2017-06-21 / School News

Morgan County Schools briefs

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board approved a number of actions involving the pre-kindergarten program, policies and staff development handbooks at their June 6 school board meeting.

Pre-K agreements

The school board approved the pre-kindergarten collaborative contract with Head Start/RESA 8 for the 2017- 2018 school year at the meeting. Elementary Education Director Kandy Kulus said that the contract provided six pre-K classrooms for fouryear olds. The pre-K program also includes three-year-olds with special needs and individual education programs (IEP).

The pre-K program will be five days a week again at the same sites as last year-the RESA/Head Start centers in Berkeley Springs and Great Cacapon, Widmyer Elementary and the Little Learners Village/Head Start sites on Fairfax Street and Oakland Road. The total cost of the contract is $294,070 and will be paid for with county funds budgeted for pre-K contractual fees.

The collaborative management agreement with Little Learners Village for the Widmyer Elementary afterschool child care program and the agreement with Little Learners to provide meals for pre- K students for Fiscal Year 2018 were also approved at the meeting.

They had the largest number of Birth to Three program children with special needs ever and there will be a lot of challenges ahead to support those kids and families, Kulus noted.

Substitute policy

The board approved revising its policy regarding substitutes in areas of critical need and shortage to reflect changes in the 2017-2018 school year. The revised policy provides for the employment of retired teachers as substitute teachers on an expanded basis in areas of need and shortage.

County areas of critical need and shortage are now considered to be special education learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, mental impairment and autism, reading specialist, reading education, world languages, English/language arts, science (biology, chemistry, general and earth and space), math, social studies, art, music, physical education/ health, English as a second language, family and consumer sciences, career and technical education, theater, dance, early education, elementary education and school library media.

Testing out policy

The board also did a first reading of a new policy that established procedures for testing out of a class. Students would have to make their application to test out by April 30 of the school year prior to when the class is required, said Secondary Education Director Russell Penner. Students apply through their school counselor.

Pass/fail will be the only option in testing out, no points will be issued toward the grade point average and the credit won’t be added when calculating grade point average, Penner said. The policy required meeting two qualifying criteria and students providing a clear explanation or rationale in writing of how testing out of the class benefits their Personal Education Plan (PEP) and their plans for postsecondary education.

Qualifying criteria were having an unweighted, cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in the area in the content area in which the student wants to test out, demonstration of mastery on the most recent subject area achievement test, teacher recommendation or an earned grade of “A” in the previous sequential class.

Classes that could be tested out of are English 9, 10, 11 and 12, Algebra I and II, geometry, U.S. History to 1900, World Studies to 1900, 20th and 21st Century History, Spanish 1, 2, 3 and 4 and Civics/Government.

The full proposed testing out policy can be found on the Morgan County Schools website. The school board will do a second reading and vote on the policy at a later meeting.

Staff handbooks

The school board approved its 2017-2018 professional personnel and service personnel staff development handbooks at the meeting. Since the 2017-2018 school calendar hasn’t been finalized yet due to state Legislature action, both handbooks will later be amended to include staff development schedule information.

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