It was all about the numbers at the March 7 Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, when Pocahontas County High School math teacher Chris Sutton presented a proposal to turn a half-time position into a full-time position to better serve the students.
Sutton explained that there are currently two full-time math teachers, one full-time math and computer science teacher and a half-time computer science and robotics teacher. He said that if the half-time position was changed to full-time, the math department would be able to offer a SAT prep course to students who need a little boost to improve their scores.
“We have a bunch of students – if we could just get them over that benchmark line of the 510 for math on the SAT – so they can qualify for the Promise [Scholarship], those kids can earn $5,000 a year toward not just a four year institution, but a trade school, as well,” Sutton said.
Sutton said an average of 20 students are just below the cut off rate to be eligible for the Promise Scholarship, and if they could get their scores up by 20 points, that would help them qualify.
Along with the SAT pre course, the teacher could add addition engineering/robotics and computer science classes.
The rest of the math department – Laurel Dilley, Jennifer Nail-Cook and Casey Griffith – were also in attendance and they said there has been a waiting list of students who want to take computer science but are unable to because only two classes are offered.
The four teachers discussed the issue with the board, answering questions about the courses they wish to offer. The board thanked Sutton and the other math teachers for their presentation and said they will take the request under consideration.
The board was also addressed by parent Terrell McSweeney, who asked about WiFi availability during after school hours. McSweeney, who has a daughter at Marlinton Middle School and a son at Pocahontas County High School, explained that she was at her daughter’s basketball game at MMS the same night her son had a basketball game at Bath County High School.
She said her son was injured during the game and had a broken arm. Because McSweeney was at MMS, her phone did not have service and those in Bath County were struggling trying to reach her. Luckily they were able to call the Pocahontas County 911 Center, which, in turn, contacted Sheriff Jeff Barlow, who happens to be the basketball coach at MMS.
McSweeney said it turned out fine, but she said it would have been better if she had access to the WiFi. She said she understood that it is not possible to connect the public to the school’s network due to safety issues, but suggested that there be a separate WiFi network for the public, specifically during after hours events such as games.
Board president Sue Hollandsworth said the technical services department is looking into making a partition network that would free up a WiFi network at the schools for public use only.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• the 2023-2024 school calendar and reimagining time non-traditional instruction days application for Pocahontas County schools.
• annual Memorandum of Agreement – West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service and the County Extension Service committee, with the Pocahontas County Board of Education, for the 2023-2024 school year.
• Affiliation agreement – West Virginia University Board of Governors on behalf of West Virginia University and its Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, School of Social Work, with the Pocahontas County Board of Education in providing clinical education and/or fieldwork for the students of WVU in order to further promote educational opportunities.
• Memorandum of Agreement – West Virginia Department of Education, Community In Schools West Virginia (CIS) with Pocahontas County Board of Education, implementing the CIS model of integrated student support at Marlinton Middle School.
• Grow Your Own (GYO) WV Teacher Apprentice Program, providing daily classroom services to students in Pocahontas County classrooms.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Resignation of D. Julian Rittenhouse, due to retirement, as teacher of alternative education at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective June 30.
• Resignation of Dondi S. Stemple, due to retirement, as teacher of multi-subjects at Marlinton Elementary School, effective June 30.
• Resignation of Rebecca A. Evans, due to retirement, as cafeteria manager at Marlinton Elementary School, effective June 30.
• Resignation of Karen A. McCoy, due to retirement, as secretary III/accountant II at Marlinton Middle School, effective June 30.
• Resignation of Jan R. Jonese, due to retirement, as teacher of English/language arts at Pocahontas County High School, effective June 30.
• Resignation of Ronald G. Hall, due to retirement, as director of attendance/homeless liaison, maintenance and school safety for Pocahontas County Schools, effective June 30.
• Resignation of Cora Lee Carpenter, due to retirement, as executive secretary/accountant III for Pocahontas County Schools, effective June 30.
• Employment of Tabatha J. Ellis as licensed practical nurse/aide at Marlinton Elementary School, at state basic pay based on degree, plus $2,500 annual supplement (prorated), retroactive to March 3, for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year. Term of employment is 64 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
• Employment of Bradley S. Carpenter as head football coach for Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2023-2024 athletic season, at a supplement of $3,000, pending sufficient number of players to make a team.
• Employment of William F. Meehan, Jr. and Philip D. Simmons as volunteer assistant baseball coaches for the 2022-2023 athletic season.
• Resignation of Tiffany D. Long as substitute aide for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to February 28.
• Creation of position director of secondary education/CTE for Pocahontas County Schools, at state minimum salary in accordance with Pocahontas County administrative salary schedule, commensurate with experience and education level, effective for the 2023-2024 school year. Term of employment is 261 days. Should applicant be available for immediate employment, an earlier start date may be plausible.
• Creation of position assistant principal at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, at state minimum salary in accordance with Pocahontas County administrative salary schedule, commensurate with experience and educational level, effective for the 2023-2024 school year. Term of employment is 215 days. Should applicant be available for immediate employment, an earlier start date may be plausible.
In special recognition, the winners of the Young Writers Contest were shared with the board:
First and second grades – first place, Tyrell Davis, “The Three Cows.”
Third and fourth grades – first place, Madelyn Rittenhouse, “The Opossum;” and second place, Hunter Hefner, “Let’s Build a Snowman!”
Fifth and sixth grades – first place, Bailey Goodwin, “Anxiety Around the Corner;” second place, Autumn Hively, “The Buzzer Beating Basket;” third place, Mallory Koerber, “I Could’ve Done Something;” and honorable mentions, Sydney Slifer, “Connected Two;” Trey Sattler, “My Dog Rip;” and Mitchell Koerber, “The Legend of Johnny Cross-Eye.”
Seventh and eighth grades – first place, Thomas Arbogast, “The Mystical Flight of the Arrow;” second place, Nadiya Kerr, “The Golden Quill;” and third place, Willa Hardy, “The Unexpected.”
Ninth and 10th grades – first place, Callie Davis, “Out on the Rink;” second place, Ramona Hardy, “French Princess;” and Nathaniel Wimer, “John and Jeffery.”
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