School calendar approved, new textbooks adopted
Next year's Morgan County Schools calendar was unanimously approved by the school board at their April 15 meeting.
The calendar includes 180 instructional days for local students. Classes will begin Tuesday, August 26. Students' last day will be June 1, 2009.
School treasurer Nancy White highlighted two changes in next year's calendar when she presented the schedule for the board's approval.
In a departure from tradition, students won't have a full week off for Thanksgiving break, White said. Instead, they have school on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. That Monday is the first day of deer hunting season, which has sometimes meant low attendance by older students.
White said the new Thanksgiving schedule was put in place to avoid having students in school on Christmas Eve or January 2.
Another change will be the timing of Spring Break. Morgan County's spring holiday will coincide with Berkeley County's next year. That change will mean local students attending James Rumsey Technical Institute won't miss school days there.
A committee of school employees develops the calendar each year. Members include Dixie Deering, Anne Helmick, Adam Keeling, Brenda Nichols, Susan Thomas, Staci Smith, Jenny Carson, Kristin Tuttle, Jeff Palmer, John Gue, Darlene McClintock, Joyce Ott, Dan Reynolds, Joan Willard, Elaine Mitchell, Ann Bell, Becky Davisson, Roger Steiner, Linda Crawford and Edwina Harrington.
School officials acted on a recommendation from their textbook committee, adopting English/Language Arts, Music and Visual Arts textbooks for local schools. Those English texts will be in use until 2014, and arts textbooks will be in place until 2015, according to a state code that sets textbook rotations.
Elementary students will use a Houghton Mifflin language arts text, and a handwriting book from Zaner Bloser.
Middle school students will work from a Language Arts book published by Holt, Reinhart and Winston. Their spelling textbook is from Zaner Bloser.
High school students will use English textbooks from Holt, Reinhart and Winston. They'll also work from a supplemental series called Perfection Learning.
Art students in kindergarten through eighth grade will use a textbook from the Davis Company.
High school students will work from an Art 1 book from Glencoe, and a Sculpture text from Davis.
Music students in all grades will have a MacMillan/McGraw-Hill textbook.
In other business, the school board approved a New York City trip for the Berkeley Springs High School senior class on April 23. Fifty students and five adults will take the trip, which includes stops at Battery Park, China Town and Times Square.
High school video
Officials from Berkeley Springs High School made their annual Local School Improvement Council presentation to the school board, marking the last of the series of reports from eight county schools.
Students from the school's News Team aired a half-hour video they had filmed and produced about their fellow students, school staff and the overall school environment.
Student presenters Anthony Bellissimo and Clayton MacLeod led the student team in their innovative video reporting and commentary. The News Team received a round of applause from board members and the audience.
Teachers Kristin Tuttle and Pete Gordon followed up with brief reports about new course offerings that will focus on business technology, college preparation and student-driven learning next year.
Counselor Candace Blanchard reported that next year's career and college preparation for students will attempt to go paperless by loading student forms onto jump drives (digital memory devices) for seniors.
A report about the high school's Prevention Resource Officer, Deputy Kevin Barney, was postponed until a later board meeting.