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Board honors Burch for School to Work program

The North County Board of Education recognized a teacher for her role in preparing students with special needs to live independently.

Pat Burch, who has been teaching in the district for 30 years, accepted a plaque from school board President Jim Sowers. Sowers presented the plaque to Burch for working with the community to ensure the success of her students.

“This is a wonderful lady,” Sowers said.

Burch teaches her special needs students daily life skills that will help them hold jobs and live on their own. The program, School to Work Employment, prepares students for the world and gives them real-life experience by working within the school, at home and in the community with various individuals and businesses.

Burch said the program is so successful and the students are holding jobs because the school board and administrators have a good and respectful attitude about the program.

“I love my kids so much and I am so proud of them,” Burch said.

In other matters, the school board announced graduation day would be June 6.

After much discussion, the school board decided to have classes on March 25 so the last day of school could also be June 6. Before the discussion, the school board had considered making June 9 — a Monday — the last day of school.

The school board decided they would rather have classes during spring break if needed than have school past June 6. The school district is already going later than other schools in the county.

Superintendent Dr. Terry Gibbons said extending school into June causes problems for students starting college, students participating in sports programs, and for teachers and students attending summer school.

“We will do everything we can to make the last day of school June 6,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons had said it was up to the board to decide whether to keep adding days onto the calendar or take away spring break days.

Because the district has missed so many days the forgiveness rule has gone into effect. As of now, the district can be forgiven one day for every two days missed for snow.

In other matters, high school Principal Ron McCutchen reported on last year’s high school MAP scores.

MAP scores are below the state average in science, communications arts and social studies but above average in math. McCutchen offered a variety of ways to improve those scores.

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