Step through the front doors at Blacksburg New School and the first things you'll notice are smiling faces. In fact, you don't even have to walk through the door. Someone in the parking lot will probably greet you with a welcoming "hello."
Students arrive between 8:30 and 9 am and parents walk their children to class. As you pass by the resource room, you may hear the tail end of a private music lesson offered by our music teacher, Dan Richards.
Arriving before the 9AM bell means you can spend time on the playground (or, if it's rainy or freezing cold, younger students can join other kids inside for a story time). Playground time is an exciting time to catch up with friends and prepare for a day of learning.
Once the 9 am bell rings, it's back inside for class.
There are color-coded classrooms for every grade at Blacksburg New School, Kindergarten through 8th grade. Let's look around the classrooms. The first room you come to is Red Room.
Red Room is a fun place with a reading loft, cubbies, and other familiar areas that new Kindergarten students may have experienced during preschool. Students engage in collaborative playful projects, enjoy a rest and reading time (just a little rest, no napping), and start developing all types of reading and math skills. Red Roomers enjoy a wide variety of classes and playtimes as they transition to full-day learning. Red Room Bear is somewhat of a school mascot. It rests in a hammock outside the Red Room in between some major travels (Thailand, Disney World, India, Egypt, Roanoke!). See Red Room Bear's bulletin board in the hallway.
T.J. Stone is the Red Room teacher. Visit the Red Room page for info on the BNS Kindergarten curriculum.
If you continue down the hall, after the computer lab and resource room is the Orange Room.
First Grade is in the Orange Room, which is two doors down from the Red Room. The Orange Room loft is not just a cozy, quiet place to read. Throughout the year, the loft is transformed into an Appalachian limestone cave, a tropical rainforest, and zones in the ocean as the students become immersed in their social studies and science themes. Orange Roomers use "Reading Detective Clues" shown on a bulletin board to help them decode unfamiliar words on their way to becoming fluent readers. Each Orange Roomer has an opportunity to be a Star-of-the-Week and Resident Expert. As Resident Expert, students have an opportunity to teach the class a scientific or social studies topic of his or her choosing.
Linda Pospichal is the Orange Room teacher. Visit the Orange Room page for info on the BNS First Grade curriculum.
Next up is the Yellow Room.
The Yellow Room is home to BNS second graders who enjoy a weekly yoga practice. Yellow Roomers also take turns housing - and writing about adventures with - Sunny the dog. It is during this year that students transition to becoming more independent readers and writers. They add entries to their journals regularly and begin writing letters and stories. The highlight in the Yellow Room is working with children's book author/illustrators Cece Bell and Tom Angleberger!
Meet Judy Bauer and visit the Yellow Room page for info on the BNS Second Grade curriculum.
As you continue down the hall, you'll pass many colorful bulletin boards, filled with the students' most recent projects. At the end of the main hallway, you'll find the Green Room.
Green Room is Third Grade at BNS and is a major academic milestone for students. In Third Grade students begin using planners to keep their projects and homework assignments organized. During the third grade year, reading to learn is emphasized and Green Roomers experience their first literature circles. Students are exposed to new writing types and structures as they compose expository and narrative pieces. Chemistry experiments, projects in all areas, and civilization studies have been among the favorite themes of past years. The year begins with a signed student contract--a pledge that students will do their best work and uphold the school values and community during the school year.
Carla Liversedge is the Green Room teacher. Visit the Green Room page for info on the BNS Third Grade curriculum.
Crossing to the other side of the hall, you can peek into the Turquoise Room.
In the Turquoise Room, Fourth Graders take learning into their hands in a big way. They complete projects in science and social studies to probe further into their monthly themes. They lead their own novel study groups, and they practice communicating respectfully and articulately with their classmates and teachers about their experiences and the curriculum. In math we read a novel, Journey to the Other Side, which approaches multi-step problem solving through songs, puzzles, and suspenseful adventures. Students also explore the American Revolution through crafts, persuasive writing, debates, and short plays. Turquoise Roomers bring history to life!
