Pocahontas County Schools joined the Farm-to-School movement in 2011, implementing gardens at the schools and in the classrooms. At the board of education meeting Monday night, director of food services Lisa Dennison and AmeriCorps volunteer Carl Kelk gave an update on the program that is growing by leaps and bounds in every school.
“This past year, Carl and I have worked hard together on stuff that’s been planted and started,” Dennison said. “We’ve been able to put a lot of it in fruition. It seems like, to me, some of the most successful schools and counties in the Farm-to-School program are the ones that are actually growing things in the classrooms with the kids, and the kids are using the produce. They are actually eating it or selling it.”
Kelk added that there are several projects in the works at schools to add gardens and greenhouses to increase production.
“At Hillsboro, we’re going to build a garden there this year,” he said. “Rose’s Excavating is going to bring us the clean topsoil. Larry Hiner is going to donate the wood. We’re building a three foot by twenty-four foot long raised bed garden. The US Forest service donated some old firefighting tool boxes to put outside.”
Hillsboro Elementary School is also using grow lights in the classrooms.
On the opposite end of the county, the Green Bank Elementary-Middle School greenhouse is getting a makeover.
“Our other success story was Green Bank,” Kelk said. “When I first started in January, they wanted to tear it down. It was in bad shape. We’re rebuilding it. We have the plastic and tools on order. I’m getting these tables from Mill Gap Supply donated. They’re from the old greenhouse over there.”
Kelk said he has used the “beg, borrow and steal” method to improve the programs at each school, which has worked in the schools’ favors.
At Marlinton Middle School, the gardens are in great shape for the new planting season, and the greenhouse at Pocahontas County High School is ready for plants, as well.
Kelk added that he plans to build several raised beds at Marlinton Elementary School to increase the growing area for its students.
The board thanked Dennison and Kelk for the update and showed enthusiasm for the program.
• Coordinator of teaching and learning Christina Smith shared information on her progress in working with teachers. Smith is collaborating with teachers in and out of the classrooms to work toward self-directed goals. She is also providing resources to assist the teachers with education plans.
Smith plans to continue analyzing Westest 2 test scores in order to find problem areas and focus on ways to help students increase their understanding.
In financial management, the board approved the following:
• Payment of vendor listings of claims in the amounts of $19,691.66, $12,786.28 and $37,587.02.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Janet E. McNeel as volunteer for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
• The Pocahontas County archery team to use the ARC building as its practice facility, pending approval by the Pocahontas County Commission.
• Heather D. Simmons, Robert Simmons, David Smith, Jody Spencer and Rebecca Spencer as volunteer coaches for the Pocahontas County archery team, effective for the 2014-2015 season.
• To place Policy DK – West Virginia State Auditor’s Purchasing Car Policy and Procedures adopted by Pocahontas County board of education on 30-day comment.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Employment of Sarah A. Cover as classroom aide/bus aide at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School at state basic pay, retroactive to August 27, for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year, term of employment is 189 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
• Employment of Felicia L. Smith as itinerant special education classroom aide/bus aide at Marlinton Elementary School, at state basic pay, retroactive to August 27, for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year, term of employment is 189 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
• Employment of Margaret Worth as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools, effective September 10, for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.