Nipps wants to move schools to next step

October 25, 2000

Nipps wants to move schools to next step

Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of stories about Washington County Board of Education candidates.

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

Education in Washington County public schools is moving forward, according to School Board Vice President Doris Nipps. And when it takes its next step, she hopes she's there to help it along.

Nipps, 48, who has spent the last six years on the board, is one of eight candidates vying for four open seats in the Nov. 7 election. If re-elected she'll become the senior School Board member, now that B. Marie Byers decided to step down.

With her experience and a hand in moving the school system forward, Nipps says she'd like to see it continue to progress.


"The system is finally moving in the right direction and making some progress," Nipps said. "When I first came on the board, things were kind of at a standstill. We put some new programs in place, and I'd like to see them through. We're just at the beginning."

The board has implemented reading programs in the elementary and middle schools and is now looking at the high schools, she said. It is also in the process of re-evaluating its program for advanced and gifted students, a topic that is beginning to spread throughout the county.

"There is now a larger vocal group of those parents saying 'what are you doing for my child? The state and federal government has done a lot for special education, but now what are you going to do for my child?"' she said.

Nipps said she thinks the School Board must seriously address the effect state and national testing has on classroom time. She said teachers feel the time spent in connection with standardized testing is taking valuable time away from instruction.

Bringing down the 5.5 percent 1999 high school drop out rate - the highest rate in at least 12 years - is another issue Nipps said she is passionate about.

"That to me is unacceptable," she said. "We've got to do something about that. We have to decide what we're going to do to keep those children in school."

She suggested providing intervention programs beginning at the elementary level.

"It's something that we've got to start working on in elementary school. Doing something in high school is a little bit too late."

Nipps moved to the area in 1972 with her husband, Jim, who is manager of facilities for Allegheny Energy. Their twins, Scott and Tom, attended Old Forge Elementary School.

She joined the school's PTA and became president. She later served as president of the County Council of PTAs and on the state PTA board of directors.

"I think that experience has something to say," Nipps said. "Experience and some history with what's happening in the system can be of some real value to the entire system."

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