Bath schools work on improvement plans

Hot Springs, Va. – Bath County Schools are working on school improvement plans. At Tuesday night’s Bath School Board meeting the board heard from all three school principals about improvement plans being implemented to try to help the schools meet federal standards on annual measurable objectives, or AMOs.

The Virginia Department of Education is directing schools to create improvement plans to raise achievement in particular subgroups of students that did not meet AMOs. Examples of subgroups include students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency.

All three Bath County schools are fully accredited, but two of them did not meet the federal AMOs. For consistency, all three schools are doing improvement plans even though Millboro Elementary is the only school which met all the AMOs. The high school and Valley Elementary are required to do improvement plans, since Valley did not meet the math AMO and the high school did not meet AMO in English and graduation rates.

The federal guidelines on graduation rates only recognize two diploma types, where the state of Virginia recognizes seven diploma types. So a student that earns a diploma type that’s only recognized by the state is not considered as meeting the federal standards. Bath County High School has students that earn some of those diplomas that are only recognized by the state. High School Principal Sarah Rowe said that with those guidelines and knowing the number of disabled students that she has, she already knows that the class of 2013 will not meet AMO.

School Superintendent Sue Hirsh reported that as of September 30 the school division reported enrollment of 613 students. That’s about 3% fewer than last year. By October 26, that number had increased by 5 students to a total of 618. At Millboro Elementary there are 104 students, Valley Elementary has 242 and the high school has 272 students.

School Board member Dr. Ellen Miller discussed the schools’ volunteer policy which sets a minimum age requirement of 21. Dr. Miller said that by having an age limitation the school system is ignoring a resource of recent graduates that could come back and volunteer in a variety of capacities. School Superintendent Sue Hirsh said there has been concern in the past about having recent graduates work with high school students, because they are close in age. Dr. Miller said recent graduates could volunteer in a supervised setting. Hirsh said she was willing to look at the situation and find a way to make it work.

And the board approved the following appointments Tuesday night:
Lisa McComb as JV girls basketball coach, Calin Foarce as girls soccer coach, Bonnie Lee JV softball coach, Sandy McGlothlin and Joe Smiley as substitute custodians, Joe Smiley as a substitute vehicle driver, Christine Unroe as cafeteria substitute, April Miller as special education department chair and Kirk Smith was placed under contract as a custodian at Millboro Elementary.

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Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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