School board briefs

January 22, 2012

Board awards ground-preparation contract

The Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night awarded a $797,700 contract to a Bridgeville, Pa., firm for ground preparation for a proposed new Bester Elementary School on South Potomac Street.

School officials previously said soil testing on the grounds of the Bester Elementary School campus revealed soft soil that will require the school system to access a $1.6 million contingency fund to provide a stronger foundation for the new Bester school.

The foundation will need supports that reach 20 to 25 feet into the ground to bear the weight of the new school, school officials said.

The board of education Tuesday awarded a $797,000 contract to DGI-Menard for subsurface work to support the weight of the school. Of that amount, the board approved spending $57,000 for engineering for the work.
Bid for marker boards, corkboards approved

The Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night approved a $23,105.70 bid from Sargent Welch/VWR of Arlington Heights, Ill., for new marker boards and corkboards for schools.

The bid is for the purchase of porcelain steel magnetic marker boards and porcelain steel marker board “skins” with adhesive backs, according to board of education documents.

The purchase of the porcelain steel boards is part of an ongoing process to replace chalkboards in classrooms with marker boards, said Mark Mills, director of facilities maintenance and operations for the school system. The steel marker board “skins” will be used to cover chalkboards, which would cause too much damage to walls if they are removed, Mills said.
Bid approved for window, door replacement at Boonsboro Middle

The Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night approved a $51,300 bid from a Frederick, Md., firm for window and door replacement at Boonsboro Middle School, E. Russell Hicks Middle School and Fountain Rock Elementary School.

King Asbury and Associates was awarded a contract for the design of the project, said Robert Rollins, director of facilities planning and development for the school system.

There is currently no estimate for when the work will be completed, Rollins said.

Two teachers attain national board certification

Two Washington County Public Schools teachers were recognized Tuesday night at a Washington County Board of Education meeting for receiving one of the highest honors teachers can achieve.

Fountaindale Elementary School teacher Mary Pat Holter and North Hagerstown High School teacher Jennifer Aydelotte were honored for attaining national board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Superintendent of Schools Clayton Wilcox said teachers undergo rigorous work to achieve the certification.

“This exemplifies the best of the best,” Wilcox said.

Holter and Aydelotte received Golden Apple Awards for their certifications.

Longtime teacher expresses concern about consolidation

A longtime teacher in Washington County Schools raised concerns Tuesday night about a proposal to consolidate students from Winter Street Elementary in Hagerstown’s West End and Conococheague Elementary School west of Hagerstown.

William Knode, who taught school in the county for 26 years, said he could not understand why two schools many miles apart would be consolidated.

Knode talked positively of Winter Street Elementary, saying it enjoys support from churches in the Public Square area of Hagerstown, as well as a partnership with Girls Inc.

“I’ve always been an advocate of small schools,” said Knode, saying the smaller facilities promote better learning.

Knode said improvements have been made to Winter Street Elementary and it would be “unthinkable” to tear it down.

Every year, Washington County Public Schools facility officials evaluate school buildings, giving them overall ratings, as well as ratings in specific areas.

The rating system is used to determine the condition and usefulness of each school building, according to a 2011 Educational Facilities Master Plan.

Four schools have ratings that deem them not adequate — Bester, Conococheague, Sharpsburg and Winter Street elementary schools. Winter Street has the lowest score, at 71 percent.

School system and county officials are working together to determine appropriate sites for a “West City” elementary school to consolidate Winter Street and Conococheague elementary schools.

—  Dave McMillion

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