Shattering Stereotypes: WV History and Geography

Mountain SOL is partnering with MLA again to teach WV History for the 2018/2019 school year!

Check out the first time we hosted this class in 2015/2016 here.

Middle school students at Morgantown Learning Academy (MLA) are immersed in a year-long, interactive history and geography unit that is taking them on a tour of West Virginia entitled “Shattering Stereotypes: WV History and Geography.” This special topics class represents part of a unique partnership between MLA and the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School (Mtn SOL) with support from the West Virginia Sierra Club and Experience Learning.

In September 2018, we traveled to the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park to learn about West Virginians’ roles in the Civil War.

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MLA students will participate in two additional immersive field trips during the second semester.

In April, students traveled to Experience Learning for hands-on lessons in geography. Students put their mapping skills to the test and navigated as a group to the highest peak in West Virginia, Spruce Knob. They also camped under some of the darkest night skies in the Eastern U.S., viewed the extensive Red Spruce and northern hardwood forests, and learned about the devastating impact of timbering at the turn of the century.

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In May, the middle school class traveled to Matewan with support from the West Virginia Chapter of Sierra ClubMorgantown Learning Academy (MLA), in partnership with the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School (Mountain SOL), is pleased to announce the recent gift of $2,000 from the West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club. 

While in Matewan, students visited the WV Mine Wars Museum and meet with its co-founder and curator Wilma Steele. They also had the opportunity to meet with members of the local UMWA and ask them questions about current union efforts regarding their health benefits and pensions. The highlight of the trip was experiencing the reenactment of the Matewan Massacre on the 99th anniversary of the event.  After the reenactment, students met with the actors portraying historical figures such as Mother Jones, Sid Hatfield, Mayor Testerman and his wife, Baldwin-Felts agents and townspeople.

Adding to the historical significance of the trip, the students stayed overnight at the Historic Matewan House Bed and Breakfast, owned by David Hatfield, a descendant of the famous Hatfield clan. This important field trip would not have been be possible without the generous donation from the West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club. 

Please enjoy this video the students made as a “Thank you!” to the Sierra Club.

To finish up the class, each student wrote a persuasive essay about their visions for West Virginia moving forward.  We invite you to read these hopeful essays!

Avant Evans


Braedyn Hill

Maraid Johnson

Thalia Krissoff

Jacob Lamp

Andy Loos

Rider Ludrosky

Hayden Monday

Khensa Rahman

Jakob Scheffen-Krause

Noah Spransy

This special topics class is developed and taught through a partnership between MLA and Mountain SOL.  We also were thrilled to include two students from Mountaineer Middle:

Toria Tower

Jayden Booth

About Morgantown Learning Academy

Morgantown Learning Academy is a non-profit, non-church affiliated, private school for children from preschool to eighth grade located in Morgantown, West Virginia.  For more information about Morgantown Learning Academy, visit or call 304-296-9554.