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Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.

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State Superintendent praises school recovery efforts

From school website:

If you are interested in making a donation to the LCPS Disaster Relief Fund please click on this link, which will lead you to the Louisa Education Foundation website where you can make an online tax deductible donation. If you would like to make a cash or check donation, please mail the donation to: Ava Pippin, LEF Director, at 953 Davis Highway, Mineral or to Doug Whitlock, LEF Treasurer, at POB 130, Mineral . If you send a check please designate in the “memo” section of the check that the donation is for the LCPS Disaster Relief Fund.

Open Houses will be held this week during the following days/times:

  • Wednesday, September 7 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Open House for LCMS and Trevilians Elementary
  • Thursday, September 8 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Open House for LCHS, Thomas Jefferson Elementary, Moss-Nuckols Elementary and Jouett Elementary students

Video of the earthquake: [youtube][/youtube]


State Superintendent praises school recovery efforts


The Louisa and Orange  county school systems were  among a few that were  praised today by the  Virginia Department of Education.

State Superintendent of  Public Instruction Patricia I.  Wright thanked the school  divisions for their efforts in  response to a series of natural disasters and emergencies  in April and August that  damaged schools, interrupt ed instruction and complicated operations in dozens of  divisions.

“I can’t think of another  time during my 35 years as an  educator when the public  schools of Virginia have  faced so many unexpected  challenges in so short a  period of time,” Wright said.  “I want to thank the superintendents, principals, administrators, teachers, support  staff and parents for every thing they have done in the  face of extraordinary circumstances to protect students and staff from serious  injury, minimize disruptions  to instruction and provide  children with safe learning  environments.”

The 2011-2012 school year  started for many schools  yesterday, but Louisa and  Orange have delayed the  start of school until Sept. 12  to allow for safety inspections and repairs.

Schools in Louisa County  originally opened Aug. 15,  and students were in classes  when a magnitude 5.8 earth quake struck Aug. 23, with  its epicenter in the heart of  the county. Six students  suffered minor injuries. All  six county schools were  closed and two suffered major damage.

County officials estimated  the damage to public school  structures at more than $57.5  million.

Engineers advised school  officials that Thomas Jefferson Elementary and Louisa  County High School cannot  be used for at least this  school year due to structural  damage.

Louisa schools have been  closed since the earthquake.

Aside from Louisa County,  Orange’s schools suffered  the most damage in the area,  Superintendent Bob Grimesey said.

All of Orange’s schools  have been approved for occupancy, but a few need attention.

Grimesey said the gymnasium of the Locust Grove  Primary School (formerly the  Locust Grove Elementary  School) will be closed for  four to six weeks while  structural blocks in the walls  are removed and reset.

At the high school, wall  tiles must be replaced. At the  Taylor Education Administration Complex, the former  gym can be used by only 30  Head Start students or Boys  and Girls Club members at  one time (in the event the  gym must be evacuated)  until blocks and mortar are  replaced.

Other schools around the  state suffered damage from  an April tornado and from  Hurricane Irene last month.

“All of these challenges  have tested the leadership of  the affected school divisions,  and in every instance, the  responses of superintendents, administrators and  principals have been characterized by resourcefulness,  ingenuity and a determination to minimize the impact  on instruction and student  learning,” Wright said.  “School divisions have  reached out to each other  during these disasters and  emergencies to render assistance and have provided  critical support to local, state  and national emergency  management and relief agencies.”

Wright also thanked local  governing bodies and officials for providing the financial support school divisions  need to recover from emergencies and natural disasters.

“From one end of the  commonwealth to the other,  communities have rallied  around their public schools,”  Wright said. “This ‘can do’  spirit is getting the new  school year off to a good  start—despite the challenges some divisions still  face.”

Virginia Department of  Education staff are providing  technical guidance to school  divisions affected by the  most recent events—the  earthquake and hurricane— as they adjust school calendars and schedules while  ensuring that state requirements for instructional time  are met.

Portsia Smith:  540/374-5419


Click here to see photo slideshow of damage:

Louisa County High School:

Thomas Jefferson Elementary: