Lesson Learned “EXPECT EXCELLENCE”


Our Upshur County Schools has our motto “EXPECT EXCELLENCE” emblazoned across the bottom of our seal. It is top left on our website. In newspaper layout, whatever is top left is of supreme importance. We want every letterhead and every document to proclaim what we want and who we are.

We recite our Mission Statement at the beginning of every public meeting right after we pledge allegiance to the United States of America. Just like a married couple telling each other daily that they love one another, so our Board of Education carefully and deliberately affirms our relationship with our students over and over again.

We are completely transparent about our Vision for our Upshur County Schools: “The vision of Upshur County Schools is that all children shall be successfully educated to prepare them to be our communities’ and nation’s citizens, parents, and leaders for the twenty-first century. Schools shall develop a comprehensive and balanced curriculum, with engaging instruction and student access to advanced learning technologies, a rich library collection of books, and other information resources for success in the arts, sciences, humanities, and technical instruction.”

Yet, there is more!

Every year our BOE meets with our Superintendent to approve specific goals for the school year. As is our custom, we met with Dr. Sara Stankus-Lewis on September 10, 2019. The goals agreed upon will soon be posted within our minutes and referred to frequently throughout the 2019-2020 Academic Year.

My privilege in writing a weekly column about “Lessons Learned Serving on the BOE” is putting extra emphasis on the emotions and the passion behind our well-reasoned statements. Surely there is a big difference between forming a well-run business organization and forming a public education culture for all children. I cited the example of a married couple proclaiming their love daily as they form a family. So, our five goals this year are filled with passion. Here are some excerpts:

1- The students of Upshur County Schools will demonstrate . . . continual growth . . .

2- All students will develop . . . wellness, responsibility, cultural awareness, self-direction, ethical character and good citizenship . . .

3- Foster effective communication and relationships . . .

4- Provide financial resources and services . . .

5- Provide modern, efficient facilities . . .

See what is happening to my column. It is shaping up to be a huge diagrammed sentence as taught me by English teacher Miss Virginia Bly Hoover in 7th grade at the old Buckhannon-Upshur Junior High School in long ago Academic Year 1960-1961. For many of us she was our greatest teacher, for she expected excellence! That became my goal back then, but first there were good tries that flopped. Surveying my below-average screw-up, Miss Hoover would say in her plainspoken manner, “Isn’t that just ducky!”

Our Upshur County Schools’ goals are challenges that may take a while to achieve. Our Board of Education will not give up. We are on a mission that is worthy of every fiber of our being. And we are not in this alone; rather, we are all in this together.

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