Jefferson County schools in growth spurt

August 24, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Susan Wall is superintendent of Jefferson County (W.Va.) Schools. School started Wednesday in the county's public school system.
Photo by Richard F. Belisle

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — By the time the 2011-12 school year ends in June in Jefferson County, the district’s fleet of school buses will have traveled enough miles to cover three round trips to the moon.

That fact appears in the school district’s upgraded website that’s open to parents or anyone who wants to view it at

The site is flexible. Two new educational video programs, such as the one on the bus system, will be featured every month. This month’s second video focuses on the district’s tradition of buying local produce for its school menus.

Staff members will make in-person presentations on subjects in the videos at school board meetings. The board meets twice a month.

The videos are produced by Rob Perks, the district’s TV and media analyst.

Superintendent Susan K. Wall said an estimated 8,808 students entered the district’s 16 schools Wednesday morning to begin classes for the new year.

That’s 158 more than began the 2010-11 school year that ended in June, and 392 more than started the 2009-10 academic year.

“This is my fifth year as superintendent, and we’ve been growing every year,” Wall said.

The district hired 49 faculty members for the new year,” said Dale Shaffer, coordinator of human resources. The total represents 39 who will replace teachers who retired or otherwise left the system and 10 new positions, he said.

The district has 12,250 employee on its payroll. It operates 16 schools.

No new school buildings opened for the start of this school year.

Debuting for the fall semester in 2012 will be the new primary school for kindergarten through the second grade being built on land behind Blue Ridge Elementary School and a new classroom wing under construction at Harpers Ferry Middle School, Wall said.

She said about 35 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches. Parents will be able to apply for the benefit online for the first time this year.

“We’re trying to work with the community,” Wall said.

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