At the January 24 Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, superintendent Terrence Beam spoke about the need for PRO – Prevention Resource Officers – in the school system. There was a PRO program in the past, with officers from the Pocahontas County Sheriff’s department dividing time between the department and the school system.
It has been several years since officers have been in the schools, and Beam said it is time to discuss bringing them back.
“We’ve been talking about this for quite a while now,” he said. “If we would be given permission to hire one, it would primarily be for Pocahontas County High School, but they would be assigned to all five schools in the event that we have an issue somewhere else. If the board approves two positions, the [second] officer will be used mostly at the middle schools.”
Posting the position for two PRO officers was on the agenda, but Beam said that he doesn’t want to post the position until the board has reviewed the proposal and agrees with what the officers will be asked to do at the schools.
Beam added that the vetting process for hiring an officer will be strict because if the board agrees that the officer should be armed, Beam said they want to make sure the armed individual is properly trained.
“Our intent is to try to find a retired officer that already has the training and has a permit to carry a gun,” he said. “We’re not just going to hire a civilian and put a gun on their side and say, ‘you’re a security officer.’ It’s not going to be that way.”
The board discussed the issue and approved to post two positions for PRO officers and agreed that the officers should be allowed to carry a gun.
• Ruth Bland gave an update on the preschool program and explained the process of placing students there.
Bland said preschool application will be March 1 and parents of four-year-olds and three-year-olds with IEPs will be welcome to enroll their children at that time. Although preschool is not mandatory in the state of West Virginia, Pocahontas County Schools offers the program, but due to limited class size, students are not always enrolled at their first choice school.
“If someone here in the Green Bank area applies in early August and I already have twenty in the classroom, I can offer them a slot at Marlinton or Hillsboro Elementary or at Schools Days if there are slots open there,” Bland said. “It’s also dependent on getting the paperwork done and getting it done in time.”
Bland explained that she tries to keep the classes at 18 four-year-olds as she enrolls them in case there are three-year-olds with IEPs who apply. Those students then fill those slots that are left open.
“We try to keep two slots open so any three-year-old child that may have a disability can come in and have a slot in that preschool,” she said. “All three of my preschool teachers are preschool special needs teachers, so we have an integrated program. That means all the children are together.”
Bland, who is retiring at the end of June, reiterated the importance of preschool and said she hopes her successor continues to be a “cheerleader” for the preschool program.
“Folks say, ‘preschool is just about play,’ – well yes,” she said. “That’s what it’s supposed to be because a child’s work is play. When we’re rubbing those Play-Doh animals together, we’re developing fine motor skills and gross motor skills. When we’re out on the playground doing those different things that you see, they’re developing eye-hand coordination. They’re developing balance.
“All of those which are necessary for reading,” she continued. “We need those children in preschool classes getting all that exposure so that when they do hit kindergarten, they’re hitting the kindergarten ready to become readers, to become mathematicians. We need strong preschool programs in place.”
Bland also gave an update on the special education program and the annual review by the state.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Out-of-state travel requests:
– Up to six Pocahontas County High School ProStart students and ProStart instructor Teresa Mullen, to travel by private vehicle to The Greenbrier Resort, February 26 through February 28, for the Annual Hospitality and Tourism Conference, participating in restaurant management and culinary arts seminars. Trip funded by ProStart fundraising.
– Up to 32 Pocahontas County High School CTE students, carpentry instructor Duane Gibson and welding instructor Justin Kerr, to travel by school bus or private vehicles, pending total qualifiers to Fairmont State University, March 23 through March 25, to participate in the SkillsUSA state competition. Trip funded by SkillsUSA and CTE funding.
– Up to 65 students, along with Aaron Pugh, Anita Workman and Wanda Hrabina, to travel by school bus to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia, for a day trip April 26, to study the variety of old and new cultures that have been introduced in the World Studies Curriculum. Trip funded by PCHS trip funds and participants.
• Green Bank Elementary-Middle School pepperoni roll fundraiser.
