Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday afternoon, Pocahontas County High School principal Joe Riley updated the board on his plan to change the high school’s schedule from block to a seven-period day.

Riley began the process earlier this year and has worked with staff to create a schedule they feel is suitable to meet the students’ needs.

“My staff has been working hard to try to figure this out,” he said. “One thing we did, we put a lot of honors classes in because we’ve noticed that there are kids that needed to go faster in some classes. We’ve pretty much ironed that out. We’ve got a couple more little things I think we need to tweak and then just get the schedule out there to kids and have them start signing up to see if it will actually work.”

Riley said the schedule may not be perfect and there are still improvements that may need to be made, but he is happy with what the staff has designed and plans to use the schedule for the foreseeable future.

“I told the staff whenever we started doing this that I wanted a schedule that was going to last us four or five years,” he said. “I do not want to keep reinventing the wheel every year. Maybe we might have to tweak a few classes here and there, but I want the same schedule so the kids could start planning.”

With the new schedule, Riley said the staff was able to add more honors classes as well as improve on the vocational plan. Students taking vocational classes will be on a block-style schedule, so instead of taking Carpentry 1 all year long, the students will be able to take Carpentry 1 the first semester and Carpentry 2 the second semester, allowing them to earn two credits in one year.

Riley was also able to add an advanced driver’s education class which will give students an opportunity to earn their CDLs.

“I still have to try to figure out the driving part of it because I would like to have some of these kids to have CDLs in their pocket whenever they walk out the door,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out the driving part, but I can get Mr. [Bill] Brown to do the book work and the book work is where a lot of kids struggle.”

Riley said he also needs the board’s permission to combine certain classes, similar to the vocational courses, in order to give students a chance to earn more credits. He discussed combining health and physical education with teacher Abe Rittenhouse, who said he thought blocking the classes together was feasible.

Like vocational classes, Rittenhouse would teach the two classes at the same time, or one per semester and the students would earn two credits.

The board said the item will be on the next board meeting agenda as a voting item. The board thanked Riley for the update on the schedule.

In updates:

• Superintendent Terrence Beam informed the board he was approached by a school employee with questions concerning the Building Consensus survey committee. He said the employee thought the board was paying the committee to conduct a survey concerning the failed school levy. Beam said he wanted the public to know that the board is not affiliated with the committee in any way and is not paying them.

The committee consists of volunteers who are surveying voters in the communities about why they feel the levy failed.

• Student representative Kayla Gibson reported that several students will be attending the Bridge Day competition at Marshall University this weekend.

Gibson and Brandon Wilfong, as a team, placed 27th on the state level, and will travel to the event with the team of Jacob Hise, Brady Jones and Mark Jordan, where both teams will compete. 

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• To apply for Community Eligibility Provision for the 2017-2018 school year.

• Policy KM – Visitors to the Schools/Grounds.

• 2017-2018 board of education meeting schedule.

• Service Agreement between Pocahontas County Board of Education and SecuriTech, LLC, effective May 10, to perform work and furnish materials as described in service agreement.

• Evaluation of Superintendent’s performance for the 2016-2017 school year.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Requested transfer of Karen Murphy from teacher of multi-subjects, second grade at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School to teacher of early education at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, effective for the 2017-2018 school year. Term of employment shall be 200 days.

• Resignation of Cory A. Friel as custodian IV/sanitation plant operator at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective at the end of the day on May 15.

• Employment of Shelby L. Snead as substitute teacher of early childhood education at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, at state basic pay based on degree and experience, retroactive to April 12, for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year. Term of employment is 24 days. Employee will not be afforded reduction in force rights, transfer rights or preferred recall. Position is to be abolished at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, contingent upon board approval.

• Requested transfer of Ollie C. Barkley from custodian III at Pocahontas County High School to custodian IV at Marlinton Middle School, at state basic pay, effective July 1 for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year. Term of employment is 261 days.

• Resignation of Jamie D. Hill as substitute aide for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to the end of the day on April 24.

• Employment of Diane Delfino as itinerant teacher of special education (multi-categorical)/autism at Hillsboro Elementary School, half-time, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, effective for the 2017-2017 school year. Term of employment is 200 one-half days.

The next board meeting will be Monday, May 22, at Marlinton Middle School, beginning with a work session at 2:30 p.m., followed immediately by the regular meeting.

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