Teachers are back; students report for school next Wednesday


Botetourt’s first-year teachers met Tuesday morning at The Glebe in Daleville in preparation for their first official day, which is today (Wednesday).

The rest of the week and early next week, all the teachers will be getting ready for the first day for students next Wednesday, Aug. 9.

What neither teachers nor students will find will be a lot of changes this year.

Superintendent John Busher III said the school division isn’t interested in trying new things every year. “We’ve identified what we want to do, and we want to stick to it,” he said as he prepared to meet with the first-year teachers.

“We want to make sure our message is loud and clear about ‘The Botetourt Way,’” he continued. “We want to be sure they get better and better at what we do so our students can be successful.”

That, Busher said, is not only doing well on Standards of Learning (SOLs), but also having students learn beyond the SOLs.

The school division is promoting using collaboration, cooperation, failure and problem solving to promote learning beyond what’s required by the SOLs, and Busher said the administration will emphasize that in what will be the first meeting of all county teachers Friday morning at Bonsack Baptist Church.

He said the school division doesn’t have a facility large enough to accommodate all K-12 teachers, so the administration reached out to the community and Bonsack Baptist Church offered its new addition for the meeting.

This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to get all our teachers in the same room at the same time, Busher said.

He’ll again be giving the teachers permission to apply the lessons and instructional collaboration and ideas they have to expand learning.

The school division is going into the school year fully staffed and with a full contingent of bus drivers and substitute drivers— a problem in recent years when maintenance and bus mechanics were pulled away from their jobs to drive buses.

“We feel good about where we are right now,” Busher said.

One school will have a new principal.

Steven Anderson is the new principal at Troutville Elementary School after moving from Colonial Elementary where he was currently assistant principal. He takes the reins from Karen Crush, who retired and is moving to Germany.

Central Academy Middle School and Lord Botetourt High School will also have new assistant principals.

Amanda Collins moved from her position as assistant principal at Lord Botetourt High School back to Central Academy where she was a math teacher before moving into administration. She assumes the post held by Daniel Pendleton, who retired.

Deborah Harris moved to Lord Botetourt High School as assistant principal. She had been assistant principal at Read Mountain Middle School.

Students and staff at Lord Botetourt High School will be seeing the first results of the  $6.3 million School Energy Performance Contract the county entered into this summer to upgrade lighting and other energy components at all the county schools.

LBHS is where the first energy-saving LED lighting is going in. The contractor for installing the energy saving components will be rotating through the schools over the next year to make the upgrades.

Busher was glad to hear that two new boilers were dropped off Monday as well. That means LBHS and Read Mountain Middle School won’t have to struggle with heat this winter. They are part of the energy savings project and will be installed by October before the fall/winter heating season begins.

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