The Henry County School Board on Thursday appointed Sherri Helbert as secondary mathematics and science curriculum coordinator for the school division.

She has served as a middle school math and science teacher for 24 years, as well as a teacher leader, new teacher mentor and curriculum writer.

“I am honored for the opportunity to serve as secondary curriculum coordinator for mathematics and science,” Helbert said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with teachers and administrators to provide support in curriculum and instructional best practices.”

Superintendent Sandy Strayer said in a statement. “Mrs. Helbert’s expertise in the areas of math and science will be a true asset to the students and staff members she supports as we continue to strive for excellence in all areas of teaching and learning.”

Monica Hatchett, a spokeswoman for the school division, wrote in an email that Helbert has taught primarily at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School but also served students at Bassett Middle School.

Helbert replaces Hope Perry, whom the school board appointed last month as assistant principal at Fieldale-Collinsville.

More guidance for gifted

The school board approved the local plan for the education of the gifted.

Lisa Millner, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said in an interview: “Something new that we plan to do this year is to develop guidelines to be used by the secondary guidance counselors when they register our gifted students for classes to ensure they are taking the most appropriate and rigorous coursework, as well as making sure that our parents are informed, making sure we have impeccable communication with our families, that all parents are informed of the resources for our gifted students.

“So that’s one thing that we plan to improve upon, as well as making sure that our teachers who have not been trained in differentiated instruction, that they receive that professional development this year.”

“Differentiated instruction,” she said, refers to “meeting students where they are. Some students may need remedial interventions. Some may need enrichment. They may have the basics but may need enrichment. So pretty much. you may go in a classroom and everyone may not be doing the same thing.”

Alternative education grant

The school board also approved applying for a 2019-20 regional alternative education program continuation grant in the estimated amount of $198,291. Henry County Public Schools serves as the fiscal agent for the regional alternative education program funded by the Breaking Barriers Grant through the Department of Education. The Henry County, Martinsville city and Patrick County public school systems collaboratively operate the program. The regional consortium is eligible for the grant, and the localities provide an estimated $93,753.96 in a combined, in-kind contribution.

“The program serves students in grades six through 12 and focuses on students unable to function in the regular school environment. The regional program provides a smaller classroom environment and more individual instruction for students,” a school board document states.

Magna Vista recognized

Magna Vista High School was recognized by the board for its Virginia Board of Education Continuous Improvement Award. To earn the award, a school must earn a state accreditation rating of accredited or accredited with conditions and meet one or more benchmarks for improved performance on accreditation-related school quality indicators.

The board also recognized students from Magna Vista’s sports teams:

  • Baseball: Nick O’Der – first team Region 3D; Hunter Powell – second team Region 3D.
  • Softball: Zariah Scales – first team Region 3D; Lyndsey Newman – second team Region 3D; Callie Smith – second team Region 3D.
  • Boys soccer: Oscar Rodriguez – first team Region 3D, Finley Underwood – second team Region 3D, Jerry Becerra – second team Region 3D.
  • Girls soccer: Brianna Bitz – first team region 3D; Morgan Smith – second team Region 3D.

The board also:

  • Appointed school board Chairman Francis Zehr as the voting delegate to represent the school board at the Virginia School Boards Association Delegate Assembly of the 2019 annual convention and designated school board Vice Chairman Thomas Auker as
  • alternate.
  • Approved updates to certain school board policies and regulations to bring them into compliance with new or existing laws or have been revised for editorial reasons.
  • Received a reminder about its planning meeting at 8 a.m. July 25 at Chatmoss Country Club and its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 1 in the school board meeting room.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article abbreviated the title for Lisa Millner.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

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