AHPS Success Stories Highlighted in VSBA Showcase Directory

AHPS Success Stories Highlighted in VSBA Showcase Directory
Posted on 05/02/2024

AHPS Success Stories Highlighted in VSBA Showcase Directory

LOW MOOR — Two programs in Alleghany Highlands Public Schools are featured in the Virginia’s School Board Association’s Showcases for Success directory. The directory highlights successful K-12 programs in Virginia’s public schools.

Included in the 28th annual Showcases for Success directory are Jeter-Watson Elementary School’s Working to Inspire and Nurture Great Students (WINGS) program, which is designed to address chronic absenteeism; and the Small Animal Care Community Initiative at Alleghany High School.  

“In addition to highlighting some of the best practices taking place in Virginia’s schools, the VSBA Showcases for Success directory can serve as a starting point to develop similar programs in other school divisions,” said Gina G. Patterson, VSBA executive director. “It is important to highlight the innovative and top-of-the-line programs that Virginia public schools have to offer, and the VSBA Showcases for Success directory illustrates that there are excellent programs and initiatives taking place in Virginia’s public schools.”

Small Animal Care classes at Alleghany High School are an example of the innovative teaching methods being used in Alleghany Highlands Public Schools. The classes, which are part of the agriculture program at the high school, broadened their scope this school year by giving students an opportunity to care for and observe small animals that are commonly adopted as household pets.

Through partnerships with animal-care organizations and businesses in the community, students enrolled in Small Animal I and Small Animal II gain experience in observing and caring for the animals. Students assess the animals’ welfare and critique how well they interact with people and other animals. 

As part of their learning experience, the students work with the school division’s communications specialist to generate social media posts and publicity to find homes for the animals. Through their work, many animals are being adopted, which helps the community by alleviating overcrowding at animal shelters. Businesses have donated funds and materials to support the program.

Small animal care classes are part of Career and Technical Education programs offered by AHPS. Small animal care has led some recent Alleghany High School graduates to pursue careers in veterinary science.

“Small Animal courses fill up quickly, and, even more so with this endeavor. I am very pleased at our partnership with the Alleghany Humane Society and Valley View Animal Rescue. Students learn animal welfare, behavior, grooming, training, and socialization skills for animals, as well as some students. We also have been able to utilize our program with the animals providing support to students and staff alike,” said Teresa Reed, agriculture teacher at AHS.

The Small Animal Care Community Initiative is a true community effort, and it is an example of how the Alleghany Highlands works together to support public education. 

“The reward is tremendous, and we are so grateful to be able to help these pets find their forever homes. It is community partnership with our school Future Farmers of America and monetary donations from Lytle Realty that help make us so successful,” Reed added.

Lytle Realty in Covington has provided funds to cover adoption fees at the Alleghany Humane Society and Valley View Animal Rescue. That means local residents can adopt the pets free of charge. Tractor Supply in Covington donated a large number of items and supplies including food and large crates to help students care for the animals. Also, Food Lion in Covington donated Purina Kitten Chow, and Chewy.com donated several cat and dog toys. Many of the  current students in small animal care classes have donated items, and faculty and staff across the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools have helped in many roles. 

At Jeter-Watson Elementary School, administrators, teachers, and support staff have creatively implemented Working to Inspire and Nurture Great Students (WINGS) to address chronic absenteeism among students. Chronic absenteeism has been a lingering issue in schools since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Jeter-Watson is combating the issue by using WINGS to build relationships with students and families. WINGS stresses the importance of making connections, and JWES staff and teachers focus on knowing each student by name and need. 

School staff members are assigned to students with chronic absences. Student and faculty members across other grade levels check on students periodically. The students are given positive praise and recognition. The staff members meet and greet students, and the staff communicates on a regular basis with families. To add a personal touch, handwritten notes are sent to parents to recognize the improvements students are making.

WINGS is bringing positive results, and the school has partnered with its PTO to start an “Attendance Matters'' initiative. Students are awarded t-shirts and other prizes as part of a friendly competition. WINGS will continue in 2024-2025, and JWES is developing more strategies to stress the importance of regular school attendance.

“We are thrilled to see the attendance improvements at Jeter-Watson Elementary this year. We strive to establish personal connections with our students. It positively impacts attendance rates. We want our students to feel valued and motivated to come to school. By taking attendance seriously and actively reaching out to absent students and their families, we send our message that each students' presence does matter and they are missed when they aren't in school,” said Jeter-Watson Principal Cynthia Morgan.

The Showcases for Success directory is available on the VSBA website at www.vsba.org/showcases. A total of 92 programs from 43 school divisions from across Virginia are included. 

"We are honored to have programs from AHPS recognized in this directory," said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS.  "Each day, we are thrilled to encourage good work across each and every one of our schools."

In addition to the directory, the VSBA has created a special edition newsletter featuring 12 of these programs, representing each region of the Commonwealth. The following counties and cities are featured: Amherst County, Danville City, Frederick County, Galax County, Henrico County, King and Queen County, Madison County, Prince William County, Pulaski County, Roanoke County, Stafford County, and Virginia Beach City. The  newsletter can be viewed here:



The Virginia School Boards Association Virginia School Boards Association is based in Charlottesville. It is a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards that aims to promote excellence in public education through leadership, advocacy, and services. The VSBA offers conferences, information, training, and counseling designed to meet the needs of the commonwealth's educational leaders.

The Alleghany Highlands Public School Division was created through the July 1, 2022, merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. Jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington, the school division serves approximately 2,700 students.

School division news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and at www.ahps.k12.va.us.


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