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During report time from school board members, School Board Chairman Tim Trivett took advantage of the opportunity and spoke out on recent published reports from Westmoreland County supervisors on the feasibility of school consolidation.
“I’ll do my best to see that consolidation never happens,” Trivett said at the Wednesday, April 13 meeting.
He further said there may be opportunities for the county and town to save money and he will look to see if the two localities “can share resources.”
Trivett also spoke on transparency in local government, saying “the school’s business is the town’s business. We’re not going to try to hide it. We’re not going to try sugarcoat it. Our school division is all about the children.”
Based on a report that 24 out of 43 seniors at the high school have been accepted into institutions of higher learning, Trivett said “I think it speaks volumes about the work we’re doing as a school division.”
School Superintendent Donna Power reported to the board that fundraising efforts had met the initial goal of $25,000 and that the construction phase for installing the new modpod library unit could begin. The board approved the installation. Fundraising efforts are continuing to pay for new furnishings, including bookshelves for the new library. The new library is expected to be in place for the next school year beginning in September 2011.
Power presented the third nine-week iStation report on student progress to the board. The data shows that there is tremendous improvement in the third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade, with the fifth grade students showing results that are “very unpredictable.” The data also shows a second area of concern in eighth grade math. Power reported that fifth grade teachers are “working hard” and “one strategy being used is collaborate and subdivide the reading class.” Students in all elementary grades are showing improvement in science and reading and all student scores are trending upward.
At the high school level, Power reported that student scores for English 11 have dropped, but scores for end-of-course Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry are all up, as well as World History, U.S. History and Virginia History scores.
CBM, a national company that provides institutional food service appeared before the school board and presented information on how they could take over food operations at the schools. Aaron Maguire of CBM noted that the company served more than 24 million meals last year and follows USDA guidelines. CBM provides take home menus, healthy, home-cooked meals and nutritional information in a team-oriented environment. Hand-in-hand with providing meals, CBM proposed to provide a wellness proposition to encourage students to read labels and combat childhood obesity. Lunch prices will remain the same, at $2.25 per meal. CBM also will offer a salad bar at the high school and will employ all current food service staff. The board authorized Power to enter into negotiations with CBM.
Power also reported that the updated asset list, compiled by school administration, is being used to seek decreased liability insurance rates for the schools. It is expected by changing carriers and using VACO, it will save the schools money. Currently, $120,000 per year is in the budget for insurance.
Power also reported that the Community Adult Education classes were a success with eight to 13 adult learners enrolled in each of the three offered classes on Monday evenings. Power reported that the oldest of the adult learners was 88 years old. As an additional service to the community, the schools are offering all citizens use of school computers from 5:30–6:30 p.m. Mondays.
A Minute in Colonial Beach History was presented by the eighth grade and looked at the Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department. The video presented featured three volunteer members who were interviewed on the history and current status of the fire department, which dates back to 1895.
According to high school Principal Clint Runyan, students at the high school exceeded their goal of reading 200,000 minutes during the Scholastic Reading program. The 200,000-minute goal was reached six days before the deadline. To celebrate reaching the reading goal, the high school students will enjoy a Field Day on April 29 from noon to 3 p.m. featuring food, music, and a teachers versus students kickball game.
Kaylie Fitzgerald and Stephanie Buzby were awarded Team Player for March by the elementary school and high school, respectively.
Trivett and Power took a moment at the beginning of the meeting to wish Free Lance-Star reporter Frank Delano well on his retirement. The school board presented Delano with a gift and Delano told the board “Finally, you’ve got your act together.”