School Board approves Capital Improvement Plan

WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County School Board approved the 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan and discussed state and division initiatives at its Thursday night meeting.

The plan is a five-year capital budget and planning document updated annually by the board.

Projects are evaluated and scored to be urgent, necessary or desirable. The proposed projects for 2017-2018 total $3,877,903, with 73 percent designated as urgent and safety projects.

Major projects include roof replacements, school bus replacements, security cameras, unit ventilator replacement, fire alarm panels, and various light replacements.

Vice Chairman Rick Koontz said the list is continuing to grow each year.

Also at the meeting, Director of Special Education Gina Stetter presented the December child count. On Dec. 1 of each year, a census is taken of all children the division is legally responsible and eligible for and receiving special education services. The unduplicated count helps determine state and federal funding the division is provided to support special education programs.

She said the total for this year is 808 students with disabilities in the school division, representing 13.41 percent of the total student population. This is up from last year’s 733 students, or 12.1 percent of the student population. About 50 percent of students have more than one disability.

“We simply aren’t the same school division we were last year,” she added and thanked the staff for the work they do every day.

“This is a mammoth job,” she said.

Following Stetter was Supervisor of Education Holly Sheffield, who presented the board with an explanation and status of 504 plans in the school division. These plans are part of a federal law that are available to any individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

As of Jan. 4, the division has 211 students, or 3.5 percent of the population, who receive a 504 plan. This is much greater from 2014 when 72 students, or 1.1 percent of the population received a 504 plan, she said.

This increase can have major implications for staffing, budgeting, student services and instructional decisions, she added.

The board also heard a report from Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Evelyn Linaburg on the Virginia Profile of a Graduate, which is the state’s plan to meet the new Every Student Succeeds Act. The act is an initiative of the Virginia Department of Education to describe the knowledge, skills, competencies and experiences that students should achieve during their education and make them ready for college and career-ready.

She said the act will require the division to make changes in policies, changes in instructional practices and fund additional resources and support for staff.

She added that the act shows “where we’re headed in education” with more emphasis on career skills and alternative assessments.

Supervisor of Personnel Linda Hodges presented the board with the 2015-2016 Pulse Report conducted last February by James Madison University’s College of Business and the University of Central Florida.

She said the report shows how staff rate job satisfaction, perceived organizational support, intention to turnover, emotional exhaustion, seen supervisor incivility, participated in incivility, goal-focused leadership, challenge stress, hindrance stress and engagement.

This is the seventh year the report has been conducted and the latest results show progress in seven of the 10 categories. The results that worsened were intention to turnover, participated in incivility and seen supervisor incivility.

Also at the meeting, Strasburg High School physics, calculus, geometry and statistics teacher Matthew Britton, along with a few of his students, demonstrated how they use robotics in class. School Board members were shown a some student-created robots that can dance and self-adjust their course.

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