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Morgan Co. school one of 13 Schools of Excellence in W.Va.

August 08, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Widmyer Elementary School will be honored tonight as one of the 13 Schools of Excellence in West Virginia for 2007-08. It was the only school in the Eastern Panhandle so honored.

"The School of Excellence is an honor for any school, and we are very proud that Widmyer was chosen. It's a nice recognition," said Joan Willard, new assistant superintendent of Morgan County Schools. She was the principal of Widmyer for the last three years.

"The award confirms what we already knew about the school. It's filled with hard-working and extremely dedicated staff and provides the best and safe environment for kids," said David Banks, who became superintendent of Morgan County Schools in July.

Morgan County has been recognized four times with schools of excellence, Willard said.

North Berkeley Elementary and Pleasant View Elementary were Schools of Excellence in 2003-04. Willard was the principal of North Berkeley Elementary at that time.

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Warm Springs Middle School was a school of excellence in 2002-03. Banks was the principal there from 1999 to 2004.

Widmyer Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) President Sharon Abdelaal said her daughter, Hannah, attended Widmyer from kindergarten to second grade and will attend the intermediate school this year.

Abdelaal believes Widmyer was chosen as a school of excellence because of its "nurturing environment and open-arms policy for volunteerism; they always welcome volunteers," she said.

Monday's announcement by the West Virginia Department of Education listed the following criteria for which the schools were selected:

· A rigorous and challenging curriculum

· A safe and drug-free learning environment

· Participatory leadership

· Active teaching and learning

· An environment that strengthens teacher skills

· Documented student achievement

· Implementing advanced and innovated programs.

Willard said a comprehensive assessment of Widmyer was done by core team members.

"We looked at all the aspects including a rigorous curriculum, positive support going on and good communication," she said.

"It requires a good team and everybody participates. It was a united effort," she said.

Willard said the state Department of Education interviewed students and staff at Widmyer.

"They recognized the students were at the core of everything we did," she said.

A banquet and awards ceremony honoring the 13 schools is tonight at the Charleston Marriott.

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