Equity issues at Mary C. Snow Elementary exacerbated by pandemic

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – On Monday, Mary C. Snow principal Destiny Spencer and assistant principal Brian Wooten began their presentation to the Kanawha County Board of Education with good news: the elementary school profited off of their book fair for the first time, and their latest family night had 260 people attend.

But the pandemic has had its challenges for the school, where 40 percent of the children live in so-called “grand families,” with their grandparents.

School board member Ryan White pointed out that the elementary school in Charleston’s West Side has one of the lowest if not the lowest family income levels in the state.

During the pandemic, this became more pronounced, as many of the children didn’t have internet at home.

As students continue to quarantine this school year, it made virtual learning a hurdle some teachers had to overcome by either giving them printed learning packets or teaching the students how to use the school’s wifi hotspots.

“When the students first came to school we had to teach them how to log into Schoology, how to log into conferences, where they could access their assignments online,” said Mary C. Snow principal Destiny Spencer.

As most schools in the county find themselves academically behind after the pandemic, Mary C. Snow is two years behind.

School leaders say they were already behind one year before the pandemic hit.

“I think income can limit the opportunities that some of our students are able to have if their parents aren’t able to afford to take them places, read books to them – that’s a big thing that we’re realizing that students aren’t having the books read to them at home,” said Mary C. Snow Elementary assistant principal Brian Wooten.

Still, Spencer says the children are excited to be back in the classroom and the community always pulls through for their students.

“The students’ basic needs have to be met before they can learn anything.”

Destiny Spencer, mary c. snow elementary principal

“The students’ basic needs have to be met before they can learn anything, so the community does pour into us; we get donations for coats, food, clothing, just mentors, so we do have a lot of community support,” she said.

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