Bath County Schools SOL test results mirror statewide results

Standards of Learning test results in Bath County schools mirror those of many other Virginia school divisions.  At the Bath School Board meeting on Tuesday night, Technology and Administrative Services Director Paul Lancaster presented the Virginia Department of Education School Accreditation Ratings.  He reported that since the English and Math SOLs have become more rigorous, one out of every three schools in Virginia did not make full accreditation.  Bath County High School and Millboro Elementary School are fully accredited, while Valley Elementary School is accredited with warning in English.

Last year Valley Elementary did not meet the benchmark in Math, but after a year of working on improvement in Math, Valley Elementary met the benchmark of 70% this year.  Lancaster reported that overall this year the Math pass rates across the Bath School Division increased by an average of sixteen points.  Lancaster said English will now be the focus for improvement and work has begun on curriculum revision.  He also said work will continue on certain areas in Math.  In Bath County the overall SOL pass rates across all subjects were 89% at Millboro Elementary, 85% at the high school and 69% at Valley Elementary.

Also on Tuesday night, the board approved initiating the Breaking Bread program.  It’s a program where law enforcement officers have lunch with students at school as a way of interacting and building trust and respect.  School Board member Rhonda Grimm said she thought this could have a positive impact on students.  She said she’s heard about instances of bullying and she said it’s intolerable and she feels maybe this program might provide an outlet for students to talk about things that may be going on.

The board also voted to ask the Board of Supervisors to appropriate over $13,000 for the purchase of new UHF school security radios.  Bath Schools was awarded a security equipment grant of more than $27,000 to help pay for equipment, but local funding of about $13,500 is needed.  With no money appropriated for the project, the school board will request the funding from the county.  The new radios will provide better communication for school staff and emergency personnel during school safety events.

And the board discussed the issue of staggered terms for school board members.  The Board of Supervisors is considering implementing staggered terms and if it’s put in place, staggered terms for the school board will also be set up in the same way.  The Board of Supervisors is holding a public hearing on staggered terms at it’s meeting on November 11.  School Superintendent Sue Hirsh told the board she felt it was important as a board to present what they think about staggered terms.  Hirsh also reported on information received from school divisions around Virginia about staggered terms.  With more than eighty responses to Bath’s survey on staggered terms, more than sixty of those school divisions operate with staggered terms with the number one reason being to have some continuity from one board to the next.  The Bath School Board tabled making any recommendation, with plans to discuss it further at it’s next meeting on November 4th.

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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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