Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday afternoon, math coach Joanna Burt-Kinderman informed the board about two new math courses at Pocahontas County High School for which she has created waivers.

“At the high school, we intend to offer two new courses next year,” Burt-Kinderman said. “One is a financial algebra class that we’re applying to teach as a math credit, so a student could use it as one of four required math credits. The second course is an elective course we’re calling robotics and mathematics.”

Burt-Kinderman explained that the robotics class will follow the Vex Robotics curriculum and will see students creating their own robots with their computer science skills, as well as welding skills.

“They’re real robots – the parts are built in a machinist shop,” she said. “We have a wonderful partnership with GBO [Green Bank Observatory] and Paul Marganian – who is an engineer – is going to be a kind of godfather to this project like we had with Ray Creager to start computer science. We do have real support for this, and we are in a situation of having teachers who will be learning alongside kids, and I think we have a pretty strong track record of that with our computer science programs.”

The math classes have started implementing financial algebra, to an extent, in their current courses, but next year, Burt-Kinderman said, the plan is to have it as a stand alone class. Adding both classes will keep PCHS at the top as far as implementing new math programs.

“We’re ahead of the curve on both of these things,” Burt-Kinderman said. “There are a handful of schools that are doing financial algebra. I know Harrison County is and I have great thanks for their folks who helped me walk through these first stages of the waiver forms.

“I’m super excited about it, in particular the financial math,” she continued. “We’ve been toying with that a little bit inside of other classes and we’ve got a good start on that, so totally confident that’s going to fly. The other one I’m confident in, but we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, yet. We’re going to have folks in there who have two years of computer science and folks in there who know how to weld. Not every student is going to be doing the same component of building that robot, and I think that’s very cool.”

Burt-Kinderman added that the CTE [Career and Technical Education] department with the WVDE is interested in following the progress of the class to see how well it goes.

The board thanked Burt-Kinderman for the information and her efforts in implementing new programs for the students.
With the board’s approval, the waivers will be filed with the West Virginia Department of Education for its approval.
In updates:

• Director of food services Lisa Dennison introduced Robert Iden, Kelly Miles and Rick Harless, of US Foods, Inc. They discussed the new Group Purchasing Organization, or GPO, which is implemented by the Country Road Cooperative in which Pocahontas County purchases food for its schools. Iden explained the GPO will help the school system save money as it will be like purchasing on a wholesale level.

The board thanked the representatives for their time and information.

• Superintendent Terrence Beam announced several special recognitions, including Service Personnel of the Year Joann Estep and Teacher of the Year Brooke Dickenson. Beam said both individuals, as well as the other candidates for both honors will be recognized at the annual Super Scholars event, Monday, May 14, at 6 p.m., at Pocahontas County High School.

Beam also recognized students who placed at the State Social Studies Fair: first place, Ramonda Hardy, political science individual; and Rachel Burns and Sarah Worder, political science group. Second place, Trenton Brock, geography individual; and Mason Solliday, sociology individual. Third place, Shayla Bennett, state and local studies individual; and honorable mention, Jaylee Doss, political science individual.

• Student representative Hunter Wilfong also had several special recognitions to announce. The FFA Equine Judging Team placed first overall. Members of the team also placed individually:  Ben Davis, first place; Noah Barkley, fourth place; and Charity Morrison, eighth.

The SkillsUSA TeamWorks team placed second on the state level. Members were: Braeden Hicks, carpenter; Trey Miller, mason; Logan Dilley, electrician; and Trevor McPeak, plumber.

Senior class honor graduates are: Cora Hedrick, Jake Faris, Briar Wilfong, Meggan Long, Caitlin Keatley, Hunter Wilfong, Caitlyn Sparks, Katie Gibson, Marley Brust, Hunter Tankersley, Madalaine Fleming, Mark Jordan, Briana Mills and Mary Grace Rich. Salutatorian is Laura Leyzorek and Valedictorian is Jacob Hise.

Serving as Junior Marshals at the graduation ceremony, Saturday, May 26, at 11 a.m., will be Taylor Tegtmeyer and Logan Woodruff.

Miscellaneous and personnel management will be published in next week’s edition of The Pocahontas Times.

The next board meeting will be Monday, May 21, at Hillsboro Elementary School, beginning at 4 p.m. with a work session with the staff of Marlinton Middle School and the staff of Hillsboro Elementary School, to be followed immediately by the regular agenda.