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Wythe County Public Schools

Spring 2014 Volume 3, Issue 2

The Summit

Inside this issue:

Teacher of the Year (cont.) 2 H.O.T. Kids


Saving Manatees


Board Matters




SOL Incentives


Quilting (cont.)


Foundation News


Upcoming School Board meetings: June 12 9:00 a.m.


June 26 TBD June 30 9:00 a.m.


July 10


9:00 a.m.

Enjoy your Summer Break! Don’t forget to strengthen your minds by reading every day and strengthen your bodies by exercising regularly. Come back to school in August refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to learn.

WCPS has Outstanding Teachers! WCPS and the WythevilleWythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce are proud to announce the 2014 Outstanding Teacher of the Year: Mrs. Susan Jones. She embodies the ideals all WCPS teachers strive for— excellence in the classroom, positive relationships with students, and a commitment to lifelong learning. With this award, Mrs. Jones will

receive a full scholarship to participate in the Chamber’s annual Leadership Development program this fall. One of her favorite things about being a teacher is designing interdisciplinary lessons that engage the students in a way that doesn’t even feel like work to them. “When they’re excited about it—that’s the joy of

Quilting a Legacy These quilts might not provide much warmth to the body, but they have surely proven themselves worthwhile in the eyes of students and a few families near FCHS. As part of a collaborative effort between Appalachian Studies, Art III and IV, the Music department, and Consumer Science, FCHS students enriched their understanding of their roots and gave back to the community. Funded by a grant from the Foundation for Excellence, Mrs. Selena Hillenberg’s Appalachian Studies students re-

searched the patterns of quilts in Appalachia. Then,

they made small prototypes and shared those ideas and

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Teacher of the Year (cont.) it,” she said. In her math class, after reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, they discovered the mechanics of a submarine, underwater life, and math equations involved in deep sea exploration. Additionally, Mrs. Jones helped implement the successful outdoor classroom at Spiller. Students get the opportunity to plant and watch things grow, all while reinforcing im-

portant science objectives. Each year it has grown to incorporate more elements that students can learn from. This year, they’ve added tadpoles and fish. Over the span of her 11 years at WCPS, she’s come to truly rely on the friendship and camaraderie she has with her fellow teachers, especially since this year has been particularly difficult for her personally. “We’re all

educators, Mrs. Jones said teaching is something she’s always felt drawn to do. “I can’t think of doing anything else.”

here for the same purpose,” she said. “They’ve been so supportive.” Coming from a family of

Congratulations to all of our outstanding teachers! FCHS: Frank Pugh

FCMS: Carter Edmonson

GWHS: Joey Russell

JMES: Brandy Waddell

MMES: Katheryn O’Dell

SMMS: Ryan Walker

RRES: Melissa Musser

RRMS: Doddie Greer

Sheffey: Brigette Copas

Speedwell: Amy Grubb

WCTC: Mary Alice Hardin

The mission of WCPS, in partnership with our entire community, is to ensure that each student is empowered with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the challenges of the future.

Wythe County Public Schools

1570 W. Reservoir Street Wytheville, VA 24382 Phone: 276-228-5411 Fax: 276-228-9192 Educating students for success in the 21st century.

Central Office Staff Dr. Lee Brannon

Division Superintendent

Dr. Melinda Robinett

Exec. Director of Educational Services

Dr. Becki James

Exec. Director of Instruction

Richard Thomas

Director of Personnel

Marcy Olinger

Director of Elem. & Middle Education

Beth Cochran

Coordinator of Federal Programs and Testing

Dr. Wesley Poole

Director of Facilities and Operations

Keith Cochran

Technology Supervisor

2013-2014 School Board Members William Kidd, Chairman

East Wytheville

Chalmer Frye, Vice-Chairman


Walter White

Fort Chiswell

Stephen Sage


Patricia Hines

Lead Mines

Deborah Crigger


David Martin

West Wytheville

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H.O.T. Kids

Students at JMES are “HOT” on the learning trail. The H.O.T. Kids program, which stands for Higher Order Thinking, was developed by 4th grade teacher Kasey Crockett as a way to

bridge learning gaps and build academic relationships with students across grade levels. The program pairs upper elementary students with young readers and young mathematicians to help

reinforce concepts, discover new information, and build a sense of community among the grade levels. Older students take pride in being able to show first grade teammates how to multiply using counters and younger students feel accomplished when they can show the big kids their subtraction skills. The students get to participate in this program once a month and the activities they do extend beyond basic computation; the children are usually up out of their seats, actively working through a problem.

Fitness can even be a component of the morning’s problem solving. How many jumping jacks can you do in one minute? How many can your teammate do? And how do those numbers compare? Aside from the academic benefits of this program, teachers have noticed a greater sense of camaraderie among students. Students realize that one of the keys to education is working together to accomplish great goals.

Congratulations to all our graduates. You’ve worked hard for this great accomplishment. We’re very proud of each one of you. Go and do great things!

A special thank you to all our 2014 retirees for your tireless years of service to WCPS. Diane Allen

Holly Bockes

Rita Bowles

Doris Caldwell

Denise Davis

Julia Frazier

Joyce Hill

Lee Johnson

Vivian McBride

Billy McHone

Joan Miller Linda Schoolcraft

Donna Molinary Susan Svard

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Students Save Manatees awareness for preserving endangered manatee species. The students sold baked goods, colored posters, and made announcements showcasing the importance of environmental conservation as it relates directly to the manatee population.

