Public invited to Feb. 24 community seminar on Upshur County Schools’ facilities plan

BUCKHANNON – Here’s a heads up from the Upshur County Board of Education: Board members and school officials are seeking input from the community on Upshur County Schools’ Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan.

In fact, they’re inviting the public to a community forum that’s slated for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

Every 10 years, county boards of education must draft a new approved educational facilities plan that’s kept on file with the West Virginia Department of Education and the School Building Authority of West Virginia, according to SBA’s website. The last cycle ended in 2010.

“We are excited to hear from the community and to gather ways to improve Upshur County Schools’ student education,” Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said. “I have always quoted an ancient African proverb saying, ‘it takes a village to educate our children,’ and this community forum allows everyone’s voices to be heard.”

Monday’s forum is to gather information for the CEFP, which Stankus said plays a very important role in how education will look in the future for Upshur County Schools.

In addition, the plan helps Upshur County Schools as they seek and obtain funding.

“Our community has been very supportive during the CEFP process, and we are looking forward to sharing their ideas collected during the stakeholder meetings from community members in Upshur County,” Stankus said. “Consistently, we heard that our community wants the best for our Upshur County children. They want their students to be able to have the necessary skills to be gainfully employed and stay at home in West Virginia, if they choose to stay. We want our children to live and work here in West Virginia.”

Stankus said the stakeholders also indicated they want students to have a quality education in order to be competitive in the job market – no matter where they’re living.

“This is our goal in planning for the next 10 years in our Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan,” Stankus said.

Information gathered from a small community forum held in the beginning of the CEFP process brought to light the fact that some changes are needed in order to meet evolving student and community needs.

Most importantly, Stankus said it has become clear current structures and strategies will not prepare B-UHS graduates to fulfill job expectations in the future. For instance, students are likely to need more college dual-credit opportunities, more vocational opportunities and improved facilities that are more conducive to career and technical and STEAM learning environments.

“The CEFP process, especially the community portion, is the bridge between where we are and where we need to be to meet the ever-changing needs of education for our students in the future,” Stankus said. “We are excited to hear from the community on Monday night and invite and encourage the public to attend the community forum.”

“It will give the community an opportunity to form the important partnership with the CEFP committee and together, allow us to pave the way to providing our students with the best educational experience and prepare them for the most success in the future,” she added. “Our children are the future of this community.”

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