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Open house welcomes guests to learn about Morgan Academy

By Staff | Feb 21, 2020

Misty Sheehan, language arts and history teacher for grades 1-5, shows off some of her students' work, during Saturday's open house. Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Since its founding in 2004, Morgan Academy has continued expanding, especially after moving to its current home on Shepherdstown Pike.

Co-founder Bernadine Somers said during the academy’s open house on Saturday, that the student body is now over 125, including 30 preschoolers and eight high schoolers, whose groups meet at separate locations as the capacity at the academy site is 90. The preschool meets at a location on High Street, while the high school students are located on Shepherd University’s campus, where they can take advantage of dual enrollment programs.

According to Somers, while these two groups are not on the main campus, they visit every week to help the students build a sense of community. The middle school students also make a weekly trip to the Shepherd campus, where they take a writer’s workshop to prepare them for high school and college preparation.

In addition to traditional subjects such as English, history, science and math, the students at Morgan Academy learn to grow food and raise animals. The school is now home to six rescue pigs, 12 chickens, five ducks, seven cats and one rescue rabbit.

“The students help care for the animals,” Somers said. “It helps teach them responsibility.”

A kindness project has been completed throughout Morgan Academy's school year, which was on display during the open house on Saturday. Toni Milbourne

Students also tend a 4,000-square-foot organic garden, which they helped to design and build.

“The students have a gardening class once a week where they plan, plant, weed and harvest. Basically, we have a small working farm,” Somers said.

Along with learning responsibility, students are taught about other life skills, such as kindness, recycling, good manners, mindfulness and upcycling. The school uses washable towels rather than paper, which also teaches children life skills as they are required to assist in the chore of washing, drying and folding the towels at the end of each day.

“We foster good conservationists here,” said Director of Operations Lori Robertson. “It’s all about keeping Mother Earth happy.”

Robertson shared information on the school’s “pollinator festival” that is held each year when the children dress up as their “favorite pollinator.” The school is developing a monarch bee waystation, Robertson said and the children enjoy watching butterflies hatch from cocoons each year.

While it is open enrollment time at Morgan Academy, Somers said available spaces are minimal. Those wishing to learn more about enrollment may contact the school at 304-876-2004.

The academy will host a scholarship fundraising event this Sunday at Brix 27 In Martinsburg. Tickets can be purchased for the auction event on Eventbrite’s website, via Morgan Academy’s Facebook page.