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Grayson plans Wall of Fame for athletes

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School board wants to honor local champions past and present

By Shaina Stockton

INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County School officials are reaching out to surrounding school systems for ideas to revive and update the high school’s Sports Wall of Fame to include current and past athletes who deserve the spotlight.

The Wall of Fame topic was revived in February, when the board discussed the possibility of designating a spot for the wall. Schools’ Superintendent Kelly Wilmore said in March that they had been looking at surrounding school systems for inspiration for their wall, including Radford and Carroll County. He added that someone gave him the idea of using the gym wall across from the elevator for the display.

School Board Member Shannon Holdaway said in March that some members of the board had attempted unsuccessfully to start this project last year.

Grayson County High School Athletic Director Chad Wright updated the school board during the April 11 meeting and presented correspondence from other schools. He reported that he’d reached several coaches from other school districts with information about their walls.

“One common thread [from the other schools] was having three tiers,” he said, which helps to organize the different types and levels of awards given.

Wright suggested that the next step in the process would be to form a committee.

“We can discuss that,” said School Board Chair Diane Haynes. “Give us some time on that and we will get back to Mr. Wilmore and then back with you.”

School Board Member Tim Carico said the school system should be creative in making a wall that works for this area, rather than trying to model it after something else. “We need to do what Grayson does best. We need to stand on our own,” he said.

Wilmore added that he thought it was a good idea to contact the historical society for help.

The superintendent also gave the board a report on the football bleacher project.

“We sent the [Grayson Board of Supervisors] a preliminary scan of the bleachers. Within the next 30 days, we should have a cost A and a cost B; including the bottom section you had before, and the top part, which will take from the press box brick out and down,” he said.

The new bleachers should seat anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 people.

He added that the metal bleachers had been moved to the other side of the field for graduation. “We will be having graduation outside, weather permitting,” he added.

Other Action

• The board approved the 2016-17 school calendar, which was presented to the board in March. The new calendar will introduce a nine-week grading period to better match the system’s existing pacing guide and benchmark for students.

• Susan Funk, supervisor of education and state/federal programs, introduced the proposed 2016-17 Special Education Plan and report.

“There are no substantial changes from years past. Most of the funding goes to personnel costs. The need for highly-qualified personnel to work with the children is major,” she told the board.

“There are small amounts of funding earmarked for material such as reading and consumable items. Some funding has also been earmarked for things such as applied behavioral analysis. The focus continues to be on putting the students first. Initiatives include post-secondary transition and success afterwards. Evidence-based practice instruction is also part of this application.”

Haynes expressed thanks to Special Education Supervisor Doug Lawson for his work with Wilmore and Ted Phillips to draft the plan. “It looks like a good report; and I’d like to express our thanks because it looks like he put a lot into it,” she said.

Approval of the final plan will be requested at the board’s meeting in May.

• Wilmore updated the board on SOL reviews.

In addition to calling parents and sending study guides home with each student, Wilmore said that “test talks” are being introduced to students. “Basically, different people in the building will pull students aside and offer encouragement. They will go over data and tell them where they are excelling and where they need help, and provide help if they need it.”

Wilmore said that he’d seen this effort succeed in other school systems he worked for. “It’s especially great for kids who don’t have a lot of self-esteem. And this can be the principal, assistant principal, it could be the lead teacher, or it could be their favorite teacher. It all depends on the students.”

He added that he plans to lead a few of the talks himself. “I love doing this. It’s a great way to encourage the kids; especially the ones who don’t have enough faith in themselves academically,” he said.

• The board approved a request for the Board of Supervisors to dispose of Mount Rogers School.

The building is currently owned by the county; and Wilmore pointed out that the school board is responsible for the debt service for that building, while the county takes care of the utility bills and insurance coverage.

“I’d like to turn this back over to the county, and if the county chooses to sell the property, ask that the money be put back into the school system,” he said.

The supervisors are still considering the request.

Personnel

The board approved the following list of appointments, resignations, retirements and reappointments:

• Appointment: Gwendolyn Hash, part-time food service, effective April 12

• Retirements: Larry Peak, custodian, effective July 1; David Cornett, maintenance/bus driver, effective June 1; Bill Shaffner, maintenance, effective June 30.

• Resignation: Megan Hilliard, teacher, effective July 1

The next school board meeting will be held May 9 at 6 p.m.