Three student artists from Clarke County were recognized by the School Board last night for success at the Virginia School Board Association’s Shenandoah Valley region art competition. Aislin Ogata achieved a second place ribbon while Mark Alexander and Abigail Rogers received honorable mention awards.
High School artist Abigail Rogers said that she had never been very good at art until she found a style that inspired her. “Soon after I started out I realized I wasn’t that good at drawing like other people were. Then I learned a technique called “micrography” where you create designs out of words related to the design. The micrography style really appealed to me.”
Clarke County art teacher Kathy Campbell described the recent art show held at the Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood showcasing the work of each artist who participated in the competition. “Each child was given an entire wall to display their work. It was really a fantastic experience” Campbell said.
The School Board also took time to recognize Clarke County’s excellent teaching staff in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week and Clarke’s three school nurses for School Nurse Appreciation Day.
Dr. Michael Murphy presented flowers to school nurses Dorothy Clark and Jane Tavener (JWMS nurse Melanie Rosin was honored in absentee.)
Murphy then recognized Mr. Andrew Kiser, President of the Clarke County Education Association, saying “There is not enough that we can do to show our appreciation for the work that our teaching staff does. They are here all of the time working nights, weekends and summers. We have the most incredible teachers here in Clarke County.”
Murphy, just back from the National School Board Association conference in Chicago, said that the NSBA predicts that 275,000 teaching professionals across the country will lose their jobs this year. “We can’t afford to let a single teacher go here in Clarke County” Murphy said.
Later in the meeting the School Board pledged support for transitioning Clarke’s K-5 “specials” instructors from non-professional instructional aides to professional teaching positions. “Specials” include library, technology, physical education, art and music.
The cost for an instructional aide is approximately $15K, however, a professional teacher in the same position will cost $26K.
While the entire School board expressed support for the transition to professional teachers, several members offered caution due to recent budget cutbacks. “I’d like to see us go with teachers in all positions but I don’t think that we can support it under the current budget” said School Board Member Emily Rhodes (Buckmarsh). School Board Chairman Robina Bouffault concurred with Rhodes; “We have to stick with what we have for money reasons”
School Board Round-Up
Multicultural Advisory Committee
Mr. Farr provided a detailed review of the Multicultural Advisory Committee’s 2010 activities. Mr. Farr stressed the value of exposure to other cultures as part of Clarke County’s curriculum. “Exposing students to other cultures helps them to adapt more easily once they get out into the real world.” Farr said. Farr’s colorful description of the meals served at the MAC meetings was particularly painful to meeting attendees who had not yet eaten dinner.
Highly Qualified Staff
The School Board endorsed Dr. Murphy’s recommendation that future Clarke County paraprofessionals meet the federal definition of “highly qualified”. To attain “highly qualified” status an employee must have completed two years of college study, or have attained an associate’s degree or pass a rigorous local academic assessment. Dr. Murphy said that the School Board’s adoption of the “highly qualified” requirement “raises the bar for instruction at Clarke County Public schools.”
Temporary Teaching Trailers Become Permanent
Five mobile homes leased five years ago as temporary classroom space while the new high school was being built will be purchased for $75K out of “Fy-10 funds to be identified by the Superintendent”. According to Budgeting Director Tom Judge the purchase avoids a $5K fee for each mobile home if the buildings were returned to the leasing company, Modular Technologies.
At 10:00 p.m. the School Board entered “closed session” to discuss personnel resignations, and attorney/staff legal brifings.
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