BUCKHANNON – The academic calendar for Upshur County Schools for the 2020-2021 school year has officially been set.
During Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, board members voted unanimously to approve the proposed 2020-2021 school calendar. BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples said there were no comments from the public about the proposed calendar and Derico confirmed that he had not received any written comments.
The 2020-2021 calendar has all students beginning school Aug. 19, 2020 with the exception of pre-K, kindergarten, sixth- and ninth-grade students, who will get a jumpstart by beginning school Aug. 18.
School for all students will wrap up May 28, 2021.
The resignation of Hannah Lively created a position on the Upshur County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. BOE members voted unanimously to appoint Brett Robinson to fill that spot for the remainder of the term.
BOE Members voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendations for personnel items. One of the items was the resignation of business manager George P. Carver as treasurer for Upshur County Schools, effective June 30, 2020, due to retirement.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, board members were updated about roof issues in the schools and voted to approve an advisory board member for the Upshur County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
Upshur County Schools Facilities Director Tim Derico told those gathered at the meeting, which took place at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, that the weather has not been conducive to roofing projects.
“The two roofs are at somewhat of a standstill,” Derico said, adding the companies are taking advantage of every possible day they can. “They are taking precautions for our benefit.”
Derico said an issue came up at Hodgesville Elementary School with the roof.
“But the crew was as responsive as they have been at the high school. Other than that, we have nothing major,” Derico reported.
During the acknowledgements, announcements and ‘Upshur Highlights’ portion of Tuesday’s BOE meeting, board president Dr. Tammy Samples and assistant superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison recognized those teachers, school personnel, volunteers, students and community members who help make Upshur County Schools great by honoring them as Upshur Stars.
Harrison said Marisa Meadows is a tremendous asset to B-UMS, as she has been instrumental in the success of the school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Program.
“She is the current chair of this committee and has actively devised programs and activities that reduce behavior issues at B-UMS,” Harrison said of Meadows. “Students are recognized quarterly for attendance, academics and good behavior. None of this would be possible without Meadows.”
Harrison said Meadows is also responsible for the creation of the school store, the SAILMART, and has worked hard to make it a success.
“Meadows was also proactive in starting the school’s Facebook page and serves as one of three individuals responsible for its upkeep,” Harrison said. “She is the chair of the special education department, has served on countless committees, has been a Faculty Senate Officer and has planned many field trips for students. She spends time working with kids in the Project Isaac program and is an amazing teacher. She is one of the most caring, empathetic and compassionate teachers you will ever meet, and our students and school are better because of her.”
The next Upshur Star recognized was Carol Shenuski, who has spent 47 years working in Upshur County Schools. Harrison said that alone was enough to qualify her to receive an Upshur Star.
“Her entire career has been spent molding the lives of students at one of the most impressionable time periods of their lives,” Harrison said. “She has served as a team leader, math department chair, Faculty Senate Officer and has served on the interview team, planned countless academic competitions and serves as a teacher mentor.”
Harrison said Shenuski goes out of her way to be of assistance to everyone without expecting anything in return.
“When Shenuski sees a student in need, she will not stop until she does something about it,” Harrison said. “Once there was a student with limited mobility at the school; when she saw he couldn’t necessarily participate in physical activities after lunch, she went out of her way to discuss his interests. When she discovered he liked to play music on a keyboard, she purchased one with her own money to assure this student had something he liked to do.”
Clayton Tenney was the next to be recognized as an Upshur Star. Tenney, who was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, has been the B-UMS MathCounts sponsor, and Harrison said MathCounts is a fun and engaging after-school program that helps get students interested in math.
“He takes a team to the regional competition every year where they have almost always placed first or second,” Harrison said. “Tenney should be recognized for his commitment and dedication to the B-UMS MathCounts program.”
Next, Harrison recognized two Upshur County School substitute teachers, saying, “The system is blessed to have an outstanding cadre of substitute teachers – probably one of the more challenging jobs in the system.”
“To have to walk into a different classroom everyday and carry out plans that have been left so that students are continually engaged as learners is quite a feat,” Harrison said as she recognized the next Upshur Stars – Pota Poulos and Krista Sappey.
Harrison said Poulos is a “dream substitute teacher,” and follows plans to a ‘T,’ leaving detailed notes for the teachers for whom she substitutes.
“Her evaluations are always excellent and contain many positive comments,” Harrison said.
Sappey has served as a long-term substitute in the gifted program at B-UMS. Harrison said she has generated a new sense of excitement in the students.
“She has involved them in the learning process – asking them what they want to learn about and building her lessons around their interests – connecting everything to our academic standards,” Harrison said. “Parents report students are discussing at home the learning opportunities in her class and cannot wait until the next opportunity to learn with her.”
Harrison said Sappey’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching and learning is contagious, adding, “We appreciate all she does for our students.”
B-UMS students had some of their artwork displayed at Tamarack in Beckley. They were recognized as Upshur Stars. Students who presented in “The Power of Prints,” which explored the use of printmaking in art, including relief, collagraph, mono prints and lino included Allie Frye, Shaden Starkey, Aidan Phillips, Katrina Tenney, LoTena Diaz and Miranda Bennett.
Those participating in the “Pigment of Your Imagination” exhibition, which explored the use of color and color theory in art include Alayna Spotloe, Riley Ayars, Madison White, Jaime Navarette, Carrigan Perry, Miley Starkey, Brianna Dalton and Grace Ramsey.
Three B-UMS students were recognized as Upshur Stars and great students.
Josie Rosencrance was said to be a wonderful young lady who is kind, responsible and hard-working.
“Josie cares about her grades, but also understands the importance of the knowledge,” Harrison said. “She is always willing to help others and offers her assistance on club day and is a joy to have in class.”
B-UMS seventh grade-student Evan McDowell has played for the football team and is currently on the wrestling team. Harrison said Evan placed seventh at the Mason Dixon Tournament, which has more than 20 different participating schools.
“Evan is an active church member at the First United Methodist Church and takes part in church-related community service activities,” Harrison said. “Evan works hard to maintain his grades while playing sports and can be seen often helping others.”
Cassidy Roar, also known as Lainey, is a sixth-grade student at B-UMS. Harrison said Lainey is a 4.0-GPA student who is also on the girls’ basketball team.
“She is a hard worker and maintains her grades while playing sports,” Harrison said. “Lainey aspires to play girls softball in the spring. Her willingness and dedication to helping others makes her worthy to be named an Upshur Star.”
Finally, community members Uto and Rutheda Dotson were recognized at Upshur Stars. Harrison said the couple have graciously donated their money and time to give teachers needed tissues for their classrooms.
“They are active members of the Buckhannon Union Mission Church and can be seen often in area nursing homes where they visit with the elderly,” Harrison said. “They truly are the best, and we couldn’t do the things we do without such strong community members.”
The next Upshur County BOE meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25 beginning at 6 p.m. at B-UMS.