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Programs in spotlight at Mecklenburg County School Board meeting

SoVaNow.com / December 18, 2013
Several programs, students and faculty were recognized at the start of the December meeting of Mecklenburg County School Board.

Jeremy Satterfield, General Manager with Mid Atlantic Broadband (MBC), made a $6,000 donation to the Bluestone High School Robotics team. Accepting the check were Bluestone High School student Davon Moody, Robotics team mentor Beline Chug and advisors Betsy West and Tracey Ellis.

Heather Tuck was one of four teachers in the state to receive the first annual Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Impact Award, for having the greatest impact on education in the state. She was chosen for this award because of her outstanding contributions to the learning and growth of others- students, colleagues, and community members, said Assistant Superintendent Melody Hackney. Hackney commended Tuck for playing a vital role in the implementation of PBL and for her compassion.

The other teachers and administrators receiving the award were Leslie Bowyer, Art Teacher at Liberty High School in Bedford County Schools, Amanda Gibson, Assistant Principal at West Salem Elementary School in Salem City Schools, and Serbrenia Sims, Assistant Superintendent, Surry County Schools.

Bluestone Middle School teachers Mark Eckler and Todd Muller were recognized for all they do for the students and school. These two teachers “are always willing to fix it, build it and paint it when needed, no matter what it is,” said Hackney when recognizing the teachers.

Eckler teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade technology classes, where his students study rocketry, race cars, the different forms of energy and their conversion process. To support these studies, he teaches the basics of three dimensional drawing.

Muller is the art teacher at Bluestone Middle School and works with the school’s Art Gate Program.

Finally students, Tristan Williamson of Clarksville and Casey Danielle Quinn of Bracey, were named December Seniors of the Month for the respective schools – Williamson for Bluestone High School and Quinn for Park View High School.

The two were honored because of the example they set for students at their schools.

Williamson, who holds a GPA of 4.2, is a member of the BETA Club, Ecology Club, and the soccer team, and strives to be the best at all he does. The faculty at Bluestone High School call Williamson as a gentleman because he is courteous, kind, and polite. After graduation, Williamson plans to attend James Madison University, where he will major in International Relations: Strategic Intelligence.

Quinn, who is ranked third in her class, serves as secretary of the BETA Club, and is a member of FBLA, DECA, and the Spanish club. She also has a strong work ethic, developed by working in her parents’ business since she was 14 years old. Faculty at Park View High School claim that what sets Quinn apart from her peers is that she recognizes the importance of giving back to her community. Quinn volunteers at Pine View Retirement Home, the Bread Box, and the Children’s Miracle Network. Upon graduation Quinn plans to major in chemistry and fulfill the pre-medicine requirements. She hopes to become an optometrist in the future.

In other business members of the Bluestone High School One Love One Life anti-bullying club, Diamon Barksdale, Mikelia Wynn, Ariel Tucker, Davon Moody, shared their experiences as victims of bullying and the reasons bullying needs to stop both in and out of schools.

Bluestone Middle School band students, Madison Yancey, Gabriel Giammatteo, Hannah Mull, Lydia Williamson, Courtney Caknipe, Brittany Overby and Katrina Ferrell presented a PBL project which called for them to reconstruct their band instrument using pipes, funnels and other materials, and to report on a significant musician known for their accomplishments on the instrument.

Tracey Rogers named the parents and teachers willing to serve on the Gifted Advisory Committee for 2103/2014 they include teachers Dominique Sturdifen, from Chase City Elementary, Wendy Scarsellone from Clarksville Elementary, Valerie Moody from La Crosse Elementary, Nancy Piercy from South Hill Elementary, Debbie Davis from PVMS, Gina Thomasson from BMS, Emily Wise from PVHS and Ellen Burnette from BHS, parents Anne Newcomb, Anne Grey Newcomb, Jill Springer, Km Richey, Apri Wright, Sharond Hardy, Kendall Bagwell, and Kristi Mills, School Board members Joan Wagstaff and Sandra Tanner and James Massingill representing the community, and Penny Gilmer on behalf of the Administration.

Davon Moody and Cameron Hawkins, the student liaisons to the School Board, shared the lessons they learned while attending the annual Virginia State School Board convention, and the student liaison workshop. Both called the discussions they had on the state of education and whether liaison’s should be voting members of their School Board, “eye opening.” They left with a renewed mission that included getting better connected with the student body by meeting with the students in the elementary and middle schools at their respective ends of the County.

The Board approved two vendors involved with the upcoming lease/purchase of ten new buses for Mecklenburg County Public Schools. The leasing agent will be Carter Bank and the buses will come from Blue Bird Corporation, one of the leading manufacturers of school buses in the United States.

These buses, which are all air conditioned, will replace ten of the older school buses in the fleet, said Thornton. Their purchase was initially approved during budget discussions earlier this year.

COE Management Group, INC. is the newly approved vendor for the random drug testing for students in Mecklenburg County. Thornton recommended COE because, “not only helps us prepare our policy & procedures, they come on campus for training & certification of the [Mecklenburg County schools] athletic directors, nurses, and administrators who will be administering the tests.”

COE charges $12.25 for each test, which includes a certification. Any positive results that need to be retested will cost the school system $23.00 per test. In all, Thornton expects to pay about $1,150 per year for the tests. He said that “10% field of students participating in school sponsored interscholastic extra-curricular activities and permission to drive to school and park on campus in Mecklenburg County Schools” will be tested at random during the school year.

COE will be responsible for picking the students. Students on the list will be identified only by their student ID number.

Richmond Alarm Company will install the new security access controls at each of the school buildings. While the cost of installing the system is about $144,400, Thornton said Mecklenburg County is only paying $47,600. The balance will come from a $97,000 grant from the state.

Thornton said, “The need for door access control in our division has been in discussion since mid-2012. Governor McDonnell also agreed the need for our schools to be locked and to create a safe environment for our students is top priority.”

Under the terms of the grant, the equipment must be purchased by March 3.

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