Highland Schools Only One Of Eight Divisions To Receive Top State Award

Monterey, VA – The Highland School Division was one of only 8 divisions in the state that earned the 2011 Virginia Index of Performance Award for advanced learning and achievement. To earn this honor the Highland Schools had to meet all state and federal benchmarks for at least 2 consecutive years. This is the first year that the Highland school system has earned this award. This is also the first year that the elementary school has earned a Virginia Index of Performance Award.

Besides having to deal with state budget cuts and searching for a new superintendent, the Highland County School Board will also have other challenges to meet over the next few months. With shrinking enrollment, the high school is expected to drop below 100 students next year. Unless the state grants the Highland Schools some form of exemption from current state school policies the school system will be hard pressed to satisfy state mandates with a shrinking budget and possible staff cuts.

State funding for the school depends on enrollment. School Board members are hoping that a meeting with state Department of Education staff later this year, will provide some solutions. High school principal Kelly Wilmore made his monthly report to the Board.

“Want to recognize our area band members, Amanda Blagg, Laurel Blagg, Chris Lane, John Voss, Samantha Blagg and Elizabeth Brown” says Wilmore. “District Five had auditions their recently, and we had three of our students who made the District Five team, and that was Samantha Blagg, Laurel Blagg, and Amanda Blagg; so the Blagg girls cleaned up.

Standing in for elementary school principal Teresa Blum, Mary Stevenson, gave the monthly report to the Board.

“The Pack-a-Snack program, they are sending home approximately 115 packages home with Pre-K through eighth graders every week” says Stevenson. “The spelling bee was held last week; first place was Elizabeth Brown, and this is her second year coming in first place; and second place was Chelsea Isles. The elementary Destination Imagination teams will compete in their regional tournament on Saturday, March the 12th at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet. Their first challenge is at 10:02am and then again at 2:15pm.”

High school student David Leech presented the Board with a proposal for a spring semester soccer team. The Board supported the proposal, but asked Mr. Wilmore to see if the team would be able meet the Virginia High School League requirements and would be able to schedule enough games at this late date. Mr. Wilmore will report back to the Board before the March meeting so a formal decision can be made.

Coaches for the spring semester were approved:

Tom Boxler – head baseball coach
Austin Shepherd – assistant baseball coach
Bridget Nelson: head coach for girls softball
Caroline Botkin: assistant coach girls softball
Kim West: head coach for track and field
Jason Canze: assistant coach for track and field

New substitute teachers approved include Beverly Thompson, Nicole Marsh, Patricia Hooke and Janelle Bowers.

The next regular meeting of the Highland County School Board is scheduled for Monday, March 7 at 7 PM in the high school library.

Story By

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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