Two Upshur County Elementary School students were recognized during the April 11 Upshur County Board of Education meeting for taking first place at the Regional Science Fair and they will advance to the State Science Fair. Winners are Gianna Monteleone from Union Elementary School and Krista Collins from Rock Cave Elementary School. They are joined by Upshur County Science Fair Coordinator Gabrielle Rhodes, Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison and Assistant Superintendent Melinda Stewart. / Photos by Beth Christian Broschart

Upshur County Schools adopts a new set of Core Values

TENNERTON – The Upshur County Board of Education has approved a set of Core Values for Upshur County Schools.

At its April 11 meeting, Interim Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Debra Harrison shared a set of Core Values, which the Upshur County Board of Education approved during the meeting. Harrison said they had been working on the process for several months.

“We started with 100 core values and determined it was very important that the school system has a set of Core Values,” Harrison shared. “These are around which all of our processes revolve, and [the goal is] for them to be deeply embedded into all that we do in our educational system.”

Harrison said they sent all of the information out to every school, to every director and every entity, including board members, to provide input into what they believed were the most important values.

“As we went through those processes, we aggregated the information and came down to four Core Values,” Harrison said. “These were the most selected by all of our education committee and came down to accountability, teamwork, honesty and respect.”

Harrison provided the BOE members with the list and a definition of each Core Value along with key descriptives they would use in all facets of what is being done in education in Upshur County.

“These are not my core values; these are not the core values of the directors — these were generated by every individual who is a part of our school system,” Harrison said.

BOE member Roy Wager asked how these Core Values would be transmitted.

“One of the things we will be doing, once approved, is to share with personnel,” Harrison said. “These Core Values need to be firmly in every facet of what we do, and one of the things we need to do is teach our community what each of these means and how we must reflect them or incorporate them. They will be identified in literature we distribute.”

“These are our guiding values – this is what our school system is all about, and we all have to speak that language and model what these Core Values are,” Harrison added.

BOE Vice President Jan Craig made a motion to adopt the Core Values. The motion received a second from BOE member Sherry Dean and BOE members voted to accept these Core Values.

Also, during the meeting, board members were introduced to students who were recognized for their recent accomplishments.

Washington District Elementary School Principal Gabrielle Rhodes, who served as the Upshur County Science Fair coordinator, introduced students who excelled during the Science Fair.

“This year, all of our elementary students who attended the regional science fair actually placed,” Rhodes said. “That is wonderful because we competed against seven counties, and for those students to come away with a first, second or third place is excellent.”

Rhodes said Upshur County Schools had two students who won first place at the regional and advanced to the West Virginia State Science Fair, marking the first time any elementary students from Upshur County competed at the state level. The students were Gianna Monteleone from Union Elementary School and Krista Collins from Rock Cave Elementary School.

Next, Jodie Akers, Transportation Director for Upshur County Schools, introduced some special guests. Akers welcomed the West Virginia State Transportation Department Poster Contest winners and Buster the Bus.

“We had the ‘22-‘23 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest, and the theme was ‘Safely Rolling to My Destination,’” Akers said. “We submitted hundreds of posters to the state level and were excited to find out we have a first-place winner, who will go on to the nationals and a second-place winner at the state.”

Winners in the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest are recognized and were among more than 100 submitted from Upshur County. First place winner Kingsley Hornbeck is from Washington District Elementary School and second place winner Jacob Mackey is from Buckhannon Academy Elementary School. Offering congratulations is Buster the Bus, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Schools Melinda Stewart, WDES Principal Gabrielle Rhodes, Upshur County Schools Transportation Supervisor Stephanie Bennett, BAES Principal Susanne Britton, BAES Vice Principal Kirsten Coit-Fetty, Upshur County Schools Transportation Director Jodie Akers and Interim Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Debra Harrison. 

Akers said the first-place winner in Division 1, which is kindergarten through second grade, is Kinsley Hornbeck from Washington District Elementary School. Kinsley won $75 from the State Department. The second-place winner from Division 2, which is third through fifth grade, is Jacob Mackey from Buckhannon Academy Elementary School. Jacob received $50 from the State Department.

Next to be honored were the winners in the local poster contest to encourage and promote good school attendance in Upshur County. Don Nestor with the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County presented the winners with checks. Akers said the contest aimed to promote attendance to address chronic absenteeism in the county.

The Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County awarded checks to student winners in a poster contest for attendance. The posters will be used to promote better attendance in Upshur County Schools and in advertisements. Winners include Jayla Wayta, 5th grade, French Creek Elementary, who took second place; Elimor Nuttall, 6th grade, Buckhannon Upshur Middle School, who won first place; Aaliyah Lothes, 5th grade, Tennerton Elementary School, who took first place; Laurel Conway, 7th grade, Buckhannon Upshur Middle School who took first place overall; and Gabrielle Moreland, 5th grade, Washington District Elementary School who took third place.

“One of the things we worked on in the committee was to develop a poster contest,” Akers said. “We wanted to do some promotions in the community to promote good attendance. The Foundation helped us judge the poster contest. We had more than 100 posters submitted by students in kindergarten through eighth grade. We are hoping to use the posters in our billboard advertising and at the movie theater.”

Winners in the attendance poster contest include Jala Wayts, fifth grade from French Creek Elementary School, second place; Gabriella Moreland, fifth grade from Washington District Elementary School, third place; Elimor Nuttall, sixth grade from Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, first place; Aaliyah Lothes, fifth grade from Tennerton Elementary School, first place; and overall winner of first place, Laurel Conway, seventh grade at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

Nestor said the posters displayed a tremendous amount of talent.

“Some real thought went into these posters, and when judging them, it was difficult to narrow down the winners,” Nestor said. “We appreciate all the support these young minds get from their parents and teachers. They are an example of success.”

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