At the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday afternoon, the math departments were once again the stars of the show, as math coach Joanna Burt-Kinderman and superintendent Terrence Beam shared news about upcoming events and recent successes in the field of math.
Beam said that this Thursday, 30 math teachers, administrators and West Virginia Department of Education officials will visit and observe the math classrooms in Pocahontas County.
“This is part of the National Science Foundation Mountaineer Math teacher project grant that [Joanna] wrote to WVU,” he said. “Congratulations to our students, teachers, administrators and principals for the hard work they put into this.”
Burt-Kinderman added that this is a follow-up to math camps held this winter.
“We got [NSF] money just for one year to plan what a state approach would look like using master teachers to help grow better teachers instead of having good teachers leave the classroom to be doing what I do,” she said. “It’s kind of acknowledging that it’s sad when a really good teacher goes to be a principal – you leave the classroom to do the next thing. This is exploring, trying to find a new way to think about teacher leaders.”
After this visit, Burt-Kinderman said that 25 percent of the state will have participated in this project.
“Twenty-five percent of all the districts in the state have come, on their own dime, this year, to learn from us,” she said. “Everybody at every level deserves a lot of credit.”
Burt-Kinderman recognized that it is difficult, as a teacher, to work with students and command a classroom while there are 10-to-15 people intently watching, so she commended the teachers for allowing visitors to take part.
Beam recognized math teachers Nebraska Scotchie and Jennifer Nail, who were selected to participate in the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers launch at Stonewall Resort last week.
Beam and Burt-Kinderman also recognized the Pocahontas County High School math team, which competed in Regional Math Field Day last Saturday. The team, as a whole, placed second out of six; and four individuals were in the top 10: Colton Massey, second place; Taylor Tegtmeyer, third place; Alan Gibson, ninth place; and Haden Mick, 10th place.
• Beam reported that he received a multitude of phone calls last week concerned about why schools were not closed due to flu. He explained that the county administration cannot close schools for illness without permission from the West Virginia Health Department.
“I called nurse Jenny [Friel], who was sick at home with the flu, and told her what the situation was,” Beam said. “She called the state health department, and the state health department made it abundantly clear that county school systems do not have the authority to close down schools because of sickness. The state health department has to do that, and they denied our request to close down school.”
• Student representative Jarod Liptrap reported that spring sports are in full swing, and the track team has its first meet this Saturday. He added that the Skills USA team competed last week on the state level.
Liptrap also reported that the graduating class of 2019 will wear their caps and gowns to the elementary and middle schools Wednesday, April 18, to inspire the younger students to stay in school and earn a degree.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• To abolish policy GBB-AA – Highly Qualified Teachers.
• To place policy GAK-R – Personnel Records on 30-day comment.
• Marlinton Elementary School fifth grade class to travel by chartered bus to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on May 1 through 3. Trip to be paid for by fundraising.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Resignation of Christina M. Smith as Title I Reading Specialist at Marlinton Elementary School, effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
• Resignation of Lauren T. Goodwin as teacher of mathematics at Pocahontas County High School, effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
• Resignation of Kenneth J. Samples, due to retirement, as school bus operator for Pocahontas County Schools, effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
• Employment of Rachel McComb and Clair Wayne as substitute teachers for Pocahontas County Schools, effective May 6, for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.
The next board meeting is Monday, April 8, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.