Schools

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School busAll Fluvanna County school buses are now compliant with a safety standard that requires buses manufactured after a certain date to have an additional parking brake feature.

School buses with automatic transmissions do not have a park setting. In order to park, a bus driver puts the vehicle in neutral then engages the parking brake. But if the parking brake were to become accidentally disengaged – say, by someone tripping and falling against it – the bus could begin to roll.

“The issue was discovered when the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) transportation person was out in the field and was doing spot tests,” said Julie Grimes, VDOE communications manager.

A safety device called a brake interlock prevents this possibility. “On buses equipped with a brake interlock, it is not possible to release the parking brake without first depressing the brake pedal,” according to VDOE. Add a comment

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Changes may help division run “smoother and leaner”

Even though Chuck Winkler has served in the role of superintendent since Jan. 1, he officially assumed the job on July 1. As he ushers in the new school year, Winkler announced changes in the School Board Office staff.

Perhaps the biggest change is in the top administrative structure.

Winkler eliminated the positions of assistant superintendent, director of finance and director of student services.

Brenda Gilliam’s title and role has changed. Gilliam was the director of curriculum and instruction. She is now the executive director for instruction and finance.

Don Stribling is now the executive director of student services, operations and human resources, Winkler said.

“As I began my new role, I worked with the administrative team to determine how to best structure the School Board Office staff to best serve the school division,” Winkler said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with and leading the dedicated, caring staff to continue to make a quality difference for the children of Fluvanna.” Add a comment

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Chuck WinklerSuperintendent Chuck Winkler was forthright with the Fluvanna County School Board at the Board’s seminar Wednesday morning (July 26).

“We are failing our students in special education,” Winkler said. “We are fully accredited. We should be proud of that. Are we fully staffed in special education? As far as the regulations are concerned, yes. As far as the needs of our students? No.“

Brenda Gilliam, executive director of instruction and finance, showed the Board preliminary Standards of Learning (SOL) results that show all Fluvanna schools will be fully accredited.

However, when it came to federal monitoring of the SOLs, in which students are broken down into groups by race, disabilities, economic disadvantage and English as a second language, the picture isn’t as rosy.

Consistently throughout grade levels, disadvantaged and disabled students don’t hit federal benchmarks. Add a comment

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Meredith Locascio and Lauren ReedWhile students don’t start school until Aug. 9, 30 new teachers and instructional assistants came to the middle school Thursday (July 27) to get a head start.

Superintendent Chuck Winkler greeted them, as did School Board Chair Carol Carr and Board member Perrie Johnson.

The group spent the day getting acquainted with each other, the administrative staff and building principals.

Here is a snapshot of most of the new teachers:

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It may come as a surprise that people other than parents read the list of A and B students printed in the paper.

But as Lake Monticello resident Jack Byers looked at the latest list, he noticed something he questioned.

“There are an extraordinarily high number of students getting As,” Byers said. “By my count, one grade level had a third of the class with all As. Either we’ve got a bunch of geniuses or something’s amiss.”

Brenda Gilliam, executive director in charge of curriculum instruction and finance, said the Fluvanna school system doesn’t examine how many students have top grades.

“We do not analyze data relative to grade distributions and the percentage of students earning honor roll or straight As,” Gilliam wrote in an email.

Byers wondered what constitutes an A in Fluvanna schools. He is familiar with Fairfax schools where his children and grandchildren attended. Add a comment

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