a Chinese jump rope lesson with physical education teacher, Andrea Samsky. Dr. Smith participated in the Ninjago Chinese Jump Rope Challenge. He performed the jump patterns landing on the bands showing excellent balance!

Northam shared after her visit, “We are so excited to be here at Asbury in Hampton to see all the great work that is happening with in-person learning. It is so important that our children are ready the minute they open the doors for the first day of school this fall. Not only are they keeping the children safe and learning, but they are having so much fun.” She further added, “This has been a tough year and our kids are going to be OK because of the great work that they are doing right here.”

“Asbury's summer learning team was honored to be chosen to represent HCS during First Lady Pamela Northam's visit to Hampton,” said Eason. “Our teachers work diligently to plan fun, engaging lessons for our students, and were excited for the opportunity to showcase the language arts, math, and arts integrated activities.”