Parents appeal to Board of Education

By Kelsey Kimbler -

WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South Community Local Board of Education met on Monday, Nov. 28, and discussed student achievements and the 8th grade Washington D.C. trip.

Three students were recognized during the meeting for both outstanding achievement in school and in sports. South’s FFA chapter also gave a presentation on their activities for the fall semester.

Jennifer Denlinger spoke on the 2017 Washington D.C. trip. She and two other families wrote a joint letter to the school board on Nov. 15, expressing their concerns that not all student’s are being treated fairly in regards to the trip.

She wrote, “In mid-October each of us received a call stating that our children would not be able to attend the D.C. trip.”

Since 2013, South has only needed one bus to transport the children signed up for the trip to D.C. They reserve two buses, but need 60 children to attend in order to take both, or the price for the trip raises for all students. Not enough 8th graders signed up to fill two buses, but three too many signed up to fit on one bus. Thus, the three who paid last were bumped from the trip.

Parents of those children are trying to find a way to fill up the two buses and get their children off the waiting list.

Denlinger wrote, “We feel this trip, the last class trip they will take, is a rite of passage. We wonder: how and when did the Washington D.C. trip become a luck of the draw?

“In the past there have been two buses reserved but only one needed, as a result the last payment was not as high, but at least all students wishing to go had a seat. There are two buses on hold at this time, however, they will only take one bus because of price increase.

“While we understand this, we also feel if there is an overflow, the price should be increased so no student is left behind.”

The board urged Denlinger and the other students to try to find as many students willing to go to D.C. as possible, stating it “is not too late” to sign up for the trip, but if enough students do not sign up for the trip, there is no guarantee those additional students will be able to attend.

The board is also looking into additional ways to get the students off the waiting list. The parents have considered taking their children themselves, but the students would not be able to stay with the rest of the students due to insurance restrictions. The board hopes to find a way for all children who want to attend the trip to go, while keeping the price low for parents.

In his report, Director of Transportation/Maintenance Jeff Tully noted:

•Painting of the restroom will begin over Christmas break.

•Mulch has been ordered for the playground.

•Football field and restrooms have been prepared for the winter.

•Wind screens and banners have been removed and stored.

•The training of a new sub bus driver will begin soon and winter bus servicing will also begin soon.

Director of Pupil Services Daniel Lewis reported:

•Fall testing has been completed and returned.

•Information on testing accommodations for the ACT is available.

•Two volunteer committees will be organized to meet the needs of students.

•Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI) training has been completed for TVS staff.

K-6 Principal Patti Holly reported:

•She has begun walk-through observations in classrooms, in search of best practices and professional development needs.

•Winter MAP testing will begin Nov. 29.

•Third grade students have completed two days of AIR testing.

•TPES teacher evaluations will be completed Nov. 30.

•88 students were awarded first quarter perfect attendance awards.

•63 third-sixth graders were awarded first quarter straight As awards.

Grade 7-12 Principal Scott Cottingim was absent, but his administrative report was still presented. It noted, 65 people donated blood at the high school drive on Nov. 16, exceeding the set goal.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH