JCS students getting off a school bus on the first day of school

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Jefferson County Schools (JCS) welcomed more than 8,200 students back to school on August 21, the first day of the 2023-2024 school year. JCS Superintendent Dr. Chuck Bishop said in a letter to families that he is excited to be part of the school system. JCS has much to celebrate, and Dr. Bishop said he is ready to keep that momentum going by listening and collaborating with families, students, and staff.

“The education landscape has changed over the years, and it is our responsibility to adjust accordingly. Jefferson County Schools does many things well, but our collective goal should be to Elevate Jefferson.”

Dr. Bishop said Elevate Jefferson will be a unifying theme families and staff will see throughout the school year. It includes reviewing processes, procedures, and practices that work well and considering alternative solutions when necessary.

Elevate Jefferson also points to the culture at JCS Dr. Bishop said is based on a set of beliefs and values where all students are celebrated. He said everyone in the community plays a role in establishing and maintaining that culture each day.

“There is no place in our school system for harassment, bullying, intimidation, or hate speech, and each of us has a responsibility to ensure that it is not tolerated.”

Dr. Bishop said student and staff safety remains the priority of the school district and that JCS will continue to foster an environment where students feel physically and emotionally safe.

Academics is also an ongoing focus for schools in the district. JCS Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Mr. David Banks said he is excited to get started. 

“We look forward to the 2023-24 school year and our goal of continuous academic improvement for every student in Jefferson County,” Mr. Banks said.

In elementary schools, students in grades three through five will once again receive individual grades for social studies and science classes. Those subjects were combined with language arts and math last school year to help recover some of the learning lost during the pandemic. This year, all four core subjects will be taught separately as it was in the past.

“The three R’s of Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships are key to improving student achievement across the system,” Mr. Banks said. “In addition, we encourage our teaching staff to engage students through a variety of instructional strategies to allow students to learn through their own learning styles.”