Berkeley Co. BOE discusses MBCPR update, special education report | Journal-news


MARTINSBURG — The Berkeley County Board of Education had its regular meeting Monday evening, where it heard from the new executive director of Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation and discussed the special education report.

New MBCPR Executive Director Joe Burton came to talk to the board and update members on everything the organization is working on. MBCPR maintains 18 parks and recreational facilities throughout the county and offers 30 different programs, camps and leagues for both kids and adults.

Burton explained how MBCPR was founded by the Martinsburg City Council, Berkeley County Commission and Berkeley County BOE, and it is through their support that it can serve the community the way it does.

Most of MBCPR’s funding comes from programs and facility rentals throughout the year. However, it also relies on support from organizations like the BOE and other grant funding.

Burton also presented MBCPR’s Master Plan for Community Enhancements, which it shared in January, detailing plans coming up in the next several years. This includes creating Spring Mills Community Park and the expansion of Poor House Farm Park. Burton finished the presentation by thanking the board for its support.

After the parks and recreation update, David Dilly, assistant superintendent of special education, and Kelli Duranko, director of pre-K and elementary special education, talked about some of the things the special education department is dealing with. The board had several questions concerning discipline and behavior issues.

Duranko explained some of the laws that the school system must follow when dealing with certain discipline issues. These laws help protect students and make sure they continue to receive their education. The district works together with its legal team and behavioral staff to find ways to serve these students, whether that means setting up an intervention or finding other ways to help them. However, when all the resources do not work for the student, the district finds another placement for the student.

“We have seen an increase in the number of special-needs students that are coming to our district,” Superintendent Ronald Stephens said. “That percentage is increasing on a yearly basis that needs that attention. There are younger students that are coming in, and based on the statistics you just heard, we are taking action.”

Stephens understands that people are frustrated waiting for placement, but there are not many openings, and resources meant to help these students get placement are not available. However, Stephens reassured the board that it is doing as much as possible to help these students.

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