Bath’s School Board holds December Meeting

When the Bath School Board met last week two central topics addressed innovation, and progress- They were a proposal to introduce solar power at all three schools and a presentation on the development of project-based assessments.

Mike Keyser, BARC Electric CEO and David Wahl of Affordable Energy Concepts explained how a large-scale project could be installed on the roofs of the schools, and how much it could save in energy expenses. Some of the funding would be available through Rural Energy Savings, a lending company who BARC has worked with on other projects. While operations and maintenance would be the responsibility of BARC, most educators present at Tuesday night’s meeting were also enthusiastic about the opportunity such a project would give students to learn more about solar power, monitoring electricity use at peak hours, and possibly introducing them to some technical skills.

Earlier in the meeting Mike Keyser presented a check for $4,000 to Bath County Public Schools. This was part of a larger gift distributed to other area schools to advance student learning in science and technology. The funding in Bath will be used towards developing a “makerspace” in both Elementary Schools. For those unfamiliar with “makerspaces”, they are, according to the press release about this donation from BARC “cropping up all across America to enable entrepreneurs and inventors to access shared knowledge and technology that might not otherwise be available on an individual basis.” Sue Hirsh, Bath Superintendent, said, “Makerspaces foster problem solving, creativity, and innovation-all attributes that our students need to succeed in today’s world. We truly appreciate the efforts of BARC in making this a reality.” Another piece of the donation from BARC goes Virginia. To apply for one of those, visit

In a later presentation, Allison Hicklin, Millboro Elementary School principal, described Project Based Assessments, or PBAs. While very few students and teachers miss the SOL (or Standards of Learning) testing that occurred once a year, the Department of Education will always require some assessment showing those Standards are being met. Project based assessments are being developed by teachers across the state to cover the wide range of content schools address. Mrs. Hicklin:

“Part of what I learned at the conference I went to is that this is a very cyclical process. It’s constantly, you reassess; you change, maybe my instruction wasn’t what it should have been? Maybe the assessment wasn’t what it should have been? And what we’ve learned is this is going to constantly be reflecting, reevaluating, and it just goes on and on and on and on. The idea was that we can create a pool of PBAs that we can put on to our website.”   A team of Elementary teachers has been working with Mrs. Hicklin to develop a collection of assessments to go with their lessons. Again Allison Hicklin.

“In addition this year, we’re working on a written plan of how we’re going to expand this, how we’re going to push it up into the high school, how we’re going to push it into some of our math classes.”

As more teachers begin to use this method of assessment across the state, they will develop a bank of tools, and share them with colleagues working in the same grades.

The School Board then went on to prioritize the list of Capital Improvement Requests.   The list of those requests is available with this story on the Allegheny Mountain Radio website. The board also rescheduled their January meeting to Monday, January 9th due to the holiday.


The list of Capital Improvements the School Board would like funded are:

  1. BCHS Parking lot- some loans may be available
  2. BCHS HVAC upgrades especially gym air conditioning
  3. Classroom door locks in VES and MES- Safety!
  4. Paving and patching in other parking lots
  5. Valley Gym, also needs AC
  6. Baseball Field improvements
  7. MES roof resealing


Figures for those improvements will be available at the next School Board meeting to present to the Board of Supervisors at their January meeting.


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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