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King George County Public School division hosts Welcome Back program

Photo by Phyllis Cook

Elected representatives including King George School Board Chairman T.C. Collins, Virginia General Delegate Margaret Ransone and King George Supervisor Jim Howard were among the VIP guests providing welcoming remarks to instructional staff and administrators at the King George County Public School division's Welcome Back program on Aug. 8. The program preceded a full week of training and preparation by teachers and staff for students to return on Aug. 15 for the first day of school.

Innovation Grants available from KG Education Foundation

Competitive grants of up to $500 are available to any King George County Schools division employees for efforts to enhance the quality of education schools through innovation and creativity.

King George Education Foundation's 2016­2017 Innovation Grant cycle is now open for grant applications. Grant applications must be received by 4 p.m. Sept. 30.

Prospective applicants should go online to the Foundation’s website for the application, submission details and terms and conditions: http://www.kgeducation.org. Parents, community members and students may submit grant project proposals in collaboration with a division employee. Applicants may request funding up to $500 per proposal, though smaller proposals are encouraged.

This is the third year the King George Education Foundation is seeking proposals with promising ideas for achieving the district’s curricular goals, enhancing students’ personal development, and/or encouraging links with the community.

Proposals not selected to receive grant funding will be posted to the foundation's website for an opportunity to be directly funded by a community member, business or organization.

This year, funding is set aside to award a minimum of four grants, thanks in large part to support received from division employees electing to make a voluntary payroll deduction each month.

Winning grant proposals will be announced at the Nov. 7, 2016, school board meeting, with funds distributed to grant recipients by Nov. 22, 2016.

Questions about the Innovation Grant application process and/or selection criteria may be addressed to Annie Cupka, President of the Board of Directors of the King George Education Foundation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Three foundation Innovation Grant recipients were recognized last May for their selected projects earlier in the school year. Grant recipients were: •Division reading specialist Laura Jo Darcy for project, “Listening to Learn.” •King George High School physical education & health teachers Amy Carey and Thad Reviello, for project, "Physical Fitness Assessment." •Division coordinator of gifted services Amanda Higgins for “STEM Day: A Partnership between King George Elementary School &Commonwealth Governor School.”

Phyllis Cook

Strauss honored as state Teacher of the Year for marketing educators

The King George County School Board honored King George High School teacher Dee Strauss on Aug. 8 for her award as Virginia Association of Marketing Educators Teacher of the Year, received during the association’s summer conference in Virginia Beach in the end of July.

The Virginia Association of Marketing Educators is a nonprofit professional organization supporting the efforts of Virginia marketing educators.

“This is a great honor for me,” Strauss said. “Virginia has many great marketing teachers in every school district, men and women who take on a mission to prepare our students to present themselves well to the world and have fun learning and doing through in­class and out­of­class experiences.”

Nominees must hold a Virginia teaching license, with at least five years of experience teaching marketing.

Following nomination in the fall of the year, nominees undergo a rigorous process for award selection including submission of a lengthy application, resume, and letters of recommendation to narrow the field to three finalists announced in late winter.

A three-­judge panel visits finalists in their school community in spring, interviewing school administration and community leaders prior to final selection.

Phyllis Cook

Potomac Elementary School volunteer Annie Cupka recognized as Virginia PTA Volunteer of the Year

The King George County School Board honored Potomac Elementary parent and substitute teacher Annie Cupka on Aug. 8 as the recipient of the state elementary school PTA Volunteer of the Year Award.

Cupka had received the honor during a Virginia PTA ceremony in Richmond on July 15.

“I was hoping to avoid all the ‘fuss’ about it, but after Monday I guess the cat's out of the bag,” Cupka said.

Cupka was recognized for her numerous volunteer contributions, including establishing and maintaining the school’s Courtyard Learning Garden, and summer­long Garden Upkeep Program, in addition to gaining student participation for an April 29 Arbor Day tree planting at Shiloh Park along with adults from the Dahlgren Lions Club, Virginia Cooperative Extension, King George Master Gardeners, Department of Forestry and Parks & Recreation.

She was also recognized for teaching children healthy habits through fitness and food by promoting a one­mile Fun Run for the PTA.

Service to others seems to be part of who Cupka is. She has also been a long­time volunteer with her church, spending three days a week during summers as a Lunch Bunch volunteer/organizer and is the current president of the King George Education Foundation.

Phyllis Cook

King George planners propose to add ‘solar farm’ in Industrial zoning district uses

The King George County Planning Commission is recommending the Board of Supervisors amend the county’s zoning ordinance to allow solar farms in areas zoned Industrial.

During its Aug. 9 meeting, the commission reviewed a draft amendment in a staff report suggesting it consider allowing solar farms by right on property zoned Industrial.

The county needs a proposed amendment to its zoning ordinance to pave the way for Coronal Development Services LLC, to build a solar electric power generation facility at the King George Industrial Park under terms of its planned lease with the King George County Economic Development Authority approved in May.

The solar development company is currently within a two­year study period before it must make a final decision to exercise its option to begin construction of a solar farm.

If the company proceeds, it will erect solar panels and related equipment on roughly 119 acres for 25 to 35 years, which would provide revenues to King George between $1 million and $1.5 million over the planned time frame.

The lease includes several lots containing 49 acres within the King George Industrial Park, and another 69­acre lot on which the county has an option for purchase.

King George senior environmental planner Heather Hall provided the staff report containing numerous conditions for solar farm construction, including standards for setbacks, height limitations, warning signage and fencing, among others.

It would also require the business to remove all abandoned systems within 12 months of cessation of operations.

Hall answered questions posed by commissioners, including whether the proposal would affect homeowners with solar.

“This is strictly for commercial use,” Hall said. “Having solar panels on your home has nothing to do with this. Those would be an accessory use to your home.”

Commissioner Bill Robie urged the group to provide a further recommendation to supervisors.

“I suggest what we go about it incrementally and recommend allowing it just for the industrial park, but say in the report we would be willing to expand it to other zoning districts,” Robey said.

Commissioner Steve Wido didn’t think it was necessary.

“There’s only one place where this is relevant, with what we are trying to do tonight,” Wido said. 

Karla Frank agreed.

“I recommend we only deal with it [in] Industrial for now and deal with it later if it comes up,” Frank said.

Hall concurred, saying their action was to agree on a report to the board on the issue.

“This is not anything final. This is just a starting point,” Hall said. “The quick goal is to make it by right just for industrial zoning.

Following a report to the Board of Supervisors, the next step is for a final amendment to be sent back to the Planning Commission for a public hearing, followed by a second public hearing on a proposal prior to any adoption for the zoning ordinance.

Phyllis Cook

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