School Board reviewing their six-year plan

(WG) The CCPS School Board recently met to review their six-year plan. They also shared the ‘Big Picture Goal for 2023.’ Its five major goals are to: maintain a sense of pride in the school programs and facilities by the students, faculty and community, encourage and assist all students to graduate with the skills and knowledge to obtain meaningful employment or attend a post-secondary school, maintain competitive academic programs on par with neighboring school divisions and make sure facilities are updated and appropriate for a positive learning environment.

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

Superintendent Warwick started November’s meeting with an update to the six-year plan. She explained that it is to be reviewed every odd year. A meeting had been held on September 24 to review and to revise the plan.

Each school has developed its own plans and discussed capital improvement needs.

The ‘Big Picture Goal for 2023’ was also shared.

  • A sense of pride in the school programs and facilities by the students, faculty and community.
  • All students to graduate with the skills and knowledge to obtain meaningful employment or attend a post-secondary school.
  • Maintain competitive academic programs on par with neighboring school divisions.
  • Updated facilities and appropriate funds for a positive learning environment.

Samuel Foster, the Director of Instruction and Technology, shared some of the Divisional challenges.

  • Administrative continuity – Craig has had multiple superintendents and school administrators. “What we know when we look at other schools and administrations is that stable administration is needed for schools to have excellence. We finally feel we have that stability in place,” Foster said.
  • Concern of declining enrollment, involving the number of kindergarten students and the number of seniors graduating
  • Revenue and funding – Federal, state and local funds which vary yearly.

Foster reported the new goals for six-year plan include”

  1. Ensure academic achievement– Both schools are fully accredited with a waiver through 2021. Some area state and federal reviews are;
  • overall proficiency
  • math and science (McCleary and Craig County High School rank 70 percent or higher in English and math. In science, McCleary falls between 65 and 70 percent)
  • (which is good except for McCleary and high school students with disabilities, as Craig is below 65 percent for those students who struggle in school)


  • Chronic absenteeism is 6.85 percent in McCleary and 12 percent in high school. This includes suspension/drop-out rates/graduation rates, diplomas and state accreditation – all based on percentage levels

Foster noted that optional programs are currently being looked into. The high school drop-out rate was three percent and graduation rate was at 89 percent.

Foster says that absenteeism is higher in middle school than high school due to more suspensions. Principal Geri VanDyke shared that she is “with Mr. Foster in improving the science at McCleary. We will get this fixed this year.” Elana Wolfe-Carper, who teaches special education, added a data-driven program, explaining how it targets more focused interventions per a student’s needs.

  1. Improving instructional programming includes: high-quality classroom activities, challenging course work, advanced studies diploma, applying critical thinking and problem solving skills with creativity in all areas, effective use of technology, increase dual/AP classes at high school, increase CTE course offerings, STEM and STEAM for all grade levels, Google Classroom and Google Suite, aligning curriculum to ensure collaboration and higher thinking skills, greenhouse and land lab. Warwick noted the need of fence posts in the ground. The swamp also needs draining.

Foster continued, noting that every classroom has a Chromebook cart, working on BTEC Tuition assistance, started new teacher orientation training for teachers of three years or less and role of ITRT (Instructional Technology Resource teacher) change.

He reported that with community support, 100 percent of BTEC tuition was paid this year.

Principal VanDyke shared they have hired an instructional coordinator to handle all the data, reviewing all the instructional options that students now have. The focus is on reading so that the students are on the proper reading level by the third-grade.

Principal Melissa Whiting shared that in the middle school, they are using some identical programs. The writing classes have been brought back as well as other homeroom programs in addition to a high school leadership course.

Whiting stressed that they are being attentive to the things students need to know before they walk across the stage to receive their diploma. Some of them include master skills in reading, writing and math, on time graduation, increase industry certifications, increase AP, STEM and dual enrollment.

The Craig County Digital Academy alternative education program allows students to achieve at the level of their peers with appropriate interventions and enrichment. Foster noted that the digital school is very successful for their students and getting better every month.

  1. Promote positive school climate by hiring qualified employees, promote from within, staff members are included, respected and supported, positive work environment, improve the new teacher mentoring program, professional development days within calendar for vertical team meetings and regular grade level and team meetings.

CCPS purchased TalentED to better recruit and hire (an online application program), and they have promoted several staff from within. The VDOE Survey found that 75 percent of staff feel supported in part because they created a Tuesday lunch brunch for new employees.

Principal VanDyke shared the new ‘high five’ reward system in McCleary. They are also working on tier behaviors and the crisis plan team as well as fun things like potlucks and an ugly sweater contest.

Principal Whiting shared the ‘rocket fuel’ program done through the middle school is also with rewards. Donations are needed for this reward system. She has talked about the Student Assistance program with a licensed clinical social worker who meets with students that are having specific needs, such as a tobacco infraction or family issues.

Whiting added that it is hard to learn if one is having difficulties in life issues as it can sometimes radiate to other students as well. The rehiring of Rebecca Craighead as math teacher has “created a very engaging classroom and that fulltime ISS supervision is available which has worked well with the teachers and students.”

The new CCDA arrangement for students who have been on suspension has reportedly been working positively.

  1. Enhance learning environments such as proper allocation of resources, clean school facilities, updated heating and cooling systems, capital improvement plans to reflect the needs of the division, maintain internet and wireless connectivity, active learning technology and effectively manage resources.

Both a supervisor of the custodial staff and a new daytime custodian have been hired. ABM finished all lighting and air conditioning upgrades. Two years ago, the parking lots were paved. A continual dialogue is maintained between EMS and Sheriff Craddock with Warwick and Foster, new phones and switches are in and wireless internet for the updated system and touch screen panels are in all three local schools for the upcoming academic year. There will be a continued division oversight of all funds to be used appropriately.

  1. Strengthen community relations to include effective communication, expand opportunities for parent involvement, expand partnerships, improve effectiveness of advisory committees, staff members promote high-quality classroom interactions and positive relations with students.

A new website has been designed, though in transition. Warwick supervises district social media on Facebook. An internet-based phone system has been installed in every classroom where each teacher can call or be called.

“Craig County planning and prevention team is looking at what we can do to make community relations better,” Foster said. “Also, we are asking that all staff attend the graduation ceremonies to encourage the students as they walk across the stage.”

VanDyke added, “We are so blessed as our community wants to be a part of the school,” and listed many events they support.

Whiting mentioned the high school Facebook page and the added academic awards ceremony honoring all A and B students, getting kudos from parents. She spoke of many other programs. She also said that the Craig County Fairground Association is very supportive of the schools.

Warwick concluded by saying, “The six-year plan is only successful because the students show up every day and our teachers work hard with them. We have the most amazing administrative team I have ever worked with. We click. We are passionate and I thank the board for allowing us to really try to make a difference with the students of Craig County.”

She added, “It’s so easy to get bogged down in putting out fires and the day to day responsibilities, when we sat down and started planning and looked at what we have done, it is through the leadership that we have been able to accomplish the things we have thus far. I’m very proud of our staff.”

more recommended stories