Bonnie Dunn

Bonnie Dunn leads a session of Healthy Grandfamilies training with members of the community in July. Since school is now in session, Dunn has returned to Marion County to once again lead training sessions.

FAIRMONT – More West Virginia children than ever are in a situation where they are living with their grandparents.

Aside from their guardianship, though, their lives are like many others where going to school is the main focal point of their days.

“For whatever reason, there are grandparents out there that are raising their grandchildren, one or more,” said Steve Malnick, administrative assistant for curriculum and instruction.

Malnick is the Marion County Schools administrator in charge of the scheduling for grandfamilies training. The district is collaborating with advocacy group Families Services of Marion and Harrison Counties and the United Way to educate these non-traditional guardians.

“It’s a series of three discussion groups to provide information and resources to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren,” Malnick said. “It’s designed as a series of discussions with the availability of followup services.”

Training sessions for the discussions will begin the week of Sept. 23, and Malnick said the school offices will be hosting a meeting focused on the school system.

In turn, Malnick said the session is going to be called “Navigating the Public School System,” and added that those in attendance will go through a number of lessons on how to stay up to date with a child’s academic life.

“It’s something that we definitely want to see implemented and we’re hoping for very good results,” Malnick said. “These sessions will just help them with any questions they may have. There’s different topics they’re going to cover during the session.”

Malnick said these topics will include information on the school system’s online navigation, which he believes can be confusing to some who are not used to the online form.

“We’re going to do some presentations on some simple things,” Malnick said. “Just how to navigate the Marion County website; how grandparents can get on and search for their grandchild’s grades.

“The children, they know how to navigate that technology pretty well, but sometimes maybe the grandparents can’t.”

While the Marion County Schools session is just one stop for the grandfamilies training, Malnick said the opportunity to bring it home is one he didn’t want to pass up, and is hoping to get people’s attention.

“It’s just a program that we’re really hoping gets out there and assists grandparents,” Malnick said. “We’re really excited about that, that we’re going to be able to have one of those sessions.”

Email Eddie Trizzino at and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

News Reporter

Eddie Trizzino has been a reporter with the Times West Virginian since August of 2017, covering the entertainment, business and health beats. He spends most of his time listening to records, going to the movies and strolling through the town.

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