Sat12202014

Last updateWed, 27 Dec 2017 12am

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County hopes rebar firm spurs growth

County officials hope their deal with Commercial Metals Company is just the beginning of the expansi...

Students show off their holiday spirit

Students show off their holiday spirit

Collect, distribute food locally
On Nov. 23, FFA advisor and King George High School agriculture and ...

KG officials ready to OK rebar company plan

The King George Board of Supervisors is expected to OK Commercial Metals Company’s plan to invest $1...

County workers to get 2% pay raise

King George County employees will receive 2 percent pay raises effective Jan. 1.
The King George Boar...

getting a jump on holiday shopping

getting a jump on holiday shopping

Christmas shoppers and visitors from throughout the area mingled with local artists and crafters Nov...

King George shows off its holiday spirit

King George shows off its holiday spirit

Local organizations step up to fill Thanksgiving meal void left by Social Services

There were two l...

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Brown refutes School Board claims about Potomac Elementary

Cathy Dyson of the Free-Lance Star posted a blog about her recent tour of Potomac Elementary School. She refers to recent stories in her paper and The Journal. Here is the story we ran about Potomac Elementary School in the Dec. 29, 2010 issue, where Superintendent Candace Brown represented the temperature problems at the school as "not a constant situation." Apparently Dr. Brown was with Dyson on the tour. Here is the link to Dyson's blog posting:

http://blogs.fredericksburg.com/kinggeorge/

It’s hard to know what to believe.
Superintendent Candace Brown has refuted claims made by members of the School Board that conditions at Potomac Elementary School are as dire as members have stated.
In an email response to questions from The Journal, Brown has denied that cold rooms are an ongoing problem and said she hadn’t heard about any electrical shorting or circuit breakers tripping.
~ COLD ROOMS OR TEMPORARY CHILL?     We asked Brown last week about the cold rooms.
She responded in a Dec. 21 email, saying, “That was an issue that happened last week.  It is not a constant situation.”
The first time that cold rooms were mentioned was at a joint meeting with Supervisors on Nov. 30 by School Board Chairman Lynn Pardee.
That condition was embellished by School Board member Renee Parker at a meeting on Dec. 9, saying, “There are kids sitting in classes that are 50 degrees.”
Brown was present at both meetings, but did not contradict either statement. Instead she sat mum and acted like an innocent bystander to proceedings.
That was at the meeting when Dennis Paulsen suggested maybe the stadium might be postponed and see if the $3 million earmarked for it by Supervisors could instead be used to fix up Potomac.
~ NOT ENOUGH OUTLETS OR BREAKERS BLOWING?    In the same email response Brown was asked about loss of electricity due to shorting out, blowing fuses or tripping breakers. She answered, “I am not sure what you are making reference to.”
We tried to enlighten Brown, emailing back, “I'm referring to a statement made and quoted from PES math lab teacher that was in the regional daily paper; the article is posted online at the paper's website.” We also quoted the article in that paper, to wit: Math lab teacher Kate Howard has learned a lot about electricity in her classroom. She knows there's not enough power to run the smartboard--a digital white board that hooks into a computer system--at the same time as kids operate their computers. "If we use them at the same time, it will short and the circuit will trip," she said."
Brown wrote back on Dec. 22, “First time I have heard about this.”
Brown added, “I do know in her room that the lights are either all on or all off and that causes problems with using the smartboard and students working at their desks at the same time.  I, also, know that due to limited outlets in the rooms, teachers have to pick and choose among the "technology items" that they are going to use.”

Brown’s evaluation, contract

The King George School Board last week held a closed meeting for the sole purpose of evaluating division Superintendent Candace Brown’s performance and discussing her contract.
The public is not privy to the actual evaluations by members of the School Board because the evaluation is a personnel matter and exempt from public disclosure.  

Read more: Brown’s evaluation, contract

School Board: Cancel stadium

Wants the $3M to go toward $9.6M Potomac Elementary project
The King George School Board came to a surprise decision this week to direct Superintendent Candace Brown to inform County Administrator Travis Quesenberry that it wants to request the Board of Supervisors to cancel construction of a planned sports stadium and instead use the $3+ million to go toward $9.6 million in upgrades at Potomac Elementary School.

Read more: School Board: Cancel stadium

Open letter to Superintendent Brown and the KG School Board

Dr. Brown and School Board Members,

By now you are aware of the articles written to document Bobby’s situation. If you haven’t read them all they can be accessed at www.journalpress.com. There have been several posted comments from the readers. The word "bullying" is coming up over and over.

