Photo by Johnny Jackson
Kindergartner Jason Le, 6, shows State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge how students in his class built stories Wednesday using pictures of objects.
HAMPTON — Members of the student council greeted dignitaries as they walked through the front door. Among them was the state’s chief education official.
State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge visited Kemp Primary School earlier this week in response to an invitation by school officials.
Barge said he first met students from Kemp Primary when its chorus sang at the state Capitol this past winter. He also met up with youngsters at the Imagine It! Children’s Museum of Atlanta during a Read Across America event in March.
On Wednesday’s visit, he looked in on several classes at the school of 741 students.
Barge stopped by Lori Gardner’s pre-k class and interacted with students such as Julio Nieves, 5, during an careers dress-up activity. Nieves insisted he be a doctor, handing him a stethoscope to go along with his construction worker hard hat.
Barge also greeted the school’s parent liaison, Alma Williams, in a resource room dedicated to parents and teachers.
Williams was joined by Parent Teacher Association President Angela Ugbajah and secretary Gloria Vaughn, who each spend at least one day a week at the school.
“We’re actively involved in trying to encourage our parents to be a part of their children’s education,” said Williams. “We help parents help their kids.”
Barge dropped by Dr. Regenia Barrie-Adams’ kindergarten classroom.
Adams and her paraprofessional, Vontressia Carrington, were in the midst of teaching an interactive lesson in English/language arts.
“I think they’re going in the right direction,” said Barrie-Adams. “Common Core [standards] is more rigorous for them. But as kindergartners, they are really catching on.”
Barge spoke with first-graders, too. Second-graders on the student council took part in a question-and-answer session.
“How many schools do you oversee in the state?” said Darien Whitfield, 8.
“There are over 2,300 school in the state,” said Barge.
To end his 90-minute visit, Barge was treated to performances by the school’s second-grade chorus and K-2 dance team, Panda Girls.
Principal Dr. Brenda Cloud said she was excited to showcase the school’s programs to the state’s top education official.
“Kemp Primary is a unique school because we make sure children are learning through all modality,” she said. “The students excel because they do a lot of hands-on activity. Learning for us is hands-on because they are bound for careers and colleges.”
Barge described the students as “bright and well-mannered.”
“It was a delightful visit,” said Barge. “The children were well-spoken, polite, friendly and open. I saw lots of children that were eager to learn.”