Instruction plans set school priorities

FRONT ROYAL – Along with final approval of the 2016-2017 budget, the Warren County School Board laid out the district’s instructional goals at its May meeting.

During their reports at the meeting, members of the School Board offered their thanks in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Many members also spoke about the outreach of the Front Royal Kiwanis Club, which is raising funds to work on seats in the E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School auditorium.

Various committees comprised of school faculty, administrators and community members have met and created plans within different areas of instruction that the board unanimously approved.

As part of the 2016-2017 Special Education Plan, board members approved continuation of a special education agreement with the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail and an application for $1,149,168 in federal funding.

Tim Grant, director of technology for the schools, read a summary of the Educational Technology Plan for approval. The plan covers district needs and priorities from 2016 to 2018, including objectives focused on personnel and equipment to further integrate technology into student learning.

This initiative was reflected in E. Wilson Morrison teacher Heather Lupton’s presentation on the Tech Club she helps lead at the school. The group has met weekly since January and has included lessons on coding using school Chromebooks. A handful of students accompanied Lupton and Tyson Kemp, a parent volunteer, to tell the School Board what they like most about the club.

Board members approved revised Virginia School Boards Association policy updates to go into the schools’ policy manual. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Melody Sheppard said that faculty members are still reviewing a policy on alternative ways to gain school credits. Another policy was revised to recommend that school fundraisers selling food that fails to meet certain nutrition criteria wouldn’t be held during the school year.

“We believe this recommendation supports our continued efforts to focus on student health,” Sheppard said.

Other actions taken by the School Board at its May meeting included:

  • Approval of extending an agreement with GCA Education Services Inc. to provide custodial services for 14 buildings through the coming school year until June 30, 2017. The cost of $1,783,943.76 is budgeted for.
  • Awarding a $40,681.05 contract renewal for the 2016-2017 year with OpenRDA as the schools’ provider of financial accounting software. The schools have worked with OpenRDA since the ’90s.
  • Renewal of insurance coverage by Virginia Association of Counties Group Self Insurance Risk Pool.
  • Selection of Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates to conduct the School Activity Funds audit for the 2016 fiscal year. The $8,700 cost of the audit is included in the schools’ operating budget.
  • Approval of health, dental and vision insurance rates for the 2016-2017 year, including a 19.7 percent contribution increase from Warren County Public Schools.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com