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Superintendent's Blog 


Welcome to Bath County Public Schools!
Superintendent Sue Hirsh has served Bath County Public Schools as a teacher, head teacher, principal, central office administrator and superintendent since 1978.  She attended the University of Denver and received her bachelor's degree from Mary Baldwin College.  Her graduate degree in school administration is from James Madison University.  She lives in Hot Springs with her husband, Doug.  They have two adult children and two precious grandchildren.
November 16
Reasons Why Reading With Your Child Is a Habit Worth Keeping

​Some habits should be broken; some habits should be formed.  A recent article by by Adriana & George Sifakis in the Huffington Post on November 6, 2014 provides the reasons why developing a habit of reading daily with your child (or grandchild)can instill confidence, knowledge, and a love of reading:

1. Students who read 20 minutes per day score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests vs. students who read for 1 minute per day score in the 10th percentile on standardized tests.
2. Reading with your child, or alongside your child, models a love of reading for your child.

3. Students and children listen better and longer and develop a wider vocabulary.

4. Reading together promotes social and emotional interactions among family members.

5. Reading together engages children and parents in a nurturing way.


November 11
Get Ready - With Winter Comes School Closings and Delays

​          BusSnow.jpg

Fall is here.  The leaves have changed colors and are on the ground.   Temperatures are falling and there has been a mention of the possibility of “light snow” or a “wintery mix” in the near future.   All of these are signs that winter is on its way, and with winter there is the potential for weather related school closings and delays.
Superintendents do not like winter.  Closing school due to inclement weather is one of the more difficult and controversial tasks superintendents must undertake.  In such decisions the safety students and employees is always first.
So, how are weather related school closings and delays determined?
Monitoring several internet websites and local news for short and long term forecasts is an ongoing process, however making school closing or delay decisions on a forecast is not always the best action for weather is not a precise science. 
Conversations with the sheriff’s office, state transportation, and transportation staff to assess road conditions must take place early enough to make a closing or delay decision by 6:00 AM.  Occasionally, a 2-hour delay opening becomes a closing.  Such a change must be made by 8:00 AM.  If weather and road conditions are known and warrant a closing or delay, a decision is made the night before.
The SchoolMessenger notification system is launched to notify parents, students, and staff of a delay or closing by phone, e-mail and/or test message.  The notification process includes four attempts to complete phone calls.  If a number is busy, the system will try three more times.  It is important that parents notify schools of updated contact information and notification preferences.
Radio (WCHG 107.1) and television stations (WDBJ 7 and WSLS 10) are notified as well.
Occasionally, school closings or delays are made for reasons other than weather.  The SchoolMessenger system may announce a closing due to other emergency situations - electricity outages, water problems, or heating problems.
Again, school decisions to close or delay school are taken seriously and are often difficult to make, but will always err on the side of safety.




November 10
Veterans Day - November 11, 2014

The following was written by Representative Randy Forbes (Virginia's 4th Congressional District) and posted on November 7, 2014.  He shares five things you may not have known or remember about Veterans Day.

Daily, we are surrounded by heroes. There are men and women in our neighborhoods, sitting next to us in our churches, coaching our children's soccer teams, and standing next to us at the gas station, who have made selfless commitments, faced harrowing situations, and borne the weariness of battle. On Veterans Day, we are once again reminded of the ways in which our freedoms and liberties have been preserved by the dedicated service of the men and women in our Armed Forces.

How much do you know about the history and vision behind Veterans Day? Here are five things you may not have known about this federal holiday.

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and it’s always on November 11th. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, fighting between the Allied nations and Germany ceased with an armistice. Armistice Day, established in 1919, was set aside to honor veterans of World War I. Decades later, Veterans Service Organizations pushed for Congress to replace Armistice with the word Veterans. It wasn't until 1954 that Veterans Day became a day to honor all Veterans.

When President Woodrow Wilson issued the declaration for the observance, he said the day should “be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations...”

Veterans Day and Memorial Day are similar, but serve different purposes. Memorial Day honors those individuals in our U.S. Armed Forces who died while serving our nation. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served in our Armed Forces honorably during war or peace, either living or deceased.

The first unknown soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921. Arlington National Cemetery now holds a Veterans Day National Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier each year on Veterans Day. It begins precisely at 11 a.m. Engraved on the tomb are the words, “Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier Known but to God.”

Americans often wear poppies on Veterans Day. This vibrant red flower is known for thriving on disturbed soil and symbolically represents those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Although poppies are traditionally associated with Memorial Day, many individuals choose to wear poppies on Veterans Day, too, in honor of those who lost their lives in service.

There are nearly 800,000 veterans living in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  That’s nearly 800,000 unique reasons we, as citizens of the Commonwealth have to observe Veterans Day.