In one disturbing post someone mentions a child in a HS locker room who was beaten so badly his nose was broken. The victim’s response, "Look, at this school you either learn to take the punches or you learn to run faster- no one will help you here."
Many other posts state, "The teachers are bullied as much as the parents..."

The Journal has received calls and emails from people saying Bobby could be bullied.
For your peace of mind, you can rest assured we have people at the school, students and teachers, who are watching out for Bobby. If we discover any evidence that Bobby has been bullied or is being put into situations where bullying may take place, law enforcement will be notified and the school will be held accountable. I'm sure you will do everything within your power to make sure this doesn't happen.

Read more: Open letter to Superintendent Brown and the KG School Board

Bobby's Search for Services - Part 4: Little progress made this week

Bobby’s story

Editor’s note: Linda Davis has served as coach for the King George Little League Challengers and is coordinator for King George Special Olympics. Her years of experience working with children in the special education program gives her a unique perspective on how the program is serving children with special needs. This is not a traditional news story — this is one woman’s perspective of one child’s situation, one woman’s opinion based on first-hand knowledge.
This is a continuation of the series published to document the educational progress of 14-year-old Bobby.
This week there has been very little progress. Bobby is practicing with the King George High School swim team and doing well.  His mom, Jenn, is still toiling away, trying to get Bobby what he needs. She is finalizing her complaints to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).  On the school front, Superintendent Candace Brown came to Jenn’s workplace to speak to her about the situation.  At Lisa Gidcumb’s request, there were witnesses present.

Read more: Bobby's Search for Services - Part 4: Little progress made this week

Bobby's Search for Services Part 3: Bobby's IEP

Editor’s note: Linda Davis has served as coach for the King George Little League Challengers and is coordinator for King George Special Olympics. Her years of experience working with children in the special education program gives her a unique perspective on how the program is serving children with special needs. This is not a traditional news story — this is one woman’s perspective of one child’s situation, one woman’s opinion based on first-hand knowledge.

Bobby’s IEP team finally has a plan. Not an actual IEP but a plan to get one. First, Pat Nealon, Supervisor of Special Services for KG County Schools, will no longer have any role in the process. Bobby’s mom requested he be removed from the case based on our last meeting with him.
There have been rumors flying since I started this series. It seems teachers are worried they will be blamed for the lack of education Bobby has received. I can’t help that, if they had a part in the under-education of Bobby, then they might have to answer for that. That’s not my decision. Personally, I think the rot starts at the top. I think the teachers involved were afraid to lose their jobs by suggesting Bobby needed more, so Bobby’s education was neglected. I don’t know when we became more concerned about dollars than children.
As far as the teachers or administrators, I wouldn’t worry too much, this division is hardly known for disciplining employees. Superintendent Candace Brown has been included in the process from the beginning. We will never know if she is going to hold Nealon accountable for the sad and illegal state of Bobby’s IEP, or for the egregious way he treated Jenn at the last meeting. We will never know if she asked him why he sent draft after draft disregarding the team’s changes, embarrassing the division with his obvious disregard for protocol. We know the School Board members aren’t going to involve themselves. First, they haven’t received their orders from Brown, so they probably don’t know what to do until Candace tells them what they should do. They still haven’t figured out that she works for them and not the other way around.

Read more: Bobby's Search for Services Part 3: Bobby's IEP

Brown negotiating contract to save on utilities

The King George School Board authorized Superintendent Candace Brown to negotiate terms for a contract with Energy Education Inc. to supply services for the division to save money on utility costs through employing energy conservations practices. That action took place on Nov. 15.
Brown said she would be joined in the negotiations by the members of a selection committee, of which she is a member.
The other members are King George County Procurement Manager Kelly Dixon, King George Service Authority General Manager Chris Thomas, county General Properties Manager Matt Clift and division Facilities Coordinator Don Hall.

Read more: Brown negotiating contract to save on utilities

Bobby’s search for services — part II

Editor’s note: Linda Davis has served as coach for the King George Little League Challengers and is coordinator for King George Special Olympics. Her years of experience working with children in the special education program gives her a unique perspective on how the program is serving children with special needs. This is not a traditional news story — this is one woman’s perspective of one child’s situation.
And just as each student’s experience is unique, so are the qualities of their teachers.

This is a continuation of the series written to document the IEP (Individual Education Plan) process of a student at KGHS. Part one of the story was printed in the Nov. 17 issue of the Journal.
By the time the first article was published we had already attended one meeting. Before I tell you about that, I want to tell you a little more about Bobby and his family.
By now you know Bobby is 14 and he is in the ninth grade at King George High School. He has Down syndrome. We started this process because Bobby has regressed. Bobby’s mom asked me for help, I looked at his IEP and so the journey began.

Read more: Bobby’s search for services — part II

 

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