BUCKHANNON – Students in Upshur County Schools can start celebrating their summer break a little earlier this year.
Upshur County Board of Education members voted Tuesday to make a change in the 2018-2019 school calendar, changing May 28 and May 29 from instructional days to professional learning days – meaning the last day for students in Upshur County is Friday, May 24, which is the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend.
Another schedule change for next year’s calendar is a result of the SAT testing being administered on April 14, 2020. That means April 7, 2020 will change from a full instructional day to an early dismissal day because of Faculty Senate; April 8, 2020 will change from an early dismissal to an out of calendar day; and April 13, 2020 will change from an out of calendar day to a full instructional day.
During the meeting Tuesday, BOE members introduced the newest Upshur Stars and recognized members of the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Boys Basketball team.
BAES Orfestra Director Brandon Williams was the first Upshur Star introduced. Williams’s principal, Susanne Britton, said she and Williams spoke last year about ways to get BAES students more involved with music and instruments.
“This year, he has taken on the role of Orfestra Director,” Britton explained. “He meets with students three days a week before school starts to develop a love of music and the arts – he does this by helping them play music instruments. The kids love it, and they love coming to school.”
Williams said he teaches at BAES and Union Elementary, and at both schools there is fourth- and fifth-grade choir, the show choir at Union Elementary and the bass orfestra. He had some of his third, fourth- and fifth grade students perform two songs – one on the xylophones and one on African instruments.
Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus presented Williams with his US Award for inspiring a love of music in students.
“We are so proud of what you do for our schools,” Stankus said.
Stankus said the next US Award was going to a B-UHS Student who has taken the Upshur County name across the nation.
“Jayme Lantz takes me for four classes this year,” said instructor Sarah Wamsley. “The kids are in a simulated workplace which is a digital imaging company.”
Wamsley said Jayme works hard and goes above and beyond.
“She was recognized as the only West Virginia student to be listed in the ‘100 students America Needs to Know for Career Readiness.’”
Union Elementary instructor Megan Bacorn was also recognized as an Upshur Star.
“Mrs. Bacorn was working on a Saturday, and she called me to let me know lightning had struck at Union Elementary School,” Stankus said. “She told me there is a smell of burning during the situation. We had a full team of eight to 10 folks working to make repairs. If she had not been there and notified officials, it is hard to tell the amount of damage the school would have had.”
BOE members recognized Coach Travis Foster and members of the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Boys Basketball team.
“We appreciate you inviting us here,” Foster said. “We try to keep the kids busy, which in return keeps them in school and out of your office and on the right track. If we can keep them as busy as we can, that eliminates the work that the first responders might have to do.”
“We are working with our members and the athletic department to help the kids go and get their workouts in before school starts in the morning,” Foster added. “Their schedule after school is to complete the work from the classrooms after school, then they have to hit the weight room and then they go have individual workouts for another hour-and-a-half. They have to keep up on their studies, attendance and it’s tough to be in the gym until 10 or 10:30 p.m. and then come back and do it all over again.”
Foster said the hope is to teach the team the process of success and how to eliminate a lot of the stuff that goes on outside the school and stay on the right track so they can become successful.
“They are great kids,” Foster said. “They are becoming some of the hardest working kids in the state.”
“Thank you for representing our county and when you wear that B-UHS uniform, it not only represents not only your school, but all of the people here in our community,” Stankus said. “We are proud of you and we hold you to a higher expectation – when you put on that B-UHS uniform we expect something. Thank you for all you do.”
Also, during Tuesday’s BOE meeting, members voted unanimously to approve the following personnel recommendations:
- George Roessing III as bus operator, effective June 30, 2019 due to retirement.
- Jay Ann Thacker as substitute aide, effective March 26, 2019.
Employment, pending appropriate certification and background check
- Michael Donato as PE/health/safety department chair at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, effective March 27, 2019.
- Angela Starkey as long-term substitute special education aide at Rock Cave Elementary School for the remainder of the 2018 to 2019 school year, effective March 25, 2019.
- Approval of the following individuals as substitute secretaries, effective April 1, 2019 – Miranda Burnside and Diana Moore.
- Steven Anderson from evening custodian III at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School to custodian III at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School (change in shift), effective March 27, 2019.
- Karen Leigh from PE/health teacher at Tennerton Elementary School to PE/health teacher 9-12 at Buckhannon-Upshur High School effective for the 2019-2020 school year.
Requests for leave without pay
- Tammy Kelly as cafeteria manager at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School March 29, 2019.
The next Upshur County BOE meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.