• Parent and community volunteers for the 2022-2023 school year.
In personnel management, the board approved:
• Retirement date revision for Ruth A. Bland, as director of special education/student support services, transportation and technology integration specialist, coordinator of preschool, technology, testing and WVEIS for Pocahontas County Schools, from July1, to June 30, 2023.
• Resignation of Michelle L. Ryder as itinerant licensed practical nurse/aide for Pocahontas County Schools, effective February 17.
• Employment of Travis J. Keatley as mechanic for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic service personnel pay grade F, effective January 26, for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year. Term of employment is 112 days. Term shall be 261 days each year thereafter.
• Nicole Rose-Taylor as volunteer fourth and fifth grade assistant basketball coach for Hillsboro Elementary School, effective for the remainder of the 2022-2023 athletic season.
• Creation of position, up to two Prevention Resource Officers (PRO) for Pocahontas County Schools, at contracted rate of pay for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year; salaries to be paid for by grant and/or county funds.
In special recognition, the board congratulated winners in the county Science Fair.
Engineering – first place, Jase Hamilton, HES, “Racing Downhill;” first place, Ava Fields, MES, “mEGGA frop EGGstreme;” second place, Blake Alderman and Alana Bennett, MES, “Newton’s Third Law;” and third place, Brantley Cox, MES, “How Windmills Makes Electricity?”
Life Science – first place, Moriah Thompson, GBEMS, “Yay or Neigh;” first place, Abigail Taylor, HES, “Which Treat Will Diesel Eat?;” first place, Madilene Burns and Julie Brown, MMS, “Dominant Paw;” first place, Willa Hardy, MMS, “Sprouting Beans;” first place, Kenslee Lane and Addison Hamrick, MMS, “Greasy Fingerprints;” second place, Jolene Workman and Hailey Goldsberry, MMS, “Relaxation Anyone;” second place, Sherry Walker, MMS, “The Germination Race;” second place, Riyan Gladwell and Ben Workman, MMS, “Candy vs. Curtesy;” and third place, Catherine Lucabaugh and Kaidence Cutlip, MMS, “Do Turtles Respond to Bright Colors?”
Science – first place, Jenifer Taylor, Cora Baldwin and Aaliyah Lawson, GBEMS, “Balloon Buggy;” first place, Madelyn Rittenhouse, GBEMS, “Balloon;” first place, Jarrell Clifton and Ace Gregory, MES, “Project Pop Explosion;” first place, Bella Arbogast, MMS, “Wishy Washy;” first place, Kegan Calhoun and Hemi Hammons, MMS, “Which Coin Will Glow the Brightest;” first place, Thomas Arbogast, Morgan Beverage and Steven Queen, GBEMS, “Which Mass of Arrow Heads Penetrates the Deepest?;” second place, Gage Starks, Gaven Starks and Caleb Smith, GBEMS, “How Many Mentos?;” second place, Jackson Tankersley, HES, “Going the Distance;” second place, Tara Hall, HES, “Will Putting Salt in Water Make it Cook Faster?;” second place, Chloe Annette, MMS, “Relighting Candles without Using the Wick;” second place, Emma Sacca and Savana Sharp, MMS, “Bouncing Basketballs;” second place, Baylee Nelson, Chaleigh Halterman and Sierra Nelson, GBEMS, “Glow Stick Reactions;” third place, Madelyn Albaugh, MES, “How Much Salt Does it Take to Make an Egg Float?;” third place, Mackenzie White, HES, “Walking Water;” third place, Noah Sharp, GBEMS, “Lava Lamp;” third place, Karliana Boyd, Kendall Taylor and Ivy Moore, GBEMS, “Does Color Affect Taste;” third place, George Shifflett and Silas Dean, MMS, “Lasting Lava Lamp;” third place, Irelyn Withers and Rylee Alderman, MMS, “Rainbow Rum;” and third place, Saige Arbogast, Jacob Clemmer and Nathanael Barkley, GBEMS, “Under Pressure.”
Leave a Reply