The month of January has brought with it several days of extremely cold weather and unsafe road conditions forcing us to miss a total of 10 days thus far this month.
We want to remind everyone that with the passing of Senate Bill 187, Yancey County Schools started school two weeks later than normal on August 19, 2013. As you know, this automatically pushed our end date two weeks further into June. However, with the loss of so many days during the month of January and as in preparing the remaining winter months, we are, as in the past two years, implementing the automatic Saturday School plan.
Any time school is closed Monday-Thursday due to bad weather, Yancey County Schools will plan on having Saturday School. Whenever school is missed on a Friday due to bad weather, the decision to have school on that following Saturday will be decided as quickly as possible. Safety of the roads on Friday and whether they will be clear enough by Saturday to have school will be the main factor in the decision for Saturday School, however, previously scheduled weekend events will also be considered when making the decision. Please remember state law dictates that students cannot go to school more than five days a week. We will follow traditional early dismissal hours for Saturday School – Elementary at 11:30 a.m., High School at 11:45 a.m. and Middle Schools at 12:00 noon.
Based on previous feedback, we understand that Saturday School is not popular, however losing a winter Saturday is preferable over losing Spring Break days or going to school further into June.
This plan will begin February 3rd. As always, parents will be notified by the school system’s phone notification system, as early as possible, when Saturday School will occur. We appreciate the understanding and support from parents and staff. Our number one priority will always be student safety.
East Yancey 8th Grader Cori Letterman, pictured with Principal Angie Anglin and Middle School Art Instructor Keli Miller, is holding a gift of appreciation from the School Board upon being chosen as the Winner for the Yancey County Schools 2013 Holiday Card.
Cori’s artwork was selected from a collection of all middle school art students. Other finalists, whose artwork was featured on the back of this year’s card include: Izzy Davis, Rainey
Silver, and Evan
The Yancey County Schools Superintendent Holiday Card is sent to local and state officials, select vendors and other school systems across the state.
At the January 6th school board meeting the Yancey County School Board votes unanimously to pass a resolution joining with the majority of NC school systems a class action lawsuit filed by the North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA). The lawsuit filed in Wake County Superior Court challenges the constitutionality of legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year that creates a private school voucher program using public funds. Under the legislation, which takes effect in the 2014-15 school year, a private school can receive up to $4,200 in public funding for each eligible student that it enrolls.
A copy of the complaint is posted on NCSBA’s website at www.ncsba.org/voucher
There will not be any additional cost to YCS for joining this lawsuit. The Association’s Legal Assistance Fund will bear the litigation costs. This will be an ongoing issue for some time to come.
Under the mandate of the NC General Assembly’s Read To Achieve legislation and the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Yancey County Schools will implement a reading portfolio system for third-grade students. This is an opportunity for students to show proficiency in reading over the course of the entire second semester, rather than just a performance on a one-day reading End-of-Grade test (EOG) in the spring. This portfolio process is equitable and uniform for all third-grade students across the state. All third-grade students in North Carolina are still required to take the EOGs, however; a completed portfolio can be considered a good cause exemption from retention for those students not showing proficiency on the Reading EOG. Teachers will begin implementing the portfolio process in late January/early February.
The portfolio has three components:
Component 1 contains assessment data from the mCLASS Reading 3D assessment system that teachers have been using since the beginning of the school year.
Component 2 contains a Personal Education Plan (PEP). This is an individualized plan for students at risk of academic failure. The PEP contains strategies and interventions teachers are using to help students in the area of reading.
Component 3 contains reading passages based on standards from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study that students have been learning this year.
A student in the portfolio process will work on the reading passages throughout the second semester. His/her teacher will determine which passages to administer based on classroom instruction. In order to have a completed portfolio, Components 1 and 2 must be completed by the teacher and your child must show proficiency on 36 reading passages for Component 3. The number of proficient passages was determined by following the exact guidelines of a portfolio as defined by the Read to Achieve law. The reading passages must be completed independently, are untimed, and may not be completed for homework. The passages should be administered as class assignments and as follow-ups to direct instruction on the reading standards. These reading passages are a way for students to show proficiency and be promoted at the end of third grade with a Good Cause exemption.
YCS is following the basic timeline set below:
- January 9-29 2014 – mCLASS Reading 3D Middle of Year Reading Benchmark Assessments given (administered on a 1:1 basis by all K-3 teachers)
- mid-January 2014 – All YCS teachers receive portfolio packets and final training tips for implementation
- 1st Week of February – all parents of K-3 students will receive a “mid-year” Reading Progress Report
- 1st Week of February – all YCS elementary schools will hold “Read To Achieve Information Night” meetings to provide further guidance and answer any questions or concerns. These meetings will specifically target parents of third-grade students
- 2nd Week of February – select 3rd Grade students will begin Portfolio process
- March – May – parents will receive a minimum of bi-weekly updates on the progress of their child’s reading success
For specific questions regarding the Read to Achieve Program, please contact your child’s school.
As the seasons change and the possibility of snow becomes greater, it is time to update everyone of the Yancey County Schools plan for inclement weather days and making up any missed instructional days due to unsafe road conditions. With the passing of Senate Bill 187, effective July 1, 2013, public school systems can have a school start date of no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end date no later than the Friday closest to June 11 (unless a weather related calendar waiver has been approved). Yancey County Schools does have an approved weather waiver which allows for an end of school date past June 11th. This law shifted our
school year by two weeks – our later start on August 19th could result in a June 17th or later end date.
