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What's New

Smyth Career and Technology Center's Greg Blackburn setting up laser cutter.

Smyth Career & Technology Center Precision Machining Students Use Laser Cutter to Create One-of-a-Kind Designs

Students in Greg Blackburn's precision machining classes at Smyth Career & Technology Center are gaining experience in creating custom designs using the school's Full Spectrum CO2 laser cutter. Custom-engraved water bottles (pictured in the inset photo above) featuring the mascots of each of Smyth County's three high schools have been extremely popular. The 45-watt laser can cut 1/4" wood and acrylic and mark anodized aluminum, glass, marble/granite, and Thermark treated metals. Mr. Blackburn and the students have been using the open-source Inkscape drawing program to create designs for the cutter. The class has raised hundreds of dollars through the sale of custom-engraved or cut products. Here is a closeup video of the laser cutter in action.

Problem 5 of Coding Challenge Honors Smyth County JAM

The Smyth County Chapter of JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) started up in January. To honor that event and recognize the relationship between learning music and developing creativity, the newest problem in the Smyth County Schools 2015 Coding Challenge requires participants to create a metronome, an essential tool for musicians.

State Board Honors Two Smyth County Elementary Schools

Rich Valley Elementary and Marion Elementary are among the schools honored by the Virginia Board of Education for raising the academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students. Rich Valley Elementary was selected as one of only nine Highly Distinguished Schools by the state board, for exceeding all state and federal accountability benchmarks for two consecutive years and achieving 85% or higher pass rates on state math and reading tests. Marion Elementary was named one of Virginia's 46 Distinguished Schools for meeting all state and federal accountability standards and achieving a 60% pass rate on state math and reading tests. More information…

Schools Adopt New Procedure for Screening Volunteers

Smyth County Schools have adopted a new screening procedure for school volunteers. Details…

Khan Academy Offers Free Resources to Help Students Prepare for New SAT

The web-based Khan Academy is offering free resources to help students prepare for the redesigned SAT college entrance exam. The College Board will begin delivering the new SAT to students in the spring of 2016. The new Khan Academy resources are free and available here.

Public Service Announcement Regarding Stopped School Buses

Recently, Smyth County Public School bus drivers have reported an increase in the number of vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses. As a school division, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our students. We are asking our community to share this commitment. We would like to remind our community members that all motorists are required to stop when a school bus is loading or unloading children. All of our drivers are required to complete a pre-trip inspection to ensure all safety devices are working properly. All motorists should be aware that in the event these safety devices are not functioning, you are still required to stop when a bus is loading or unloading children. Drivers are required by state law to stop in all directions when the red lights on the bus are flashing and/or the stop sign is out unless they are travelling on a divided highway. There are penalties for failure to stop for a stopped school bus. Penalties may include:

Our students are our most precious resource, and we take the responsibility of ensuring their safety seriously. Central Office staff, school administrators and bus drivers work together to coordinate our bus stops and have as many students as possible load and unload on the passenger door side of the road. This is not always possible and as a result, some students actually have to cross the road when they are loading and dismissing from the school bus. When a bus is stopped and its red lights are flashing, a child could potentially have to cross the road in front of traffic. Please consider all of the above mentioned safety rules to ensure the safety of our students.