Education by the minute on BOE agenda

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday night, Pocahontas County High School principal Joe Riley addressed concerns about the current class schedule at the high school.

Riley said he is using the schedule which was in place last year, but it has a few issues.

According to West Virginia Department of Education Policy 2510, students must have 8,100 minutes of a class to receive course credit.

“The only way you can get around that is if you have been state proficient for a minimum of two years,” Riley said. “I had Ruth [Bland] pull that for me, and Pocahontas County High School has not been state proficient for two years, which means then we’re stuck doing eighty-one hundred minutes.”

However, there is a stipulation that the board of education may approve a schedule which does not follow Policy 2510.

Riley explained that, with the current schedule, students are actually spending 82 minutes a day in each class instead of the recommended 90 minutes, due to the implementation of a 30 minute club/tutoring block being added to the schedule.

“With the schedule that we have been running and the schedule they did last year, there was a thirty minute activity period in there where clubs met,” Riley said. “They had homeroom. They had the LINKS program, and they also had tutoring, which only gave us 7,380 minutes. This meant we only had 82 minutes per class. Whenever you calculate that all out, we were eight days short [of the required time].”

Riley said once he realized the schedule was shortening class time, he changed it and they have been in class for 90 minutes. 
While the students were getting the required minutes, Riley said he would like to return to having an activity period to give students time to meet with their clubs and to have advisor/advisee time with their homeroom teachers.

Riley created a schedule he would like to implement. On the first and third week of each month, the students would have 90 minutes in each class Monday through Wednesday, an advisor/advisee 30 minute block on Thursday and a club/activity 30 minute block on Friday.

On the second and fourth week of each month, the schedule would be: 90 minutes in class Monday through Thursday, and club/activity 30 minute block on Friday.

Although it does not add up to 8,100 minutes per class, Riley said he thinks the new schedule will meet the needs of the students.

“I’d like to suggest the every other week part,” he said. “For this year, we will be a little short on time.”

With the new schedule, students would have 7,884 minutes which would make them 2.4 days short of the requirement.

The board said it did not have a problem with the schedule and asked Superintendent Terrence Beam to put it on the next meeting’s agenda for approval.

In updates:

• Ruth Bland, Director of Special Education/Student Services/Transportation and Tech Coordinator, reported that she got a rate increase in the HeadStart memorandum of understanding. Instead of last year’s rate of $4,000, HeadStart will pay $10,000 for students in the program.

“The children have to be present,” Bland said. “If there is a HeadStart child absent, I can’t claim them for that day, but it’s a whole lot better than what we were receiving. I have to invoice them every month.”

Bland also addressed a concern about the increase in bus rates for sports teams. The rate increased to $1 per mile, from the original rate of 50 cents per mile. Teams are asked to pay $50, plus $1 per mile, per trip.

Bland said she called Nicholas, Summers and Pendleton counties and found that Pocahontas County’s rates are much lower than those counties.

“If they [the coaches] want us to do what other counties do, they are going to be in big trouble,” Bland said. “We’re talking the full amount for the bus driver, including the fixed cost, plus mileage. Nicholas County is invoicing Nicholas County High School for at least four-to-five thousand dollars a month for buses for their athletic trips.”

Bland added that the activity buses which take students home after practice, are provided free of charge for the students.

See miscellaneous and personnel management in next week’s edition of The Pocahontas Times.

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