by Kate Evans
The Morgan County School Board adopted the 2023-2024 Morgan County Schools calendar at its April 4 meeting after a second public hearing. School Treasurer Ann Bell said there were no new public comments on the calendar. Their calendar survey had 477 responses and 60 comments.
The school calendar includes a full Thanksgiving break from Monday, November 20 through Friday, November 24 and a full Christmas break that begins with a two-hour early dismissal on Thursday, December 21 and runs through January 2. Students return to school on January 3.
The first day of school for staff will be Monday, August 14 and the first day for students will be Tuesday, August 22. Staff have six days for professional development and school opening preparation before students return.
Spring break will be Monday, April 1 through Friday, April 5, which is the week after Easter. Six outside school environment (OS) days-November 24, December 22, February 19, March 29 (Good Friday), May 31 and June 1-can be designated as snow make-up days. The last day of school for the 2023-2024 school year will be Friday, May 29.
The regular Berkeley Springs High School graduation will be held on May 23, 2024.
Paw Paw High School’s graduation will be on Friday, May 24, 2024.
Attendance and Maintenance Director Jeromy Duelley reported on the third 9-week period of Morgan County Schools attendance, which has improved overall. Average attendance in every county school was above 90%.
Morgan County Schools average attendance was 91.38%, Berkeley Springs High School-90.38%, Paw Paw Elementary-92.31%, Paw Paw High School-91.31%, Pleasant View Elementary-91.99%, Warm Springs Intermediate School-93.51%, Warm Springs Middle School-90.98% and Widmyer Elementary-90.98%.
During this third nine-weeks Morgan County Schools made 60 three-day attendance contacts, sent 223 five-day letters, had 18 multi-disciplinary team meetings and did four home visits, he noted.
Chronic absenteeism to date ranged from 14.80% at the intermediate school, 16.87% at Paw Paw Elementary and 18.70% at Pleasant View Elementary to 24.66% at Paw Paw High School, 25.88% at Berkeley Springs High School, 26.24% at the middle school and 27.99% at Widmyer Elementary. Morgan County Schools chronic absenteeism was 22.56%, Duelley said.
Duelley said they want to get chronic absenteeism under 20%. He said that the schools have been doing an awesome job raising student and staff attendance. Duelley said we can have all the tools and resources but if kids aren’t going to school they can’t access them.
The school board voted unanimously to reappoint Ann Bell as School Treasurer and Chief School Business Official for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 at their meeting. Board member John Rowland said he really appreciated Bell’s work. Board member Justin Litten said he liked that they do surveys and get public input.
The board also did a first reading of Policies 3124.01 Probationary Contract-Professional, 3124.02 Continuing Contract-Professional, 4124.01 Probationary Contract-Service and 4124.02 Continuing Contract-Service at their April 4 meeting. School board president Aaron Close said that the policies would be posted on the county school website for 30 days for public comment.
Superintendent Kristen Tuttle commended the Academic Showdown team on their sixth place finish and Matthew Leasure for making the All-Round Tournament Team. She said that state exam testing will begin next month.
Board member Laura Smith said that the new Pride Survey numbers are looking better for kids staying away from drugs and alcohol. Tuttle said she would ask Morgan County Partnership to give a presentation on the Pride Survey soon.