Superintendent Terrence Beam shared good news and bad news at the November 7 Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting.
Starting with good news, Beam said he will attend the West Virginia Association of School Nurses conference at Stonewall Jackson Resort to introduce Pocahontas County school nurse Jenny Friel, who was named West Virginia School Nurse of the Year.
Beam added that two elementary school teachers – Michelle Murphy and Kristie Tankersley – were both nominated for awards from the West Virginia Reading Association.
“Michelle Murphy has been nominated for the Dr. Jenny Bechtold Award by the West Virginia Reading Association,” he said. “This recognizes excellent examples of teachers with less than five years’ experience in the field of literacy. Also, Kristie Tankersley has been nominated by the same association. They recognize the teachers who make outstanding contributions to help the students become proficient in reading and motivating them to become lifelong readers.”
The winners will be announced November 17 during the WVRA conference at The Greenbrier.
Moving to the bad news, Beam said the Balanced Scorecard evaluation was delivered and the county was found deficient in three areas.
“This is basically a report card the school system gets every year,” Beam explained.
One area of deficiency was in personnel, which Beam was displeased with at first, but then realized it was not about the hiring process, but about the number of staff teaching classes they are not certified to teach.
“If they list a class in mythology and they don’t have the certification to teach it, we get marked down for it,” he said. “So we end up getting a bad grade on our report card, and I don’t like getting a bad grade on my report card.”
The next area of deficiency was attendance and Beam said only one county in the state was found not to have an issue with attendance.
The final area – math progress – was perplexing to Beam because the county’s math department has become known as being one of the best in the state.
“Math progress was marked down – our high school finished sixth in the state in math,” he said. “Some schools did really well in math, some did really poorly, but I was surprised because our math scores are actually better than our reading scores, but we were marked down in math instead of ELA.
“They said they’d get into more detail explaining these results to us later on, so I look forward to their explanation,” he added.
• Student representative Haley Spencer reported that Pocahontas County High School math and computer science teacher Jennifer Nail-Cook recently received a grant for computer science outreach which will be used to expose middle school students to computer science, engineering and robotics.
Spencer added that she and fellow PCHS senior Grace Beverage were recognized by the WVSSAC for athletic and academic excellence.
The PCHS student council is challenging each class to participate in a friendly competition of collecting food and toys for a food and toy drive during the month of December.
• On behalf of the PCHS baseball team, Brad Dunz, of Marlinton, approached the board with a request for a new scoreboard for the baseball field. He explained that the old one is in disrepair and needs replaced.
Because the item was not on the agenda and Dunz was speaking during the hear callers portion of the meeting, the board could not vote on the matter.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Overnight and/or out-of-state travel requests for Jennifer Nail-Cook, Laurel Dilley and the VEX Robotics Team, traveling by private vehicle for VRC competitions. Associated fees paid by the PCHS STEM club. December 9 and 10, Wellsburg; January 27 and 28, 2023, Martinsburg; February 18, 2023, Morgantown; and March 10 and 11, 2023, Fairmont.
• Parent and community volunteers for the 2022-2023 school year.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Unpaid medical leave of M. Erin Baldwin as teacher of English/language arts at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective November 7, for a period of up to 12 weeks, as needed.
• Employment of Marsha L. Beverage as mentor for Kristin A. Baer, effective for the 2022-2023 school year, at $25 per hour, not to exceed 50 hours or $1,250.
• Unpaid medical leave of Susan M. Armstrong as special education classroom aide/bus aide at Marlinton Elementary School, retroactive to November 3, for a period of up to 12 weeks, as needed.
• Employment of Rebecca A. Evans as cafeteria manager, extracurricular, for the fresh fruit and vegetable program at Marlinton Elementary School, at daily rate of pay, retroactive to October 6, through the end of the 2022-2023 school year, or upon exhaustion of rant funds. Wages are contingent upon actually working the fresh fruit and vegetable program.
• Employment of Sabrina J. Jordan as cook III, extracurricular, for the fresh fruit and vegetable program at Marlinton Elementary School, at daily rate of pay, retroactive to October 6, through end of the 2022-2023 school year, or upon exhaustion of grant funds. Wages are contingent upon actually working the fresh fruit and vegetable program.
• Employment of Sara H. McClintic as substitute administrator for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, based on degree and experience, for the 2022-2023 school year, as needed.
• Employment of Amy E. Pugh as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, based on degree and experience, for the 2022-2023 school year, as needed.
• Seniority placement of autism mentors Tonja S. Armstrong and Dottie L. Chestnut, with the same overall effective date in the classification category on the service seniority list.
• Volunteer coach Justin A. Taylor, fourth grade basketball at Hillsboro Elementary School, for the 2022-2023 athletic season.
• Volunteer assistant coaches Chasity L. Taylor and Derek N. Taylor, boys basketball, at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, for the 2022-2023 athletic season.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, November 29, at 6 p.m. in the board of education conference room.