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SB addresses mixed AYP results in CB

August is “always the beginning,” according to School Superintendent Donna Power.  It is the traditional time to wrap up teacher and student class assignments, acclimate new personnel and put into action a plan for the new school year.  The theme for the 2011-2012 school year is “Facing the Future Together – On To Excellence.” 

Power was proud to announce at the Aug. 17 Colonial Beach School Board meeting that the elementary school made Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP for the 2010-2011

school year.  Results for the high school are under review to determine if “weighting” of scores for sub-groups will affect the outcome.  Currently, the high school AYP pass scores are calculated at 82 percent, three points under the requirement of 85 percent. 

Power has submitted an alternate accreditation plan to the Virginia Board of Education for review.  The plan includes detailed information on the 2011 graduating class, such as the number of students who took advanced placement classes or completed technical programs.  By weighing the additional data, the state school board can add up to three points to the pass score.  Colonial Beach High School is one of eight schools statewide that applied for review.  The results of the state review are expected after Sept. 22. 

Power introduced the new elementary school/middle school principal, Julia Britt.  Britt hails from Prince Edward County Schools.  In her remarks to the School Board, Britt outlined her goals for this school year which included “an increase in the pass/advance rate and an increase in overall SOL scores by 5 to 10 percent.”

High School Principal Clint Runyan reported to the School Board that a new APEX learning system is in place, which provides for increased credit recovery, a better system to resolve scheduling conflicts and will lead to more class offerings and an alternative education option.  Runyan also reported that he has been chosen, along with principals from King and Queen County and the City of Alexandria, to participate in a state-sponsored seminar discussing obstacles to school improvement.

Power also informed the board that every high school junior will be issued an iPad 2 for use in the 2011-2012 school year.  According to Power, the junior class was chosen to participate because “they are the smallest in number and face the most important and heavily weighted SOLs this year.” 

“Our goal is to have every class have access to an iPad, to add a class every year,” Power said.

Convocation is scheduled for Aug. 25 beginning with a luncheon at noon and Westmoreland Commonwealth’s Attorney Dean Atkins speaking at 1 p.m.

The board heard from Honeywell representative Joyce Coleman who presented her company’s experience in maintaining and repairing HVAC equipment. The company, which performed the maintenance for the schools, has gone out of business.  Honeywell has proposed a comprehensive service plan for the board’s review at a cost of $30,000 per year. 

Power then addressed the upcoming increase in school employees’ health insurance rates.  The rates the employees pay is scheduled to go up approximately $25 per pay period for the same coverage they have now.  In light of the increased costs, Power proposed that the board approve a $30 per month stipend to all employees of the school system.  This stipend would help those 75 out of 111 employees who sign up for health insurance defray the additional cost.  

An alternative to the stipend would be to reduce the coverage by raising the deductible and co-pay benefits, which would maintain the current cost of the health plan.  A third option would be to have employees cover the increase through current payroll deduction.

School Board members discussed providing a one-time stipend to all employees rather than a monthly stipend.  The School Board will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, to further discuss this issue and to review the results of an employee survey regarding health care rates.

Kathy Flanagan

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