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School Board recognitions to start a new year / January 16, 2020
The Halifax County School Board began the new year with a presentation by Scottsburg Elementary School students on what they’ve been learning in school — captured in an “Escape from the ‘80s” project in which students use computer coding to break free from the decade.

It was among the numerous presentations at the Monday night School Board meeting, the first of the year. Also recognized: the student-run Comet News Center, teachers and students with the Elementary Gifted Program (EGP), and recently retired Gazette-Virginian sports editor Joe Chandler.

The Scottsburg students explained their “Escape from the ‘80s” with a video presentation that showed how the student worked in groups to decode clues from the ‘80s, represented through items such as roller skates, cassette tapes, Polaroid cameras, and VHS movies.

“It was fun working with friends,” said one student.

“The Promethean Board was cool and unique to figure out problems and was a fun way to use technology,” said another student.

A Promethean Board is a type of interactive whiteboard that allows users to project an image from a laptop or a computer, as well as interact with the touch board device, by finger or witth specialized pens.

“Thank you for the great teachers and experiences at Scottsburg Elementary,” said Roy Keith Lloyd, ED-2 trustee. Lloyd has one child attending Scottsburg Elementary and two children who graduated there.

Trustees also recognized the Elementary Gifted Program, led by Pamela Eakes with teachers Donna Elliott, Kelly Franco, Susie Milam, and Dianne Talbott. The gifted pull-out program is in place at all seven county elementary schools and includes students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.

The EGP program provides a rigorous and relevant curriculum to students as they are presented with higher-level materials and concepts.

“Students work with a variety of units that are aligned with higher-level SOL standards and real-world situations,” said Susie Milam.

“These teachers led by Mrs. Eakes are doing a wonderful job,” said Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg. The program and its annual milestone event — EGP Market Day at The Prizery — are among a select group of programs featured in the Virginia School Boards Association’s Showcases for Success directory.

Fourth grade EGP students participate in Market Day, which emphasizes students becoming entrepreneurs. Students design, market and sell their unique products, with judges and others using “Market Bucks” to make purchases.

Trustees also heard praise for the Comet News Center, a student-run venture on multiple social media platforms that provides updates on news and events at HCHS.

“The students were empowered and took the reins and ran with it,” said advisor Kelly Weatherford. These high school students initiated feature stories and were successful completing the tasks, she said.

The Comet News Center can be found on Facebook, YouTube, and the Halifax County Public School website.

Further recognition was given to Chandler for his sports journalism and outstanding support of athletic teams at Halifax County Middle and High School.

“He truly showed his passion for the Lions and Comets,” said HCHS Principal Michael Lewis, who added, “We will cherish the many memories, articles and pictures from his sports coverage.”

Chandler was given a lifetime pass to all games along with a certificate of appreciation for his hard work and effort.

“There are great coaches in our county, they are a great help,” said Chandler.

“His endless promotion of Halifax County athletes helped their devotion to sports come alive,” said Lineburg.

In other business, Halifax County Industrial Development Authority executive director Brian Brown introduced himself to the members of the School Board.

“I’m here to help industry grow and business develop in Halifax County and look forward to working with the workforce development through training programs at the high school,” said Brown.

In next month’s meeting, the School Board hopes to have a written statement from the IDA regarding the impact a new high school can have in growing local business and attracting residents to Halifax County.

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