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Students Kick Off School With Chromebooks, Backpacks and Pizza

Ritchie Elementary School students turn out for the school’s annual back-to-school block party Tuesday.

Students in Ohio County Schools face their upcoming return to school this week, and many received new Chromebooks, books bags stuffed with supplies and even some pizza at events on Tuesday.

School starts Thursday in Ohio County, and school officials handed out nearly 450 Chromebooks before 1 p.m. Tuesday to sophomores, juniors and seniors at Wheeling Park High School, according to JoJo Shay, innovation coordinator for Ohio County Schools.

More Chromebooks were to be handed out to freshmen later in the day, who were coming in for a scheduled freshman gate party at the high school.

Students in grades 6-12 in Ohio County Schools all will receive their tablets this school year — about 2,000 in total– and the end result is a lot of discarded computer boxes and cardboard.

Shay said the cardboard actually will prove a valuable commodity as the school district begins its 1:1 initiative to put technology in each student’s hands.

The cardboard will be placed in innovation spaces being created at each school, where students will work on various projects bringing to life what they are creating on their Chromebooks.

Shay said the cardboard will be used to build projects in simulated workplace classes, and for engineering projects in science classes. She can also see it being used to build dioramas for English class assignments.

“It comes down to what lessons we are giving our students to engage in,” Shay said.

Bridge Street Middle School, meanwhile, hosted its annual block party for students. As many as 39 local businesses took part, according to Principal John Jorden. Employees from Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital were present, though the hospitals are expected to close in 60 to 90 days.

The employees were passing out bicycle helmets, water bottles and T-shirts to students. Adults who accompanied them received pamphlets about healthy living.

“We want to let people know we are still here for the community. They have supported us all these years,” said employee Vickie Grandstaff.

Jorden said all students at the school will receive bookbags filled with supplies, even if they didn’t come Tuesday for the festivities — which included pizza and face painting.

“Kids get to come in a few days early,” he said. “Some are real eager, some are anxious. They get an opportunity to meet their homeroom teachers.

School counselors Nick Irvine and Abby Kurz said the street fair helps the students to adjust.

Bridge Street Middle School also had a back-to-school party for students Tuesday night.

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