Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Students are still having to adjust to the continued mandates from Governor Northam on sports and various school activities.
At the last monthly School Board meeting on April 13, Principals Gerri VanDyke and Melissa Whiting updated members about end-of-the-year events for Craig County Public Schools.
“With the Governor’s executive orders, we have had to modify some of our spring activities,” both VanDyke and Whiting said.
“Senior activities are very different, but we are trying to keep things as normal as possible,” Whiting said. “Starting next Monday, we will start featuring Senior Day with a different senior posted on Facebook every day.”
All 40 seniors will be given this honor.
Whiting added to the calendar:
- April 26: graduation delivery day where they get caps and gowns and announcements
- April 27: Warwick and Whiting will visit the Berglund Performing Arts Center to look at how they plan the graduation commencement, “in light of the executive order from the governor.”
- May 14: Cap and gown pictures for individuals and groups and the annual senior parade where the seniors dress in their cap and gowns and parade down the halls of McCleary. “It is just as much fun for the older ones as it is for the younger ones.”
- May 19: Mrs. Crowder will serve a senior luncheon and there will be a senior celebration
- June 10: Graduation practice at Berglund Performing Arts Center (if needed)
- June 11: Graduation set at the Berglund Center (The Craig County Fairgrounds is reserved as an alternate location in case something happens)
Whiting also added that currently there are nine seniors in jeopardy of not graduating – five are virtual and four who are traditional.
“However, the four that are traditional were initially virtual the first semester,” Whiting said. “Three will recover very easily and will have the opportunity to do credit recovery in summer school. Once they complete their requirements, they will receive their diplomas. Any student requiring more than two credit courses will be required to return next year at the virtual Virginia summer session which begins on June 15.”
VanDyke also shared:
- May 3–7: Teacher Appreciation Week “We have lots of things planned for our teachers.”
- May 3-7: Spirit Week before SOL testing – Each day before SOLs they planned a fun day. The week will start with Rock Star Day on Monday and conclude with Spirit Day on Friday when they will have their pep rally
- May 7: SOL’s start
- June 7: Pre-K promotion ceremony
- June 8: Kindergarten and fifth-grade promotion ceremony – current plans for promotion ceremony will again be a drive-through
Whiting added updates for spring athletic sports, “We did not have enough eligible students for varsity or JV baseball nor any interested or eligible students for track. Soccer and softball seemed to be the first choice.”
She explained that they were unable to double sport for spring season this year due to the lack of players.
“For example, student-athletes this year cannot do soccer and track or softball and track because the numbers in the team sports are so limited that they will not be able to have an effective practice if the whole team is not there,” Whiting said before adding, “However, one eligible athlete is interested in track and field, in discus and shotput. Her father is the assistant coach; therefore, she will be able to continue to practice and compete on their own schedule.”
- Varsity softball has 11 players. Alana Carper is the coach and Leanne Mattox is the assistant
- Varsity soccer has 14 players with Coach Robin Nobles and assistant Jeff Hickson. Both of those sports only participate in district competition
- Coach Harrison and Coach Simpkins will continue conditioning and weightlifting program throughout spring – Monday through Thursday for an hour to student-athletes who were not able to have a team for various reasons. Since they could not play their sport, we wanted to honor them and give them something they could do.
She noted that they have spoken to other pioneer district and regions and all the schools are playing with limited participation, “being in the same boat that we are.”
Soccer, softball and track are all up and running.
Warwick updated the Board on the new “Boost” program which will concentrate on students who have reading and math needs.
“We are now able to do pre-K through second-grade special education students and other grades to qualify for extended school year services and students that are in our high school regional program,” Warwick said. “We followed the model that the state gave us.”
It will be a four-week “Boost” class, from June 21-23. There will not be classes the week of July 5 as it is a holiday. Student hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and breakfast and lunch will be provided on those days.
High school students will be doing Virtual Virginia in this year’s Craig Recovery Program.
“We have structured this Boost Academy to be like a summer camp with athletic activities and science experiments as well as reading and math classes,” Warwick said.
Warwick also reported on the update of FFCRA leave which was previously approved to be extended to the end of the school year on June 11.
She added, “Another leave was put into effect on April 1. If employees have used their ten days bank time, it starts all over April 1, up to ten days. You can use this leave to get this vaccine and recover and also recover if there are side effects or when you are seeking or waiting for COVID diagnosis or test results if you have been exposed. It was extended through September 30.
Warwick shared that though it is a cost to the school division, it is necessary.
“If they are asking people to stay at home because they have been exposed or have COVID, we do not want to encourage people to be sick and come to work because they do not have leave and I have a difficult time telling people, since it is available, that they cannot use the leave,” she informed to the Board. “We just want to protect our employees.”
The Board ultimately approved the extension.
Director of Instruction Samuel Foster shared the Perkins CTE plan.
“The Board approved the CTE funding of approximately $14,000 to be used for students who attend Btech, used to replace equipment in CTE – computer and Ag classes, for family consumer science and to fund career exploration and academic planning,” he said.
Board member George Foster inquired about the property which was to be used for the Ag class.
Foster explained that they have a CTE Advisory committee that was formed several years ago to assist teachers.
“There was gravel donated and there were other goals which did not come into fruition. Currently, it is so wet there we cannot do a lot. We are looking forward to some drier times so that people can come in and do what they need to do over there,” he said. “We still have the land lab as a goal. We are going forward to help make that happen.”
Warwick added, “Our kids really respond to Ag. I would still love to see more animals and things that we had talked about over there. Mr. Flinchum is going to try to move the chicken coops closer to the school hoping that no other animals will get to them.”
Hopes are that these goals will soon come to fruition.
The next monthly School Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. All citizens are encouraged to attend, or view via live on the school’s website.