BUCKHANNON – Union Elementary School staff, students, parents and community members packed the school’s gymnasium Tuesday evening during the Upshur County Board of Education meeting to support student achievement in math and reading and those being designated as Upshur Stars.
Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus expressed her gratitude for the Tuesday’s turnout.
“It’s my great pleasure tonight to first of all say, ‘Wow!’ to this Union Elementary School community,” Stankus said. “It’s so amazing – but never surprising – to see a room full of supporters, and this certainly is a tribute to why these students are doing so well with families who support them.”
Stankus thanked the staff and Principal Michelle Fleming for their hard work in preparing for Tuesday’s meeting.
Union Elementary School students recognized were from teacher Carrie Bowers’s classroom. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said the students being recognized were pre-K PAX Behavior Leaders.
“Exceptional Pre-K PAX Behavior Leaders are Ethan Holbert and Tori Wilsoncroft,” Harrison said.
In Tiffany Beets’s kindergarten classroom, William Pastorius received an Upshur Star for achieving a growth of 289 points and Jasper Burnside was recognized for having a growth of 266 points in early literacy.
Next, Harrison introduced two of Ronna Smallridge’s kindergarten students.
“Carter Riffle had a growth of 348 points, and Parker Wamsley had a growth of 266 points in early literacy,” she said.
Courtney Frame’s first-grade class had three students recognized for their growth, including Adalyn Perkins, who showed the most growth in reading, Raylee Choi for her advancement in early literacy and Zayden Poling for his growth in math.
Also, first-graders in Bailey Callison’s class received Upshur Stars for their superior performance. Zayne Weatherolt showed the most growth in STAR reading, Colt Lane made the most progress in early literacy and Wyatt McGee demonstrated the most growth in math.
Ashley Woody asked that three of her second-grade students be recognized. Harrison said Damon Hawkins showed the most growth in STAR reading, Richard Tuning showed the most progress in math and Trevor Small showed outstanding growth in both math and reading.
In Kayla Yocum’s second-grade class, Devon Posey received an Upshur Star for making the most progress in reading, and Vivienne Shepherd showed the most growth in math.
Arianna Vavaro had the most improvement in reading, and Benjamin Upton had the most growth in math in Destiny Brady’s third-grade class. Both were recognized and received Upshur Stars for their performance.
Third-grade teacher Gabby Rhodes recognized two of her students – Gareth Shay for the most growth in reading and Brody Wright for the most improvement in math. In Ms. Reed’s third-grade class, two students were recognized – Sawyer Phillips for the most notable growth in reading and Leeland Hinchman for the biggest improvement in math.
In fourth grade, Florence Tenney recognized two students – Olivia Blankenship for making the most progress in reading and Leland Everson as most improved in math, while Dedra Casto recognized fifth-grade students Halina Wallace for the most growth in reading and Gage Wolfe for the most growth in math.
Mrs. Ward recognized two students – Michael Shipman for the most improvement in math and Wyatt Chandler for making the most progress in reading.
The next Upshur Star recognized was Rebecca Pastorius. Harrison said recently, First Lady Cathy Justice sponsored a “Thank A Veteran” student art contest.
“First Lady Cathy Justice announced the 20 winners from around the state,” Harrison said. “Union Elementary had a winner. Rebecca Pastorius was selected as a winner in this prestigious contest.”
“Behind all of these successful students are very supportive families and very hard-working teachers. Congratulations,” Stankus said.
Union Elementary School teachers receiving Upshur Stars include Cecilia Stewart, Gabby Rhodes, Kayla Yocum, Elizabeth McClain, Joyce Phillips, Sandy Day and Sabrina Loudin.
Stewart received the Hustle Award. Harrison said she is a new addition to the staff and can be seen daily pushing herself in pace and efficiency in fulfilling her duties as a part-time custodian.
“She is her own worst critic and is never satisfied with status quo performance. We are lucky to have her on our team of soaring Eagles at Union Elementary,” Harrison said.
Rhodes received the Distinction Award.
“Her daily dedication to the education of both academia and character for our school and our students is a rare quality that can’t be taught, purchased or fabricated with even the most prestigious technology,” Harrison said. “Gabby is a rare form of distinct educator that finds teaching as a calling more so than a profession.”
Yocum was named the Model of Effectiveness. Harrison said she has earned the respect and admiration of her students, staff and all those who have had the fortune of being in her classroom when she is facilitating the learning of a complex and diverse set of learners.
“Her implementation of learning goes beyond interacting with her students on an instructional level and makes sure the physical and emotional needs of all students are met,” Harrison said.
McClain received the Awesomeness Always Award.
“Elizabeth literally reeks of awesomeness,” Harrison said. “She can’t do enough with the mere number of minutes she has to work with our students. Always with a smile on her face, she is working with students to help them grow as learners and influence how they apply what they have learned to the everyday world. She is patient, kind and consistently enthusiastic about the possibility each day holds for a positive experience for all members of our learning community.”
Phillips was named a ‘Genuine Gem.’ Harrison said she is a rare form of educator that cannot be duplicated, purchased or developed.
“She is the true shape, form and model of a diamond. She radiates when she is helping students in her library, literally volunteers countless hours devoted to helping Union Elementary School students grow in their passion for reading,” Harrison said.
Day was named the Kindness Queen.
“Sandy truly nurtures every member of our learning community from the moment she steps on campus until she leaves,” Harrison said. “Her compassion and concern for every student, every staff member, every moment of the school day is recognizable on a daily basis. She loves all of us in spite of our weaknesses and helps us through the moments when we fall short of our goals.”
Loudin was named the Believe it Possible recipient.
“Sabrina sees the potential in every member of our learning community,” Harrison said. “She dwells only on the positive, best outcome, tools for improvement when given a tough scenario with limited resources. She tunes out the problematic and focuses on the most likely to be successful strategy to enhance a ‘win-win’ outcome. Her focus on forward mindset is unwavering and relentless.”
Community member Daya Masada Wright received an Upshur Star for her dedication to helping students through her Period Positivity Project, beginning in the spring of 2019.
“She purchases and collects feminine hygiene products to be distributed in the restrooms in B-UMS and B-UHS,” Harrison said. “We want to thank her for everything she does for our community and our school system.”
Check back on My Buckhannon to learn about the business portion of the Upshur County BOE meeting including an update on school data and how students scored on testing.