FCMS students are getting involved in things bigger than themselves—literally! After doing a unit on the

environment and habitats, 6th graders in Mrs. Dana Smith’s science class joined together to raise money and

“I always like to do something that heightens awareness of environmental issues,” said Mrs. Smith, but this time the students took the lead. “It was really the

students who took charge of this,” she noted. “It really grabbed the students.” All in all, they were able to raise about $450 and adopt 23 manatees for the year. The students even got to research which manatees were up for adoption before making their selections. Mrs. Smith hopes next year’s students will take an interest and consider renewing the adoption certificates. What a great way to take learning beyond the classroom!

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books .” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Board matters As another school year ends, the School Board expresses its sincere gratitude for all the hard work the staff and students have put in this year. We commend your efforts to give our students an excellent education. We constantly strive to provide the necessary resources for our staff and students to achieve great things. In difficult economic times such as these, it is our goal to maintain instructional spending while cur-

tailing non-required expenses. We try to be prudent and shrewd managers of all

For a complete calendar of School Board meetings, visit the WCPS homepage.

allocated funding. We also listen to your feedback. The vast majority of teachers have requested a nine-week grading period

and the 2014-2015 school year incorporates that element. Additionally, we will be adding instruction time to the fall semester by starting a few days earlier, which is especially important with the hybrid block scheduling model. Middle school will receive 90 minutes of reading and 90 minutes of math instruction each day to improve math and reading skills. To promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)

initiatives, middle school students will have an array of special exploratory classes they will participate in to boost aptitude in these subject areas. We’re excited for these changes and the opportunities they will afford WCPS students.

Click on the Board Docs link on the WCPS homepage for past meeting agendas and documents.

The Wythe County School Board is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination with regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, gender, ethnicity, ancestry, marital or parental status, or in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

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Capital Improvement

Shout-Outs!       

Speedwell Elementary PTO will be raising funds and building a picnic shelter area for their students, staff, and families to use SMMS choir on achieving a Superior rating RRES staff and students for being awesome bucket fillers All the WCPS students who give back to their community Spiller Elementary on their hospitality for the Run For The Wall riders WCTC graduates who earned a total of 147 credentials MMES Rotary Club for donating dictionaries to the third graders

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SOL Incentives As part of their SOL incentive program, 4th grade students at Sheffey got the rare opportunity to deface property without fear of prosecution. Students who performed well on their SOL benchmarks were given markers to graffiti one of the walls in the construction wing of the school before it was painted. Needless to say, this was a very popular reward.

They might not be able to break cinder blocks with their foreheads, but these students can do some pretty great things with their brains! Students earned colored rubber bracelets for each SOL benchmark they mastered. Students were rewarded with the bands they earned at a special “belting ceremony” complete with teachers in gi’s.

Quilting (cont.) history lessons with Mrs. Patty Younger’s Art III and IV classes. The art students then made five different exact replicas by painting them on 8x8 plywood boards. Another component of the project included interviewing local families who were chosen to receive the barn quilts about their lives and their family legacies in Wythe County.

what we have. It made us notice it more and not take it for granted,” Faith Tabor added.

“They way they spoke about their families showed us that we should care about where we’re from,” said freshman Alex Brooks.

As a culmination to their collaborative project, the families receiving the barn quilts were invited to attend a special presentation. There, students and families

“It enlightened us about

“I hope they understand their history is important. Their culture is important to preserve,” said Mrs. Hillenberg. “I hope they continue learning about it and doing things to remind people of where they’re from and be proud of that.”

enjoyed traditional Appalachian foods such as greens, beans, and chicken prepared by Mrs. Rita Bowels’ Family and Consumer Science students. Likewise, students in Mr. Carter Edmonson’s music class performed traditional Appalachian songs for entertainment that evening. Students agreed this was ones of their favorite projects. Though

more for decoration than anything else, the students hope the quilts will be something that families can pass down through the generations, much like the appreciation of their heritage.

The Wythe County School Board is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination with regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, gender, ethnicity, ancestry, marital or parental status, or in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

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Foundation for Excellence 2nd Annual Family Fun Run Back to School 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run Saturday, August 16, 2014 9:00 a.m. Wytheville Community College Training Plans and Registration Forms coming soon! Everyone welcome

State Champions

Congratulations to the RRHS Wrestling Team, GWHS Girls Outdoor Track Team, GWHS and RRHS individual state champions and All-State Chorus participant, Hannah Mills! Wrestling: Ty Boyd, Trey Boyd, Dakota Snider (GWHS), David Smith (GWHS), Jacob Wynn, Jake Lewis Indoor Track: Meredith Willis (GWHS), Matthew Farmer (RRHS) Outdoor Track: Matthew Farmer, Meredith Willis, Brea Lampkins, Abby Storms, Keyona Miller, Tyra Hedgepeth, Jasmine Harber

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Education in action

The Summit is a publication of Wythe County Public Schools . It is published periodically throughout the year. All materials, including photographs and content, are copyrighted by WCPS unless otherwise noted.

The Summit Spring 2014  

Spring edition of the periodic newsletter of Wythe County Public Schools

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