BOE awards Stars, approves Choir trip


BUCKHANNON The Upshur County Board of Education met on Tuesday evening to recognize student and teacher achievements, as well as to hear updates from multiple departments.

The meeting began with the recognition of several Upshur Stars. Mrs. Sherri Butler, Art teacher at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, recognized the success of one of her students during Youth Art Month in March. Upshur County was able to enter nine art pieces in the WV Art Education Art Show held in Fairmont. Prudence Newcome’s art display was selected as one of the winning pieces in the show. She received $100 and a continued display of her artwork in the gallery.

Mr. Jeremiah Smallridge, Buckhannon-Upshur High School Choir Director, invited the members of his All State Choir to perform a piece for the BOE, and all those in attendance. The following WVMEA All-State Chorus members received an Upshur Star Award: Elizabeth O’Neil, Victoria Adams, Ryanna Hines, Heather Humphrey, Kobe Hamrick, Ethan Lawrence, Patrick O’Neil, Julianna Stark and Richard Williams.

Board members also approved the B-UHS Choir’s request for a trip to Washington D.C. where they will represent the Mountain State as West Virginia Music Ambassadors at the Lincoln Memorial Centennial Celebration next spring. In addition to performances, the group will get the opportunity to tour the Capitol Building and national monuments, as well as visit museums and the zoo.

Chairs at the BOE meeting were filled Tuesday evening with representatives from each Girl Scout Troop in Upshur County. After having the opportunity to sell cookies in the cafeteria, each Girl Scout and Troop Leader was recognized with an Upshur Star Award as they received praise from the Board members, who bought 20 boxes of cookies to show their support.

Following recognitions, Craig Presar from Upshur County’s Extension Office presented their yearly budget request, which was approved by the BOE. Presar elaborated on the changes with 4-H this year due to the pandemic. Although they won’t be facilitating a 4-H Camp this year, there are plans for several day camps, as well as the continuance of shooting sports and activities such as the “Adopt-A-Chick” program to keep students engaged and learning.

Next, Upshur Co. Schools renewed their Memorandum with Marshall University, which ensures that students in Marshall’s Counseling program may train with counselors in local schools. The renewal was quickly accepted.

Jeff Perkins then gave a brief report on Financials. He reviewed minor budget corrections, transfers, and discussed several past expenditures. Perkins confirmed two minor financial projects with FETC and the Pro-Start program at B-UHS. The financials report was approved unanimously by the Board.

Following, Kayla Yocum gave a Technology update, in which she explained the continued support with ‘Help Desk Tickets’ providing technological assistance to students, teachers, and family members. Yocum also explained to the Board that she has worked with the Student Achievement department to update the Upshur County School’s Website, providing more information to students and parents. In addition, she reported that the Technology Board is in the process of attending a useful West Virginia Technology Workshop in Fairmont.

Mrs. Johnson then presented a Student Achievement update. She notified the Board that letters were sent out last week to remote students of concern. After the letters were mailed, several of those students have returned to in-school instruction. She also explained that there will be Summer Learning opportunities, credit recovery, and credit courses offered after the school year is completed. The middle and high schools will be offering “transitional learning” to upcoming 6th and 9th graders. Johnson ensured the Board that, overall, students seem to be “bouncing back” and raising their grades.

The Board then briefly discussed changes in Policy 4003, which reflects changes made in the Attendance Policy from WVBOE. The State added “failure to attend virtual learning” reparations to the West Virginia School’s Attendance Policy.

The BOE approved employment in the following positions: Jason Rock as B-UHS Head Tennis Coach; Mason Fox as substitute teacher; Abigail Poling as substitute teacher; Alexa DelColle as substitute teacher; Emily Chewning as substitute teacher; Sara Collins as substitute secretary; Brittany Gerwig as substitute secretary; Cade Garrett as Assistant Tennis Coach at B-UHS; Shelly Bright as Assistant Softball Coach at B-UHS; Elaine Pugh as transportation aide; Eliza Taylor as general music teacher at B-UHS; Russ McClain as 6-8 science teacher; Elizabeth Terry as 6-8 science teacher; Jo Malcom as Special Education Coordinator PreK-12; and Kelsey Riggleman as Assistant Cheer Coach at B-UHS.

Board members approved the following resignations: Jason Rock as Assistant Tennis Coach at B-UHS; Lauren Pavlic as counselor at B-UMS; Jenny Tenney as 2nd grade teacher at Hodgesville; Michael Turek as substitute custodian; Paris Wilson as substitute teacher; and Homer Brown as custodian at Union.

The following personnel transfers were also approved: Betsy Jackson from halftime cook at Rock Cave to Cafeteria Manager; Wade Sinclair from custodian at Academy to Hodgesville; Sabrina Loudin from Title 1 at Union to School Improvement Specialist at BAES.; Carrie Bowers from PreK teacher at Union to teacher at B-UHS; Jacob Orr from Physical Education teacher at TES to Driver’s Education at B-UHS; Kasondra Tenney from Title 1 to School Improvement Specialist at BAES; Kim Mitchell from PreK aide at French Creek to B-UHS; Carmela McHenry from special education aide at Tennerton to BAES; Levi Bender from Itinerant Art Teacher at BAES and Tennerton to Art Teacher 6-8 at B-UMS; Taylor Cain Nichols from Empowerment Academy Teacher at B-UMS to English/LA teacher; Roseanne Sigga-Walker from 4th grade teacher at BAES to 6-8 Mathematics teacher at B-UMS; Stacey Marteney from special education teacher at B-UMS to Social Studies 6-8 at B-UMS; and Brittany Brown from special education at B-UMS to 6-8 Science teacher at B-UMS.

The next regular Board of Education Meeting will take place on April 13 at 7:00 p.m. at B-UHS.

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