Four local schools name new leadership

Four local schools announced new leadership recently.

The Warren County School Board approved the appointment of Jennifer Cameron as the new principal of Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School earlier this month.

Cameron has spent all 19 years of her career at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary and served the last two years as assistant principal.

Winchester Public Schools appointed Sam Gates as the new Principal of Daniel Morgan Intermediate School on Tuesday.

She has spent the last two years as the assistant principal at Daniel Morgan and has attended or worked in 5 of 7 WPS schools.

Page County Public Schools also announced the addition of two new assistant principals on Wednesday.

Craig Tutt will return to his hometown at Luray Elementary School.

He currently serves as an athletic director and director of students at Roycemore School in Illinois.

Jennifer Hitt will serve as assistant principal of Page County Middle School next school year and brings with her experience as a special education teacher, administrator, and compliance coordinator.

All four will begin their roles on July 1st.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Patsy Cline Theater hosts mental health and substance abuse program

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Winchester Public Schools and the WISH (Winchester investing in Student Mental Health) Program are partnering with the Northwestern Community Services Board to host a special program for families on substance use prevention and mental health.

The event will be held at the Patsy Cline Theater of Handley High School tonight from 5:30-7:00.

The discussion will feature Stephen Hill, best selling author, recovery coach, defense attorney, and founder of Speak Sobriety, as he shares his inspiring comeback story as a young person in recovery.

His story was the main feature in Surviving the Hill, a documentary on the drug epidemic focused on prevention and recovery.

Through knowledge from his personal experiences, Hill shows families how to build resilient children who can make healthy choices and overcome adversity.

He will visit students at Handley and Daniel Morgan Middle School during the school day, with the presentation this evening serving as a follow-up.

Families are encouraged to attend the program together and have a meaningful conversation about the message and lessons from Hill’s journey.

For more information on the program, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WPS begins 2nd annual attendance competition

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Winchester Public Schools Elementary and Intermediate students will contend in the 2nd annual Every Day Counts Weekly Attendance competition.

Attendance will be calculated Monday through Thursday, starting this week through September 22nd.

Then on Friday, the school with the highest attendance percentage will win a visit from the Kona Ice Truck.

Excused absences like an illness will not be counted against the school’s attendance percentage.

The contest is sponsored by the John and Janice Wyatt Foundation and the Winchester Campaign for Grade Level Reading in an effort to curb the attendance issues facing schools across the area.

For more information on WPS attendance policies, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Local school districts make changes for new year

As many of our local students begin their return to school, this year a few districts have made some major changes.

Winchester Public School students began classes today which also marked the beginning of the expanded walk zones for some of their schools.

Motorists should be aware of these changes and travel cautiously near campuses.

Frederick County Public Schools will start the year differently with the addition of a transition day for students entering preschool, kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade.

Those groups will begin on Monday, while the rest of the students will start on Tuesday.

The transition day also allows bus drivers to become better acclimated to their new routes before the first day.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Winchester Public Schools expands walk zones

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Winchester Public Schools will join numerous departments across the country with expanded Walk Zones for the upcoming school year in response to the ongoing bus driver shortage.

Households included in the Walk Zones will get to school by either walking, biking, or riding with a family member.

The change will primarily impact students at Virginia Avenue and Quarles and a smaller group at Daniel Morgan and Handley.

The areas chosen have safe walking paths, sidewalks, and crosswalks while avoiding four lane roads and train tracks.

The City of Winchester is also working with the school district to employ additional Crossing Guards and add crosswalks and signage.

If you have questions or concerns, WPS is hosting two Transportation Walk and Talks at 6:30 pm on July 19th at Quarles Elementary and on July 20th at Virginia Avenue.

Students with an IEP requiring transportation will still be able to take the bus.

For more information on the Walk Zones, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Winchester approves budget for 2024

The City of Winchester recently approved the budget for the 2024 fiscal year and announced some of the highlights included.

Winchester Public Schools received full funding for their proposed budget including a 7% salary increase for teachers.

The Public Safety department will see an additional police officer, three firefighters, and 8 vehicles.

Winchester Parks and Rec will see upgrades including a new skate park, two new soccer fields, and numerous upgrades.

Public Services will receive 2 new trash trucks and replace or repave miles of sidewalks and roadways including widening of the Green Circle Trail.

To view an infographic of the budget highlights, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WPS names two new assistant principals

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Winchester Public Schools announced the hiring of two assistant principals.

Dr. Elayna Clokes joins John Kerr Elementary School from Loudoun County Public Schools.

She brings with her over 20 years of classroom and leadership experience.

Dr. Clokes said she looks “to facilitate an inclusive curriculum that is intentionally rigorous and purposefully scaffolded to promote deeper learning for all learners.”

Alexandra Hoxton was named assistant principal at Virginia Avenue Charlotte DeHart.

She has worked in Special Education as a teacher and diagnostician since 2016, starting in Frederick County Public Schools and most recently in Winchester.

Both assistant principals will begin their new roles on July 1st, 2023.

To view the press release from WPS, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Winchester plans emergency response exercise

The City of Winchester will hold a full scale emergency exercise on October 1st.

The training exercise will take place at John Handley High School from 8 am to noon and include the city’s public safety departments, public schools, and supporting agencies.

The simulated scenario will involve an active threat at Handley.

The goal is to assess first responders and school staff’s readiness in the event of a threat.

On that date, there will be increased traffic around Handley, John Kerr Elementary, and Quarles Elementary.

There will also be numerous road closures in those areas.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Senator Tim Kaine visits the Valley

Senator Tim Kaine visited the area this past week making stops in Winchester, Frederick County and Front Royal.

While in Winchester, he visited the Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center and spoke on the importance of the future of Career and Technical Education.

He then went to Frederick County’s new water treatment which is under construction.

While in Front Royal, he spent time with the family of the former Front Royal mayor, George Banks.

He visited the family’s home along the newly renamed road in his honor and spoke on his ability to “build bridges” in the community.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.