Ladysmith Elementary evacuated after bomb threat

From NBC12 News: Two schools threatened with violence :

A Caroline County elementary school was evacuated Thursday morning due to a bomb threat. County deputies were called to Ladysmith Elementary around 9:20 a.m. because of a written bomb threat inside the school.

All the children were taken outside while the state police bomb squad went through the building with bomb-sniffing dogs. Less than two hours later, everyone was allowed back inside.

Ladysmith Elementary is working with deputies to find the culprit.

Stafford County deputies also are investigating a threat against one of the county’s schools.

Deputies searched the home of a 16-year-old student from Mountain View High School.

They received reports that the teen threatened several other students last Friday and talked about shooting up a class. Deputies recovered a BB gun and a knife at the home.

So far no charges have been filed against the teen.


What an idiot…

From Percy Ashcraft’s Message from the County Administrator September, 2007:


All county residents are encouraged to register for the new Caroline Alert System. The system will notify residents of emergencies and other government news through their cell phones and desktop computers. This is a free service offered by the Board of Supervisors. Click on to register.

“[O]ffered by the Board of Supervisors”? Are they paying for it out of their own pockets? No! The service is being offered (via tax payers) by Caroline County (specifically Director Ed Fuzy and the Caroline County Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management).


Here is a capsule glance of other activities that will be happening in County government during the month of September:


  • Renovations to the Animal Shelter will be completed this month and the improvements will bring the facility into compliance with state regulations.

We’re still waiting on that new animal shelter we been promised for years. Maybe if you laid off the trips to Hawaii, the $1,100,000 visitor’s center [see below], and the $17,460.20 salaries for supervisors we might be able to afford one.

  • Construction of the new Visitor’s Center along Route 207 will continue this month. The developer of Belmont contributed $1.1 million to help construct the facility, with the remainder of the funds coming from TEA 21 appropriations.

Nice use of proffer money that should be going to roads, schools, and public safety (maybe even an animal shelter).


  • County staff and consultants continue to work on a proposal that will allow the County to withdraw water from the Rappahannock River in the future. The Department of Environmental Quality must grant its approval before water can be withdrawn.

Because it’s a brilliant idea to run water lines across a county from Port Royal to Ladysmith for salt water that will need to go through desalination and be repressurized repeatedly.


  • Construction is underway on the new Ladysmith Elementary School.

What about the repairs/upgrades for Bowling Green Primary School, Bowling Green Elementary School, and Ladysmith Primary School?

  • Construction is underway of a new skateboard park to be located at the County Park across from Caroline Middle School.

Skateboard park? $45,000 for a skateboard park? Good use of tax payers’ money there.


  • Officials of the Rappahannock Community Services Board are building a new facility in Caroline County across from Caroline High School. The property was donated by the Board of Supervisors.

Did the Board of Supervisors own the damn property? No! The property belonged to Caroline County!


  • A cost analysis and design of the new Sparta Fire Station will continue this month.

That was requested and approved last year and you haven’t even finished the cost analysis and design?

  • The Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of the Union Bankshares building in Bowling Green at its June 26 meeting. Moseley Architects will begin final design of the floor plan for the offices which will include housing the Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer, County Administration and possibly the Registrar.

First, it’s Commissioner of Revenue, not Commissioner of the Revenue. Second, I don’t see the seventy-five (75) personnel there that you talked about previously. In fact, I only see twenty (20) to twenty-one (21) full time positions period. Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Services have eighty-eight (88) full time positions that could have used a public safety building.

  • A Tea 21 grant to fund landscaping improvements in and around the courthouse complex was announced in May by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The improvements will improve safety for pedestrians walking between buildings and should provide additional parking.

Closing Ennis Street is going to increase safety for pedestrians? How are the prison transport vans supposed to get into the Circuit Court building? Now you’re going to have people that are being held on felonies out in the open where God only knows what could happen.

“[S]hould provide additional parking”? It either is or isn’t; you already paid for it and you don’t know?

Caroline County Public School Division overall fails to make adequate yearly progress (AYP)…

and only two schools (Bowling Green Primary and Bowling Green Elementary) made adequate yearly progress period. Meanwhile, 72% of the schools in Virginia did make AYP.

PDFs for the schools:

Apparently, $34,832,460 (operating budget only) isn’t enough money for Caroline County Public Schools. Am I the only one that thinks we need vouchers? They spent $7,952.68 per student last year; with that amount of money you could send your child to Fredericksburg Christian Schools and have between $722.68 and $1814.68 (depending on grade) left over.

What the hell?

From Grading changes spark complaints in Stafford:

Anne Jacobsen doesn’t mince words when asked about revised report cards for some of Stafford County’s fourth- and fifth-graders.

She hates them.

Meanwhile, administrators say the concept is catching on nationwide.


The School Board discussed the numerical grading scale during a meeting this week, with some recommending changes.

Five of the county’s 17 elementary schools, including Stafford Elementary, will use it for the second time this year, Director of Curriculum Chris Quinn told the School Board.

It’s already in place for students in grades one through three at every elementary school. Rather than A through F, they’re graded on a scale of 1 through 4, with 4 being the best.


Using numbers instead of letters gives a more detailed account of student progress, he said. Instead of receiving a single grade for writing, for instance, students get separate marks on composition and written expression.

Let’s see, with A through F, that’s one, two, three, four, five levels, right? With one through four, that’s only one, two, three, four levels, right? (“Look, ma! I can count!”) So how is that more detailed?

Respondents in a recent survey, which questioned parents and teachers involved with the pilot program, gave the initiative mixed reviews.

But some School Board members say they’re hearing a lot of concern from parents of students in all grade levels.

“I’m just dumbfounded that in the face of all this opposition, someone found a reason to continue it,” Jacobsen said.

Sounds like the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor, no?

In an e-mail, one parent said she likes the layout of the new report card but suggested using letters instead of numbers.

The numerical scale enables students to rebound from poor test scores, as long as they understand the material by the end of a grading period, Quinn said. That’s not necessarily the case with the old formula, he said, which averages all scores into one grade.

So, you don’t have to do anything until the end of the grading period? The work you do has no basis on your grade? Where was this system when I was in school?

Still, many parents say they think it will make for a harder transition to middle school, where students receive letter grades.

But Quinn said the new report card will be passed along to middle school teachers, giving them a better idea of their students’ strengths and weaknesses.

All fourth- and fifth-graders in Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg receive letter grades.

School Board member Dana Reinboldt is skeptical of the new scale, saying she likes the concept but wants to incorporate A’s and B’s.

Others think it is unclear. For some students, a 2 might be equal to a D-plus, unbeknownst to parents, said School Board member John LeDoux.

“If the teachers, the students and the parents don’t understand it, we just can’t point at them and say, ‘Try harder,'” LeDoux said.

In a telephone interview, Quinn floated some adjustments, such as assigning a letter grade based on a student’s overall marks in a subject.

For example, a child with a total of 35 to 40 points in math categories could receive an A.

As for Jacobsen, she has two kids who made the honor roll in fifth grade. But now, she said, students have little motivation to shoot for such accolades because they seem to get 3 grades no matter what.

The kids “are told a 3 is great,” said Bonnie Knight, the mother of a rising third-grader at Stafford Elementary. “They’re told that 4’s are basically impossible to get.”

Gotta teach those kids to love mediocrity.

This fall, school officials plan to host informational meetings for all of the county’s elementary school parents.

But some parents don’t want any more explanations.

“I don’t know why they’ve ever wanted to change something that’s been working for so many years,” Knight said.

Because they’re the government? D’uh.

Apparently I need to change the grade I gave Newsday awhile back.