Myra Leland is the Turquoise Room teacher. Visit the Turquoise Room page for info on the BNS Fourth Grade curriculum.
The last room in the elementary school wing is the Blue Room.
Blue Room is Fifth Grade at BNS. Students engage in many hands-on projects to reflect what they know across the curriculum. They enjoy creative writing and participate in a Living History Museum where they take on the persona of a historical figure and play that role during History Night. Blue Roomers go on their first overnight field trip!
Bina Bentley is the Fifth Grade teacher. Visit the Blue Room page for info on the BNS Fifth Grade curriculum.
The Purple Room encompasses sixth grade through eighth grade. Middle school students at BNS have their own building complete with comfortable classrooms they rotate through within a day, and a common area with open lockers. It's a great environment for adolescents who are learning organization and academic skills for high school. The subjects in the Purple Room are engaging and academically rigorous within a classroom environment that encourages conversation, investigation, and perseverance.
Purple Room students enjoy socializing in a laid-back, kind, and supportive environment. They may choose to spend time indoors playing board games and socializing, or outdoors, often engaging in multi-grade-level games of capture-the-flag. These students also go regular field trips to supplement their studies and participate in community service. They also participate in math, science, and history competitions.
In the science lab, you may find Molly Lucier, our lead Purple Room teacher, engaged in an exciting experiment with the middle school students.
Further down the hall you'll find the English room, where Jared Bond's class may be typing up stories on laptops. The students also enjoy the couches in this room, where they gather to read Shakespeare in class, or gather to socialize at lunch time. The three full-time middle school teachers are joined by Seema Dalal who teaches math, and Christine Guseman who teaches computer classes. Middle School students also take classes in Spanish, art, and physical education...and have an array of elective choices each trimester.
Visit the Purple Room page to learn more about the BNS Middle School curriculum.
While in the Middle School wing, you might see a Spanish class going on.
Spanish instruction at BNS focuses on communication skills. It is taught in all grade levels. Students are exposed to the language and culture. In the early grades, the focus is on vocabulary, pronunciation, and comprehension skills. Starting in the Green Room (Third Grade), there is more emphasis on production, while the focus remains in communication skills. In the Purple Room (Middle school), the students are exposed to the Virginia standards of learning for High School level Spanish I and II.
Corinne McCoy leads the Spanish Language program. Visit the Spanish page to learn more about the BNS Spanish curriculum.
Heading back into the main building, we hear that music class is now in session. Dan Richards leads the Music program for the elementary students at BNS, which ends each year with a school-wide music performance. Each class performs a musical number and shares the love he has for music. At BNS students learn to read music and to appreciate a different styles of music from a variety of cultures and traditions. Students' appreciation of music lasts a lifetime thanks to the BNS Music program.
Visit the Music page to learn more about the BNS Music curriculum.
Continuing back down the hall, we might find Christine Guseman teaching Computer Lab. Students work on improving their typing speed, as well as other computer skills.
Our tour then takes us to the Art Room at the end of the hall, where students are taught the life-long values of art and creativity. Students learn to draw, paint, and sculpt using a wide variety of media and techniques. They are taught about design, composition, and how to generate ideas that matter. The Art Room is an exceptional space for budding artists to create their own masterpieces that resemble the works of influential artists.
Patti Rowland is the Art teacher. Visit the Art curriculum page to learn more about Art at BNS, before heading outside.
Our PE program gives children a positive and non-competitive exercise experience. Our children develop a healthy respect for exercise while acquiring lifelong skills for taking care of their physical selves. Age-appropriate skill development in a safe and enjoyable environment is emphasized. Brady Walther and Reagan Whelan are our BNS PE teachers. Learn more about the PE curriculum by visiting the PE page.
The day ends at BNS with some playground time. The BNS Playground is a broad area of grass, huge sand pits, a hardtop court space, swings, climbing structures, and a large shady covered porch. There's also a beautiful outdoor classroom for warm-weather lunches and outdoor curriculum. Kids love to create unique structures and work together to build fantastical worlds... and get a little dirty -- which is always fun when you're young. Or young at heart.