Students and staff of Ohio County Schools have plenty to look forward to in 2013, according to Superintendent Dianna Vargo, as administrators rev up for a new year of changes.
At the start of the new year, the Ohio County Schools transportation department will begin to use Transfinder, a school bus route software program that will allow the department to digitize its bus routes, making it easier for the department to communicate with schools. Vargo cited as an example that a school's athletic director who needs a bus to transport a team for a game can now send in an electronic request to the transportation department, who will receive the request through email. Transportation Director David Ziegler can then quickly assign a bus driver to transport the team to the game.
"We're moving away from paper and using technology," Vargo said. "It's been a long process entering in current information into the new software, but we'll use that information to determine bus routes and help us be more efficient with student data."
Increasing student participation in the child nutrition program is also a goal for Ohio County Schools this year, Vargo said, as meal options become more accessible to students.
"Students are encouraged as much as possible to eat breakfast and lunch at school so they are not distracted by being hungry," Vargo said. "Many schools are offering grab-and-go breakfasts and second-chance breakfast, providing more opportunities for the students to eat."
Vargo said students at Wheeling Park High School have the option of either having a hot breakfast in the food court or getting a "grab-and-go" meal usually of a granola bar, string cheese, milk or juice. If they miss the meal, then students have the "second-chance" meal option of a grab-and-go breakfast after their first class.
2013 will also see the beginning of a new coal mining program at Wheeling Park High School in the spring. Students interested in a coal mining career will be able to take a two-week course in May with instructors from the West Virginia Office of Miners Health and Safety Training. Vargo said WPHS Principal Amy Minch is currently providing information on the program to interested seniors set to graduate in May.
"We are looking for programs to provide options for students so that they will be successful after graduation," Vargo said. "The coal mining class falls into the category of preparing students for college and career success. It's another option for the students."