Board OKs emergency response plan, part-time teacher rate

FRONT ROYAL – The 2016-2017 crisis management and emergency response plan, and a part-time teacher rate were approved at the Warren County School Board meeting on Wednesday evening.

Michael Hirsch, director of special services, said the plan outlines how staff should respond to various emergencies, which may include fires, bomb threats, lockdowns, death, suicide and medical emergencies.

“A crisis can impact any one of our buildings at any time and impact the entire school division,” he said. “The most important consideration in dealing with a crisis is the health, safety and welfare of our students and staff.”

The plan provides staff with guidelines and a preplan for various emergencies and responsibilities for staff, as well as a roster of staff certified in CPR, first aid, asthma and diabetes.

A school-based plan is also included for each school that includes staff phone numbers, school blueprints and evacuation procedures.

A document for parents is also available online on the school division’s website.

A part-time teacher rate that varies according to experience for vacant teaching positions was also approved at Wednesday’s meeting.

George Smith, director of personnel, said this would allow a part-time teacher to work no more than 28 hours per week and no more than two blocks per semester in a vacant teaching position until a more qualified, full-time teacher can be found for the position.

He said that creative recruitment is required to fill open positions. The part-time teacher positions would be paid based on years of teaching experiences and will be used to temporarily fill hard-to-fill vacant positions that require a certified instructor.

The temporarily filled position would still remain vacant as the school looks to recruit a permanent teacher, he added.

He said Warren County High School is looking to fill a vacant math position. A part-time teacher can be used to teach this class until a full-time teacher can be found.

In previous years, he said the board approved a part-time teacher rate of $25 per hour that provided a standard for situations such as summer school, remediation and homebound teaching.

An instruction report was given by Alan Fox, director of secondary instruction, and Lisa Rudacille, director of elementary instruction.

Rudacille said that they received a preliminary report from the state on accreditation ratings for each school.

“The good news is that all eight of our schools are accredited – six being fully accredited and two being partially accredited by the state,” she said. “Overall we saw good increases in our school’s scores in most areas.”

Fox added that the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses has increased, as well as their scores. The number of students taking career and technical education courses has also increased.

He added that 355 10th grade students, or 79 percent, took the PSAT in Warren County Public Schools. He said the schools recently asked 10th grade students to take this test.

“The idea behind that was to let students that wouldn’t normally think that college was an option for them, to let them have the evidence that college is an option, or certainly some kind of continued education is an option,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Greg Drescher said Warren County Public Schools received a $25,000 grant for participation in the Positive Behavior Intervention Support and Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports.

“Those funds are used to support schools as they set up positive behavior for their students,” he said.

He added that Warren County Public Schools was also awarded the Trailblazer Award from the Virginia Department of Education.

Melody Sheppard, assistant superintendent for administration, also gave the board an update on building projects taking place within the school division.

She said the new middle school project is over 40 percent complete and the new parking lot project at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School will begin work soon and will add 74 parking spaces. This project also includes adding a sidewalk along Criser Road, resurfacing the existing lot and site lighting. She added that Ressie Jeffries also now has air conditioning in its gymnasium.

Also at the meeting, the School Board:
• Awarded contracts for fuel purchases.
• Approved a second bus driver for preschool.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com