Upshur County Schools Superintendent Scott Lampinen said Tuesday that possible major changes in West Virginia's educational system could result in schools following a balanced calendar, commonly referred to as year-round schooling.
There have been no binding decisions yet, but Lampinen said there will be some proposals in the West Virginia Legislature this year, and the school board will be looking more closely at the possibility of implementing the balanced calendar.
Upshur County Schools recently received calendar instructions from the state board and may implement the year-round learning technique as early as next school year or the following school year, pending public input, Lampinen said. That doesn't mean students won't get a break from school.
The idea is that instructional time will occur throughout the year, divided into nine-week intervals.
But instead of having months off in the summer, students would have three-week breaks in between each nine-week period.
Lampinen said the county calendar committee already has been formed and will be meeting for the first time on Jan. 30. He said that he's looking for input from the community as well as from the committee. For further information, questions, concerns or comments, contact the Upshur County Board of Education at 304-472-5480.
The next meeting of the board will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.
The next meeting will also be the time to address further comments on the first reading of the new social media guidelines policy. Lampinen said the guidelines outlined in the policy will allow the school board to stay one step ahead of social media conduct and prevent problems before they arise. Copies of the policy are available at the board of education office or online at www.upshurcountyschools.com.
The website allows viewers to submit a comment to the board regarding the policy.
Board member Tammy Samples said the policy is about the safety of students, staff and the community. Despite comments that the school system was infringing on people's rights with the policy, Samples said she was offended anyone would think that.
"That's not at all what we're trying to accomplish. I'm glad that everybody wants to talk about that," Samples said, adding that many people across the country are addressing the issue.
The policy was up for a second reading at Tuesday's meeting, but upon the recommendation of Teresa Bellamy, the school board president, the first reading will be extended until the first meeting in February to allow for further commentary. No board members were opposed to the change.
"I don't think our objective is to try to take away anybody's rights. We're dealing more in society with what I would call a moral issue," vice president Alan Suder said. "Ninety-nine percent of us have good morals, but certain people like to post certain things that are immoral."
Board member Greenbrier Almond said that it was better to be inclusive, allowing for the extended comment period. He said some of the questions and feedback about the policy have been very good, and that it was apparent that people are reading the policy carefully.
An open comment period will be offered at the next meeting, prior to the second reading.
"We already have standards of how we communicate with one another," Almond said. "All this computer technology is an extension of our previous good communication that we want to have with one another."
Bellamy said the numerous comments which have already been received have been helpful.
"Not one person has the answer," she said. "It takes a group."
Almond said, "What we have is a good beginning. Maybe it will get better."
Assistant superintendent David Dilly said that such a policy reduces risks.
He said he believes the policy will cause some people to think and pause before they act.
He also said most of the school employees already use the proper protocol in social media.
In other news, treasurer George P. Carver said the financial audit report came back with no findings. Lampinen noted that he was happy with the results and complemented Carver and his staff for going above and beyond to achieve that result.