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New program honors teacher achievements

December 8, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

A new program in Upshur County Schools recognizes a local face in education each month.

The Board of Education recognized the first two teachers to receive the award with a plaque at Tuesday's meeting. Both teachers receiving the honor are employees of Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

Kim Lantz, a Title I teacher, was awarded the plaque for October, and Kristen Irvine, a third-grade teacher, was awarded the plaque for November.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Kim Lantz, left, a Title I teacher at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School, is recognized as the October Teacher of the Month Tuesday at the Upshur County Board of Education meeting. Superintendent Scott Lampinen presents her award.

"We're very proud of our employees of the month," Superintendent Scott Lampinen said.

The teacher of the month is selected by their peers.

"We think it's real important to let peers do the nomination," Lampinen said.

Lampinen read some of the peer comments given about Lantz and Irvine.

Lantz strives to have students become well-rounded citizens in the school through quality reading instruction, and provides the encouragement and opportunities to inspire students to read outside of school, Lampinen said. Lantz also spends time outside of the school day to provide students with those opportunities.

Lampinen said Irvine was involved in many school committees, along with playground, social and behavioral programs. He said she works hard with individual students to help improve their behavior and learning abilities. Irvine recently earned her Master's Degree in reading and attends workshops and conferences to further increase her knowledge of reading.

At the end of each year, Lampinen said a special dinner for the winners will be catered by Buckhannon-Upshur High School Pro-Start.

Lampinen announced that Union Elementary School was approved for its third consecutive Innovation Zone Grant from the Department of Education. The school received $50,000 to continue genre study and focus on helping students with drop-out prevention.

"We're very pleased and proud of Union," Lampinen said.

Also during the meeting, two Local School Improvement Council reports were presented.

"We're really excited about the promise this year holds," said Sabrina Skidmore, the principal of Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

WESTEST scores decreased in the proficiency of students at mastery or above in reading/language arts, dropping from 47.7 percent to 43.57 percent. Student proficiency in math increased from 43.5 percent to 46.6 percent.

The school board also heard from another local elementary school committee.

"Our school is like family," Hodgesville Elementary School principal Ann Mickley said. "We all work together to help every student become successful."

The school placed first in the county and 28th in the state in language arts scores on the WESTEST. Attendance for Hodgesville Elementary School last year was more than 94 percent, according to the LSIC report.

During the school's presentation, Faculty Senate president Chris Ware said that the school is overcrowded. Special education, speech, art, music, counseling and the computer lab compete for the same space, he said, adding that one small room and one classroom are currently utilized for all of those programs.

According to the LSIC report, building expansion is on the list of items the school would like to address. School officials also requested an updated public address system, walk-in cooler, gym sound insulation, playground, drainage and math and reading coaches. Ware said the reason for adding a walk-in cooler to the school kitchen was to clear the space taken by the coolers in the cafeteria.



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