Snow packets will help keep kids learning while out of school

BUCKHANNON  The Upshur County Board of Education approved a policy that will allow snow packets at its last week’s meeting.

The board had the first reading and approval of proposed revised Policy 2018 regarding the school calendar.

Under a new state policy, non-traditional instructional days may be used to provide for up to five instructional days lost due to inclement weather or other circumstances that may cause the cancellation of school.

The board previously discussed waiting to implement the snow packet policy until a plan could be developed.

Superintendent Roy Wager said the central office would be meeting with principals to set up guidelines and have them in place by the time school starts back in August.

Board president Dr. Tammy Samples suggested setting up times where teachers in the same grades and subject areas can collaborate on the snow packets.

“We want these to be valuable; we don’t just want them to be a check-off,” she said. “We should allow the teachers to be a part of that process.”

Curriculum director Tim Derico said that had been discussed.

“At the end of the conversation, we kept coming back to the differences at Hodgesville versus Washington District versus French Creek versus Rock Cave,” Derico said. “We were then under the impression that we were better off to leave it up to the individual principals.”

Samples said she also felt teachers should be involved in the process.

“What’s going to happen if a student from school A brings something home that is much more involved?” she asked.

In other school news, assistant superintendent Jack Reger reported on the status of the HVAC system in the media center at the middle school, which stopped working.

“The plan is to install two units to replace the one big one,” he said. “They are more efficient. We are hoping we can use the same ductwork and it will just be the cost of the units.”

“We are hoping to have the unit in before the first day of the school.”

Reger also said the former art building at the middle school that was last used for in-school suspension will be demolished soon.

“It is unsalvageable,” he said. “It has roof leaks. It is just used for storage.”

Another project is in the works for Hodgesville.

“Currently with the configuration there is no place for the principal to have private conservations,” Reger said. “We can add a conference room for the guidance counselor and speech therapist in the cafeteria. We can make it about 6 feet wide and about 12 to 16 feet long. The fire marshal has given us the nod of approval.”

That will allow the principal to have his or her own office which will be more conducive to meeting with parents and students.

The board approved a consent agenda that included a request from Union Elementary School for their Destination Imagination Teams to travel to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville May 23-26, a request from French Creek Elementary School for fifth-grade students to travel to Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. on May 24 and a request from St. Patrick School in Weston to travel to the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley on May 21.

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