BUCKHANNON — We, in Upshur County are working continuously to support our students, teachers and school staff. As we are navigating in unprecedented times, we must place health and safety at the forefront of all that we do. Our priorities are to feed and educate our children.
Dr. Stankus, School Superintendent, stated “We must be innovative and find creative ways of teaching and learning. We are in uncharted territory, but we have educators who are willing and anxious to see that our students are educated.”
The staff of Upshur County Schools has done outstanding work this past week in our efforts to provide basic needs for our students in the form of breakfast and lunch. Our cooks, bus drivers, aides, secretaries, custodians and professional employees have been amazing!
Now, we must also provide our students with the education they deserve and do so to the very best of our ability. As a community we will work together to assure our children are successfully educated in order to improve our community by providing the opportunity for every student to grow socially and academically every day. Currently, we are unable to do this in the traditional way. So, we are developing new and creative ways to enable our students to access the curriculum, master the standards and continue their learning. And we will be supporting students and educators in all of these efforts.
Again, we know that this has never been done before and that the situation is constantly changing, therefore we ask for patience from our community as we respond to mandates and expectations.
With these things in mind and the knowledge that our educators are some of the most dedicated people anywhere, we have developed strategies to assist them as they work to accomplish our goals– especially in ways that were not even considered a week ago. Administration is also changing the way in which we do things and the expectations we have of our educators. We are introducing new ways for documenting efforts and the supports provided to our students.
• Monday through Wednesday, teachers and administrators contacted every student to complete a survey regarding meals and internet accessibility to determine needs.
• As of Thursday, all teachers are providing lesson plans to the administration by Monday of each week reflecting their new approach to teaching and learning.
o These plans will concisely provide quality instruction of essential standards, containing three components:
1. WV College and Career Readiness Standards are being addressed.
2. Description of the activity or activities being used.
3. Explanation of how assessment of understanding will be measured.
o These will be submitted by copying documents into an electronic form, which will be reviewed by principals.
o Plans must include ways to provide instruction to students with internet access, as well as those without internet access.
• High School Teachers will make at least two contacts with each student during a week. A third contact will made by Student Services from B-UHS. Elementary Teachers will make a minimum of three contacts with each of their students.
o These contacts with students can be a combination of individual and group contacts.
o They can be made by phone, by email, by LiveGrades messaging, by remind, by Microsoft Office Teams, by Google Classroom, by Social Media, etc.
• Teachers are to document these contacts by completing an electronic form for each contact.
o A copy of all contact data will be sent to respective principals each week.
We appreciate that these times are trying and that we all are being asked to create something entirely new in a very short time. Our goal is to support our students, our faculty and staff in these efforts. Above all, as we continue to educate our children, we want the learning to be INNOVATIVE, CREATIVE, AND BE UNCOMPLICATED!
Upshur County’s #1 priority is for our children to be fed. Children will continue to have access to meals. Meal counts in Upshur County for last week were as follows: Monday – 1,486, Tuesday – 2,467, Wednesday – 3,668, Thursday – 4,918 and Friday – 5,404.
Upshur County will be changing our preparation and distribution of food. The alternative plan is below.
• Beginning Monday, March 23, we will have three meal prep sites (B-UHS, B-UMS and BAES).
• Volunteers will report from 8-10 a.m. to one of the three sites to assist with meal packaging and food loading.
• Buses will deliver multiple meals on Monday and Thursday.
• Buses will leave at 10 a.m. from B-UHS, B-UMS and BAES and follow their regular routes. Unfortunately, curbside pick-up has been discontinued for the present time.
• Food can be picked up at any bus stop location. If you are unsure of a bus stop near you, please call the Transportation Department at (304) 472-1544.
We have been so inspired throughout this challenging time. Our employees have stepped up to meet the needs of our children and community during this most difficult time. For this, we are most grateful. Times such as this prove that schools do more than educate. In times of crisis, our big yellow school bus has become the symbol of normalcy in our community. It provides hope and security for all of us. Together, we will continue to make a difference and be Upshur Strong!
We appreciate your patience and positivity. Thanks for the positive comments and support on social media. This inspires the important work we do for families. We are all in this together and we want to do what we can to serve our students, community and the families of Upshur County.