At the Local School Improvement Co-uncil and Faculty Senate board of education meeting Monday afternoon at Hillsboro Elementary School, students and teachers shared information on programs implemented at the school and what it means to be a Red Devil.
In addition the “Legonators,” a robotics team consisting of three students from Marlinton Middle School and five HES students gave a presentation on a project they are designing for the robotics regional tournament. The students chose a recycling project which they hope will be implemented by Pocahontas County Schools.
“Our club is in training for a regional tournament in Lewisburg on November 7,” fifth grader Logan Pritt said. “There, we will compete against other teams in the areas of core values, projects and robot design. The theme this year is ‘Trash Trek: Trash to Treasure.’ Our project is to identify a real world problem, create an innovative solution and share our research and solution. We discovered that our school has a huge problem with the disposal and recycling of cardboard. We decided to focus on this for our project.”
The club went to Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority office administrator Mary Clendenen who gave them information on the cons of throwing away cardboard and the pros of recycling it.
“She told us that it takes cardboard and paper ten years to decompose,” fourth grader Clayton Burns said. “We learned that cardboard and paper make up twenty-nine percent of the waste going into our landfill each year. This is not good. The landfill in Pocahontas County is becoming full. We have about twenty years before we need to find a spot for a new one. This will be our thirty-something problem.”
Clendenen helped the students troubleshoot solutions, and they worked with Pocahontas County High School custodian Morgan McComb to fix the problem. They attended a Solid Waste Authority meeting where they received more help.
“The members of the Solid Waste Authority agreed to loan us, and the other schools in Pocahontas County, trailers to collect cardboard in,” seventh grader Logan Hively said. “This way the schools can go back to recycling cardboard and save money on the cost of extra dumpster pickups.”
The SWA asked the students to spread awareness of the importance of recycling to the community, as well as the proper way to sort recyclables.
The students asked the board to grant permission for custodian Angie Irvine to take the cardboard to the recycling center in Greenbrier County once the trailers are full.
Others involved in the project and the presentation were Allyson Alderman, Andrea Alderman, Aidan Madison, Kynlee Wilfong, Jersey Simmons and their coaches, second grade teacher Laura Pritt and secretary Sarah Hamilton.
The board thanked the students for their presentation. Board president Emery Grimes said the board could not approve the addition to Irvine’s duties because it was not on the agenda. He asked Interim Superintendent Terrence Beam to put the item on the next meeting agenda.
The board was impressed with the presentation and said they would support the project.
Several students also shared what it means to be a Red Devil. They used the school motto “We will be learning. We will be respectful. We will be successful because we are Red Devils.” as the inspiration for their presentation to the board.
Hayley Kincaid, Robert Pritt, Kynlee Wilfong and Christy Casey each shared how they are Helpful, Engaging and Safe to make HES the best school possible.
• LSIC representative Michelle Jeffers reported that the school is in very good shape and thanked the board for its continued support of the school.
“We’re meeting here today in our cafeteria which is now going on three years old,” Jeffers said. “You can see how beautiful it is. We use this all the time. You can see, this room does not even look like it’s been used, let alone for breakfast and lunch every single day. If you take some time and go through the building, this building is in immaculate condition. It has been taken care of by the teachers, by the students and most of all by our custodians.”
Jeffers added that the school is grateful to have air conditioning units in the classrooms to cool down those hot days.
• Gina Hardesty shared the school’s test scores from last year, stating the school did really well, and they are striving to do better this year.
“We’re very excited to see everyone’s hard work has paid off,” she said. “Even though we are very happy about these scores, we still think there’s room for improvement. We continue to use our Title I teacher and interventionist to aid and support intervention practices and overall needs for our students.”
Third grade math proficiency scores were 27 percent higher than Pocahontas County and 25 percent higher than West Virginia. Third grade reading was five percent higher than the county and equal to the state’s.
Fourth grade math was 14 percent higher than the county and 15 percent higher than the state. In reading, fourth grade was 18 percent higher than the county and 15 percent higher than the state.
In fifth grade math, scores were eight percent higher than the county and six percent higher than the state. In reading, the scores were 29 percent higher than the county and 20 percent higher than the state.
• Shannon Alderman reported the school is implementing the new PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention and Support – program in the classrooms. The school uses the acronym HES as a guide, they are to be Helpful, Engaged and Safe.
“After working with our students to determine what their expectations should look like in their school, we set out to reward their behavior,” she said. “If you walk through the school, you can see posters, like cafeteria expectations on how you can be helpful, engaged and safe. [There are] Hallway expectations, classroom expectations. Everywhere that you look you will see our expectations for our students and they know how their behavior should reflect that.”
The students are rewarded for their behavior in several ways.
Kindergarten through second grade follow a dojo and strive to have a high weekly percentage of positive behavior. Third through five grade work to keep a 100 percent conduct score in their assignment books.
The school has reward trips every nine weeks, as well as weekly rewards. Each Friday, students with high percentages get 15 extra minutes recess time, and they get to put their picture on the positive behavior display boards in the school.
• Hardesty also reported the school is implementing the Discovery Education program which is an interactive computer program used alongside the students’ science textbooks. As an example, Hardesty said the students not only read about the Seven Wonders of the World, they are able to experience them through videos in the program.
Hardesty added that the school upped the ante on the Reading Challenge this year. Last year the students read more than 100,000 pages and got to watch their principal Joe Arbogast kiss a calf. They also got to throw pies in the faces of their teachers.
This year, the students have been challenged to read 200,000 pages by the end of the school year. If they succeed, they get to tape Arbogast to the goal post on the playground and throw water balloons at him.
• Devan Simmons reported her students have eggs in an incubator they are hoping will hatch soon. The eggs were donated to the class by a local farmer.
In business management, the board approved to accept the Pocahontas County Commission’s offer to reconvey the Slaven Property, situated in the Green Bank District of Pocahontas County, to the Pocahontas County Board of Education.
In professional management, the board approved the following:
• Resignation of Lauren A. Prestopnik as teacher of English/language arts/reading at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective at the end of the day on October 9.
• Employment of Dottie M. Brock as substitute aide and secretary for Pocahontas County Schools, effective October 7, as needed, for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year, at state basic pay.
The next board of education meeting is Monday, October 12, at 7 p.m. at the board of education conference room.
The next Local School Improvement Council/Faculty Senate meeting is Tuesday, October 20, at 1 p.m. at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org