Cabell County to Develop Incubator School for Expeditionary Learning


Cabell County School officials are excited about a new school they hope will set an example for schools around the state. Cabell will develop the incubator school through a waiver they attained with an innovation zone grant.  

The school will open in the fall of 2015 in Huntington and Cabell County School Board officials hope it is the next step in education. It will be a consolidation of Peyton Elementary and Geneva Kent Elementary in the east end of Huntington. They’ll use the former Beverly Hills Middle School facility that was vacated in December for a brand new Huntington East Middle School.

Cabell Superintendent William Smith is excited about the possibilities.

“What you should see in a classroom like this is more student engagement, a high level of student engagement,” Smith said.

Cabell officials say it’ll be the first expeditionary learning school in the state. Known as EL for short, students will learn about completing projects that will stretch across different subject areas and can sometimes take the entire school year.

The Cabell Board has made trips to EL schools in Chicago, Denver and Asheville, North Carolina.

They describe the school as an incubator school because of the experimental learning environment. They hope what they learn from their experiment leads to others around the state doing their own experiments and developing expeditionary learning environments of their own.

Cabell County Schools will team with the Harless Center at Marshall University to study how educational concepts are working and what the next step might be to continue the growth that will take place in the classroom.

Ryan McKenzie is Principal of Peyton Elementary. He’ll be the new principal of the developed school. He says the work students do here will be beneficial to the community.

"The kids will be engaged in learning that is real out in their communities," McKenzie said.

“The kids will be engaged in learning that is real out in their communities, out in the real world,” McKenzie said. They’ll be doing water analysis projects in the community and sending that report off to the Mayor’s office or the commission

The board will depend on the teachers to relay and adjust how the learning environment is working

Renovation will begin soon on Beverly Hills Middle to turn it into the new incubator school.