Bath County School board held February meeting

On Tuesday evening the Bath School Board met at the High School, and there was abundant good news, about so much of the students’ work and activities. The robotics team showed the board the robot they had taken to a competition at Orange County High School. While their final placement in the line-up was 16 out of 22 teams, all the team members and their sponsor, Career Technical Engineering teacher, Ed Ozuls understand that developing the robot more fully all the time is a long, time consuming process. In the next year they plan to add tracks instead of wheels, and more to the body of the bot. And while very appreciative of one local sponsor, they will continue to look for funding to support this team, and acquire materials they need to strengthen their design.

Both High School and Middle School Bands were in the limelight too this weekend as selected players participated in All Area Band with four other high schools from the Central Highlands area.
They will be performing at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton this Saturday as the next stage of this series of concerts. The Beta Club will be attending a conference in Williamsbug from the 12th through the 15th of this month where they practice leadership skills of all kinds from public speaking to campaigning for office. Students from all three schools have also completed the first rounds of Spelling Bees, and on February 10th the winners of those preliminary rounds will meet for the Division wide Spelling Bee. The public is welcome to attend this event.

Jane Hall, Director of Pupil personnel services and Special Education, and by Stephanie Hiner, High School guidance counselor gave two key presentations. Director Jane Hall described the main components of the plan to remedy Valley Elementary School’s standing as “accredited with warning” in either Math or English, over the past two years. She described how the school can expect to reach and exceed benchmarks as students get closer to meeting SOL goals in all areas. A few of the ways in which teachers and administration expect to improve accreditation standing are: analyzing students’ scores on SOLs about three times per year, providing remediation for students who are falling short of bench marks, and through professional development conferences and workshops for teachers.

Bath County High School Guidance Counselor, Stephanie Hiner provided the changes that will take place in the course of studies for next year.

Stephanie Hiner,

“The first thing we want to do is introduce a scheduling fair. And what we are talking about is having students spend part of their day going and visiting all of the classes, so they can see what an auto shop is, what the particular Math classes are, what a robotics programming class might be, so they can do all that before they actually come and sit down with a counselor and pick their schedule. We’re also going to invite parents to attend, and it’s also a way to market what we’re doing.”

Board members were enthusiastic about this new addition to students’ opportunities, as well as the five proposed classes to be added to the offerings next year. Those are Computer Math, strictly for CTE completers, Anatomy and Physiology, Yearbook as an Art elective, Introduction to Culinary Arts, and Cabinet Making I. In addition to changing the way class rank is calculated from a numeric average of grades to a weighted GPA average, the board unanimously approved the changes to the course of studies for the 2016-2017 school year.

The board voted on several items continued from their closed session, and then made some closing comments.

Recently elected member, and chair of the board, Roy Burns said,

”Change is tough, but it’s good. I’ve already seen a lot of good come from change. And I’ll just be truthful here. You know a lot of times the only thing you hear is the bad stuff. I hear a lot of people saying a lot of negative things.”

Then Mr. Burns offered a metaphor that also describes the phenomena “what we pay attention to increases.”

He continued.

“If you have a magnifying class whatever it is focused on is going to be big, so if we focus on all the negative, and the things that are tough, that’s all we’re going to see. Right now, I see a shift in that. It looks like everybody’s kind of focused on what is good, what is positive, and I just want to encourage everybody to not only keep doing that, but encourage others to do that as well.”


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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