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BOE considers future of athletic trainer position

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the January 28 Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, the board was asked to consider the possibility of creating an athletic trainer position for Pocahontas County High School sports.

PCHS athletic director Kristy Tritapoe explained to the board that current football trainer Jessica Shinaberry will not return to the position after this school year and said she was looking at alternatives for an athletic trainer position to provide services for all sports, not just football.

Tritapoe said a community member contacted Seneca Trail Physical Therapy owner Kevin Workman. Workman, in turn, passed the information on to his employees, and one employee, in particular – Nick Dailey – showed interest in helping the board and put together a presentation based on his research.

Dailey explained that the West Virginia Athletic Trainers Association met with the West Virginia Department of Education to discuss changes to the trainer policy which at this time, only requires a trainer for football season.

“The stats state that West Virginia leads, per capita, in sports-related deaths since 2000,” Dailey said. “That’s a stat that I don’t want to be first in nationally. We have an option to put best practices in place. None of those [athletes who died] had access to a fully certified athletic trainer. Most of them did not have access to any kind of healthcare services from the sports medicine standpoint.

“It’s preventable,” he continued. “I don’t want to see it happen anywhere. I’m proposing this thought to you – the board of Pocahontas County – that you can lead in the change that has obviously taken attention in Charleston.”

Dailey proposed that the board consider posting a full-time teaching position for an athletic trainer/ teacher who would train with all the high school sports and middle school football, as well as provide classes of medical interest at the high school.

“What I’m really proposing is that you look at a certified athletic trainer who’s just graduated with a required Master’s degree,” Dailey said. “You’re going to get Master’s education personnel. I’m partnering with you on this to find a way to fund them to obtain their teaching certificate, install them in a program where they can come in and build a curriculum for you that is healthcare oriented.”

This program has been implemented in several schools in West Virginia, Dailey said, including Huntington and Cabell Midland high schools.

Dailey added that Seneca Trail will continue to help provide physical therapy for student athletes to assist the athletic trainer.

On top of ensuring the safety and well being of all student athletes, Dailey said the position will also expose students to the healthcare field.

“Kevin and I both agree that this would be an excellent thing for your school – not just from a student athlete safety standpoint – but if we can get behind and invest and push into it a little bit, there’s a curriculum out there that is going to expose these kids to healthcare and other professions that maybe they didn’t realize were out there to help get them started right now in high school on that professional path,” Dailey said.

Using Huntington and Cabell Midland as examples, Dailey said the curriculum could explore osteopathy, traditional medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, chiropractic, EMT certification, paramedics and more.

Dailey volunteered to help the board search for grants and other funding sources to create the position and help recruit an athletic trainer, if necessary.

“I think there’s room for it,” Dailey said. “To me, it’s a no brainer. Because, what you’re doing is, instead of trying to recruit high level quality healthcare personnel [for the community], let’s start building them here.”

The board discussed the logistics of the position with Dailey and thanked him for the presentation. The board said it would consider the position and see if there is room for adding it to the personnel in the school system.

In updates:

• The board held a calendar hearing to present the proposed 2020-2021 school calendar. The proposed calendar holds 180 days of instructional time with the first day of school on August 11 and the last day on May 21. The calendar maintains Thanksgiving break, Christmas break and Spring break, none of which can be taken away by make-up days.

• Superintendent Terrence Beam reported that he spoke again with the teacher from Japan who wishes to bring students to visit Pocahontas County Schools. Originally, the idea was to bring students in March, but Beam convinced the teacher it would be better for the students to come in September.

“It was too quick of a turnaround with all the requirements that need to be done, so we’re looking at September, which I told him would be much better for us because we have so many festivals and things going on in September that kids from another country could have a chance to experience some of those,” Beam said.

The students will be in the 10-to-14 age group and will be in the county for three weeks, observing the schools and experiencing American culture.

Beam added that he met with County Commissioner Walt Helmick and Grow Appalachia coordinator Steve White to discuss use of the board property in Green Bank.

Grow Appalachia is interested in about an acre of the land to be used for a learning garden.

“There’s not going to be any cost to the board,” Beam said. “I don’t think they’re going to be fencing it or anything like that. It’s just going to be open space where they’re going to be providing some gardening. They’re going to do some workshops.”

Beam said he suggested Helmick and White meet with a board member at the site to further discuss logistics. The matter will be on the agenda for the February 18 meeting.

• The board did not approve use of Wi-Fi on personal devices by employees in Pocahontas County Schools.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• Chad Baldwin and Chasity Taylor as volunteer fourth and fifth grade basketball coaches at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2019-2020 season.

• Ronald Gordon and Jessie Sharp as volunteer fourth and fifth grade basketball coaches at Marlinton Elementary School.

• Joshua Hardy and Justin Taylor as volunteer fourth and fifth grade basketball coaches at Hillsboro Elementary School.

• Alexandra Luikart and Megan Luikart as volunteer fourth and fifth grade cheerleading coaches at Hillsboro Elementary School.

• Policy GBF – Pocahontas County Schools Reduction in Force Professional Personnel Lateral Positions.

• Green Bank Elementary-Middle School fifth grade students to travel by school bus to Massanutten WaterPark May 15, departing at 8:30 a.m. and returning to the school at 6 p.m.

• Teresa Mullen to transport two students, by private vehicle, to Simulated Workplace Workshop for Students in Martinsburg, April 20 and 21.

• Marlinton Middle School eighth grade students to travel by chartered bus to Busch Gardens Theme Park and Virginia Beach, Virginia, May 18 and 19. Trip to be paid for by fundraising.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Requested transfer of Kristin L. Kinnison from executive secretary/accountant III for Pocahontas County Schools to secretary II/accountant II at Hillsboro Elementary School, at state basic pay, effective January 30, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Term of employment is 90 days. Term of employment shall be 215 days each year thereafter.

• Unpaid medical leave of Susan Grant as teacher of multi-subjects at Marlinton Elementary School, effective March 9 or upon exhaustion of personal leave for a period of 12 weeks.

• Employment of Tammy Rider as itinerant licensed practical nurse/aide at Marlinton Elementary School, at state basic pay, effective February 3, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Term of employment is 84 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.

• Employment of Michelle Ryder as itinerant licensed practical nurse/aide at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, at state basic pay, effective February 3, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Term of employment is 84 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.

• Employment of Erica Hunter as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools, effective January 30, at state basic pay, as needed, for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, February 18, at the board of education conference room. The meeting will begin with a calendar hearing at 5:30 p.m., immediately followed by the regular agenda,

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