As you go about your day this Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our service members have made for our nation. Fly an American flag. Shake hands with veterans to say thank you. Participate in local parades to honor the living.  Wear poppies to remember the fallen. Talk to your children about how we’re free because of the brave.  Read more about the history of Veterans Day on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. Show our veterans that we are grateful to be surrounded by men and women of such courage. 



October 15
School Flumist Clinics

     Influenza can be a serious disease, especially in the very young, the very old and in people with certain medical conditions which make them vulnerable to the effects of flu.  Influenza is also the cause of many school and work absences.  Although no vaccine provides 100% protection, it is important that as many people as possible be vaccinated.

    This year the Central Shenandoah Health District (Virginia Department of Health) and Bath County Public Schools are partnering to offer students the nasal mist vaccine against influenza, Flumist, which appears to be the most effective in children with the exception of children with asthma who regularly use inhalers and children with weakened immune systems.  These children should receive the injectable vaccine from their health care provider or the local health department.

     Flu clinics have been scheduled for each school:
Millboro Elementary School – Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Valley Elementary School – Monday, October 20, 2014
BCHS – Wednesday, October 22, 2014
     A consent form for each child must be completed and submitted prior to vaccination.  Stud Influ Vacc Consent form.pdfStud Influ Vacc Consent form.pdf 
     The charge for the vaccine is $25 for each dose.  The Health Department will accept payments from insurance companies or payers with which the VDH has a billing arrangement, including Medicaid, Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, FAMIS, Coventry Cares, Optima, Carenet, Virginia Premier, Majesta Care, and Anthem Healthkeepers Plus.  If your child is insured by some other company, you will receive a bill for $25 per dose.

    Should you have any questions, contact Jackie Baughan, R.N., at the Bath County Health Department (839-7246).


September 27
SchoolMessenger Delivers Important School Information

​SchoolMessenger is the notification system used by BCPS to provide timely school closing information and occasional emergency notifications.  Parents and others may receive messages by phone, e-mail, and/or text message.  By default, the system will use phone contact information provided on emergency care forms, however you may adjust contact information for your specific needs or preferences.  Directions are provided from the division's SchoolMessenger website:

School secretaries will be glad to help you if you have questions or need assistance with your personal online account.



September 22
Science Meets Art

Last week a 3-day artist-in residence program, “Science Songs Rock” provided opportunities for Millboro and Valley Elementary School students in grades 3-5 to explore songwriting and music performance.  Students created songs, poems, stories, drama, and narratives related to the Virginia Standards of Learning for Science.  Students performed with guest musicians for a final concert.          

                        DSC01964.jpg                                  DSC01968.jpg

This program was sponsored by the Bath County Arts Association. Other programs sponsored by the BCAA include visual and performing arts programs, supplemental elementary art education, and student scholarships.

A few program videos are linked below.  These large files may take a minute to load.

Science songs rocks at valley elementary_ lava lava BOOM!.mp4Science songs rock at valley elementary_ lava lava BOOM!.mp4

Science songs rock -  valley elementary.mp4Science songs rock - valley elementary.mp4 

Science songs rocks valley elementary- round the sun[1].mp4Science songs rocks valley elementary- round the sun[1].mp4

September 22
Progress Reports To Be Sent Home Today

​In the first quarter of the school year teachers are getting to know their students and identifying their strengths and weaknesses.  Parents are wondering how their children are transitioning into a new school year and how they are progressing academically.  So, at the midpoint of the first grading period, progress reports will be sent home today.  Parents are encouraged to contact teachers if they have any questions or concerns, and likewise, teachers will request a conference with parents if necessary.     

Throughout the year, parents can check student academic progress and attendance information online through a “Parent Portal” of our student records system. Parents should use the following link to create personal accounts to connect with their children's records.




September 17
Did you know ...?

Today is the 225th anniversary of the Constitution.  Since 2004, September 17 has been federally designated as Constitution Day or Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. The Federal Convention had first convened in May to revise the Articles of Confederation, but the need for an entirely new frame of government became clear. State delegates debated issues, such as federalism and representation, all through the summer as they drafted the articles of the new Constitution.

September 15
25 Ways to Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 'So How Was School Today?'

​When my children were in school, I routinely asked, "How was school today?"  I usually received the same one word answers - fine, Ok, or alright.  I finally figured out that my questions should be more specific and varied if I was truely going to engage them in meaningful conversations about school. 

Late last month the Huffington Post reprinted lists from the Simple Simon and Company blog.  I could have used this information, so I anticipate that parents might find the suggestions useful now.  Use this link to access questions for elementary and high school students:

September 11
Patriots Day

​13 years later, we join the rest of our nation to honor victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


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Sue Hirsh, Division Superintendent 


P.O. Box 67  Warm Springs, VA  24484

12145 Sam Snead Highway     Warm Springs, VA

(p) 540-839-2722     (f) 540-839-3040