All public school systems must have a minimum of 185 days OR 1,025 hours of instruction. The Yancey County Schools calendar, set at 180 days, exceeds the instructional hours required by the state. Extra hours are used for early dismissals and delayed openings.
These changes to the school calendar requirements have cancelled the need for automatic Saturday School. Please keep in mind that every day missed pushes the last day of school back. That is why it is impossible at this time to project the final last day of school.
With this new plan and the typically unpredictable weather here in Yancey County, there is a possibility that the end of school will be in late June. Parents should keep this in mind when planning your family vacation.
Once winter arrives, employees of Yancey County Schools are on the roads by 4:00 a.m. checking across the county for ice or snow dangers. They coordinate with the DOT and the Sheriff’s Department. While student safety will always be our first concern, every effort is made to have school whenever possible. That may mean calling for a 2 or 3 hour delay in starting school until the roads have been cleared. When dealing with changing road conditions, everyone must remember that buses are on the roads and picking up students 2 hours prior to the scheduled start of school and up to 2 hours after school is dismissed returning students home. This sometimes requires making decisions based on what might happen a few hours later in the day for both the safety of the students, our staff and our bus drivers.
The Connect 5 Call System will be used again this year to notify parents by phone of delays, early dismissals and school cancellations. Parents are encouraged to make sure their child’s school has their latest contact information for Connect 5 announcements.
Other means of obtaining school cancellations and delays include:
School Announcement Line 682-7322
Online at www.yanceync.net
For YANCEY COUNTY SCHOOLS EMPLOYEES
NEW NC-4 WITHHOLDING FORMS IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted House Bill 998 which becomes effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. Under this new law, taxpayers may no longer claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse, children, or any other qualifying dependents. Most taxpayers will not be entitled to as many allowances, and as a result, more taxpayers should claim zero (0) allowances. Additionally, many deductions and tax credits that impact North Carolina withholding tax are no longer available for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.
As a result of this Act, we must have all employees provide a new Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, either Form NC-4 EZ or Form NC-4. The new form must be completed by the employee and provided to the employer so the correct amount of State income tax is withheld for any payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.
If you do not provide a new NC-4, we are required to withhold based on Single with zero (0) allowances.
Attached are the NC-4 and NC4-EZ forms. For more information on this law and how to complete the forms, you may visit http://www.dornc.com/taxes/wh_tax/newnc4.pdf
If you have specific questions, please contact you tax preparer.
Please return these forms to Daphne Hughes, Payroll Coordinator by January 10, 2014.
At its regular
monthly meeting on October 14th, The Yancey County Board of
Education recognized Margot Atuk, 5th grade teacher at South Toe
Elementary as Yancey County Schools Teacher of the Year 2013.
South Toe Principal
Miranda Elkins introduced Ms. Atuk stating, “I did not know Ms. Atuk before I
came to South Toe as principal but I figured out very quickly her goal in life
is to truly make a difference in the lives of everyone she touches – not just
the children – but everyone she touches.”
recognition, Ms. Atuk stated, “There is no way that I could be standing here
accepting this award without the support of the entire South Toe School
Community, the students, the staff, my administrators and my school board. I am very honored and privileged to represent
Yancey County Schools.” Atuk continued,
“South Toe is a terrific community and Yancey County is an amazing place to
Ms. Atuk will
advance to the regional level of competition next week.
were Yancey County Schools Principals for National Principals’ Month. Dr. Tipton presented each principal in
attendance with a certificate stating, “We acknowledge that the job our
principals do day in and day out every day just gets harder and harder. Our administrators have been very patient
with all the duties that have been added to them and they continue to hang in
School Board Chair
Mike Orr added, “If it were not for our outstanding teachers and the leadership
in our schools, Yancey County Schools would not see the successes that we do in
student achievement every day.”
In the New
Business portion of the meeting, Dr. Tipton informed the Board that Yancey
County Schools is coordinating with the Sheriff’s Office to conduct a rapid response
training to be held on October 25th at Cane River Middle
School. Dr. Tipton reported that this
training will involve staff from all schools across the county as well as
several local law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, and fire departments. The training, which is being held on a no
school day, will simulate a shooter on the Cane River Middle School site and
will provide immeasurable training for law enforcement and school staff
personnel. “It is important for the
public to remember that this is being conducted on a day when no students will
be at school.” Tipton continued, “This
is a wonderful training opportunity for this county and we are asking the
public to please respect the seriousness and value of this training.”
Read what's currently happening in Yancey County Schools in Dr. Tipton's Superintendent's Weekly Updates
located under the ABOUT US
tab on the top navigation bar.
have been busy over the summer with several projects in and around the school
buildings in Yancey County and one of the most exciting is the installation of
new building access systems at each elementary school, both middle schools and
the YCLA facility.
all students arrive for school each day, individual principals will determine a
“close door” time in which all exterior doors will be closed and locked. Your principal will let you know the “close
door” time at YOUR school.
wanting to enter the building after this time will need to go to the front main
entrance to the AiPhone system. This is
a discreet silver and black unit that has kind of a “bubble” with a camera and
a red call button. Visitors will need to
press the call button to speak to someone in the office who then have the
capability of buzzing that visitor into the office.
appreciate your patience as we adjust to our new security measures in our
effort to continue to provide the safest environment for our students. If you have questions about the new system,
please don’t hesitate to check with your principal or school secretary.