We have a successful start of school nearly under our belts.   We still have our “first day” of pre-kindergarten this week, which we expect to be equally as smooth.  Our teachers and administrators do a wonderful job making our students and parents feel “at ease” about these days.  Likewise, I can’t say enough about our transportation department.  Our bus operators adopt the children on their bus runs—they look out for their safety and make them feel good about going to school each day.  Speaking of our transportation department, today, August 31, is the official day of retirement for John Haines, who has been our Transportation Director for the past five years and a successful teacher and principal for many years prior to that.  We’re all going to miss his leadership and concern for all our students.  He is truly a gentleman and has been an outstanding asset to Mineral County Schools for over 41 years.  I know we all wish John the best and encourage him to enjoy each and every day of his retirement.  John, thanks for all you’ve done for Mineral County’s boys and girls and, personally, thanks for being a friend.
With the start of another school year, we again assume the responsibility of providing experiences and interventions that assist students to achieve a high level of success.  Our special education personnel, working with regular classroom teachers, do a great job providing many of these interventions for students who need additional or specially-designed assistance.      Many of the students have learning exceptionalities that can often inhibit them achieving at their potential.
 Mineral County Schools is committed to providing a free appropriate public education to children with exceptionalities
 identified in accordance with applicable State and Federal laws, rules, and regulations.  This applies to preschool, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescent and adult students whose educational programs require special education and related services. 
Mineral County is committed to serving exceptional students with an appropriate individual education program in the least restrictive environment.  The special education program works collaboratively with education teams for students including parents, administrators, general educators and outside agencies.  Procedural safeguards are implemented to assure the protection of parent and student rights. 
A parent or any other interested person or agency may refer a student who is suspected of needing special education and related services to the student’s home school.   Referrals received from an outside source are forwarded to the School Assistance Team (SAT) for consideration.  The School Assistance Teams at each local school will conduct problem-solving processes to design and monitor implementation of interventions and may initiate initial evaluation for special education and related services for students, when warranted based on the outcome of interventions. 
Mineral County’s Office of Student Services encourages parent/guardian involvement in their children’s education and is willing to discuss individual student needs.  Please contact your child’s teacher, principal or guidance counselor to discuss school-based concerns or call the Student Services at
304-788-4218.  
Mineral County Schools will be posting annual notices of information for the public on its website.  The website is under-going some reconstruction and the “new look” will soon be displayed.  We want to make this website a source of information for everyone.
The Board of Education recently approved its ten-year Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan (CEFP) to guide its facility management during the years 2010-2020.  The just-approved CEFP continues to implement the Board’s support of neighborhood schools.  The approved CEFP has been delivered to the School Building Authority and the West Virginia Department of Education for compliance review.  Both agencies have given approval and the Plan has been forwarded to the State Board of Education for final approval.  I want to thank members of the community-based committee who developed the CEFP.  They worked diligently to prepare a quality document.  Members of Mineral County Schools’ central office served as liaisons to the committee and provided requested documentation to assist the committee in completing its work. 
A reminder that with the start of school, school buses are making regular morning and evening runs.  While we encourage our bus operators to drive defensively, we also ask that all drivers look out for our buses and watch for children at the designated bus stops.  Also, obey traffic laws that require drivers to stop when buses are stopped and have their lights flashing.  Safety of our children is our most primary concern.