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Education

  • GOING VIRAL: flu empties local classrooms

    The dreaded flu virus has declared open season in the Twin Counties, and some school systems in the area are feeling the effects with more absences than normal.

    In the past week, Carroll County Public Schools saw a large number of student absences, climbing into the hundreds for a few schools inside the division.

    “We noticed an increase in absences on [Feb. 9-10], but not nearly as bad as the last two days,” Schools Superintendent Strader Blankenship told The Gazette on Tuesday.

  • Galax looks ahead to budget challenges

    Galax schools will face a budget challenge this year.

    At the Jan. 10 Galax City School Board meeting, Superintendent Bill Sturgill noted that there is “close to a $300,000 hurdle” to get over already in the budget, due to the rising cost of Virginia Retirement System contributions and Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s financial supplement (with a local funding match) being taken away.

  • Grant paying for playground equipment for special needs students

    INDEPENDENCE ― Grayson County Public Schools recently received a grant from United Way Southwest Virginia for $5,000, to use in inclusive projects for students with special needs.

    The grant money will pay for recreational equipment that can be enjoyed by students with and without special needs at Fairview Elementary School; where they will also soon have an inclusive play area to enjoy together.

  • Taylor directs traffic, sends students in positive direction

    Officer Vickie Taylor received an accolade just in time for Crossing Guard Appreciation Day; she was given one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guard Awards for 2016, one of six such officers to receive the award out of 71 nominations.

    “I love you, but I’ll correct you,” is a motto of sorts for Taylor, a 15-year veteran of the Galax City Police Department and a school resource officer for 13 years.

  • King remembered as inspirational teacher

    Like many students before him at Galax High School, Travis Newman had heard the stories from upperclassmen about Judy King.

    He was warned about the strict red-haired English and U.S. History teacher, a tough-as-nails educator who didn’t suffer foolishness and demanded only the best from her class.

    Newman recalls entering her English classroom with dread, “but I learned quickly that what people hated about her classes was that she cared — and she expected her students to care, as well. This was not a class that you could breeze through.”

  • Teachers left out of pay raise proposal

    Landmark News Service

    RICHMOND — State employees may just get Christmas in July in the form of a 3 percent raise.

    Republican budget leaders from both chambers of the General Assembly announced the pay increase, plus a 17 percent higher starting salary for Virginia State Police troopers and a way to address salary compression for sheriff’s deputies.

  • Grayson teachers push for pay raise

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson teachers’ salaries are 18 percent below the state average, and the county education association’s budget presentation to the Grayson School Board had a special focus on fair pay this year.

    “We have been making do for a long time,” said Pam DeBord of the Grayson County Education Association at the board’s Jan. 9 meeting.

    According to the data in DeBord’s report, state teachers’ salaries currently stand at 11 percent below the national average.

  • String band class raising money for instruments

    INDEPENDENCE ― Instructor Eddie Bond has seen several young musicians come a long way through the Grayson County High School String Band program; and says he is encouraged to see so many of the newer generation so interested in keeping a part of the area’s history alive.

    But as the interest expands, so does the need for equipment. Fortunately, an upcoming event at the high school could help put fresh new instruments into the hands of their students.

  • Lawmaker pushes for guns in schools

    Landmark News Service

    RICHMOND — A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would let school boards designate employees to carry concealed handguns on school property.

    It would require those carrying the weapons to receive training and certification, either through the state or the National Rifle Association.

  • School board looks back on 2016 progress

    INDEPENDENCE — During Schools’ Superintendent Kelly Wilmore’s monthly report December, he summarized the work that had been done throughout the school system over the past year.