At the Pocahontas County Board of Education Local School Improvement Council meeting Monday afternoon at Hillsboro Elementary School, the students took charge and showed the board members how they learn in the classroom.
Fifth grade students Ramona Hardy and Silas Beezley introduced the board to Kahoot, a computer program they use which adds a game element to reading lessons. The students use the program to read along with a book – in this case, the “real” story of the Big Bad Wolf – and afterward, try to beat the clock in answering a series of questions.
The students log in to the program on individual Kindles and race to win points by answering the fastest. The board members were each given Kindles and answered the questions about the Big Bad Wolf, with only one successfully answering all 14 questions correctly.
Members of the fourth grade class explained their new coding class to the board and said they are able to create colorful images with the codes they are learning.
The students also shared a treat with the board as principal Rebecca Spencer explained the student of the month program.
“Each month, one student is chosen from each grade as student of the month,” she said. “They get together and make a treat for breakfast, and the parents come and eat. This month, they made banana bread muffins.”
Spencer added that the students really enjoy working in the kitchen and, for some, it is the first time they have experienced cooking and baking. While the students do not get to choose the recipe, they are involved in the math involved in making enough goodies to feed up to 150 people.
The board thanked the students and staff for the information and for allowing them to visit the school.
• Yew Mountain Center director Erica Marks gave a presentation to the board about the field trips students have taken to the center since it opened in 2016. In the past three years, students from Hillsboro Elementary School, Marlinton Elementary School and Marlinton Middle School have traveled to the center to experience outdoor education.
“We have five goals we’re trying to accomplish with them,” Marks said. “The first one is to improve educational outcomes. I really think that students, when you get them outside, show their strengths. I think it’s especially good for the kids who don’t learn as well in traditional classrooms. They have a diversity of experiences, and they are engaged in something that they go back and talk about in the classrooms. I really try to work with teachers to make sure that those connections are happening before and after the field trips.”
Marks added that the other goals for the field trips are: increasing pride in place; strengthen relationships between youth and caring adults; expose students to educational and career pathways that can lead to a sustainable and prosperous lifestyle in our area; and help our community raise healthy, happy children.
The board asked Marks if the center will open trips to Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and she said she would love to have them attend, but she hasn’t been able to work out the travel logistics. The school is so far away and she is concerned that the students would spend more time on the bus than actually participating in the field trip.
The board thanked Marks for her update and for providing the resources for the field trips.
• Superintendent Terrence Beam congratulated volunteer Jean Srodes who was named Volunteer of the Year by the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. He said Srodes will be recognized in Charleston on November 15.
• Student representative Taylor Tegtmeyer shared information on several clubs and sports activities at Pocahontas County High School. Six teams of students from the engineering/robotics class, physics class and STEM club traveled to Morgantown last Friday to participate in West Virginia University’s annual pumpkin drop.
Of the six teams, one team succeeded in keeping their pumpkin intact after the drop. That team consisted of Logan Woodruff, Jacob Jones, Mathias Solliday, Colton Massey, Josey Faris and Taylor Tegtmeyer. While the students were at WVU, they toured the physics department.
In sports, Tegtmeyer reported that the boys and girls soccer teams competed in sectionals, but were bested by the opposing teams. He added that football has four wins and four losses, and that the basketball teams will soon begin practice for their seasons.
The Warrior band has participated in several field show competitions and have been successful. The band received second place at the Southern Garret High School competition and third place at the TOB Region 13 Championship at Fairmont State University.
The cheerleaders will have their first competition of the season on November 3.
As for clubs, Tegtmeyer said the forestry team and equine team are attending Nationals this week; and the National Honor Society will be reading to the Hillsboro Elementary School students October 24.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• Memorandum of Understanding between Pocahontas County Board of Education and North Central West Virginia Community Action Association, Inc. – Head Start Programs, retroactive to July 1, for the 2018-2019 school year.
• Pocahontas County Board of Education Notice to Performance Companies – general information and request for proposals for an energy efficiency project.
• The following volunteer archery coaches, effective for the 2018-2019 season: Heather Simmons, Robert Simmons, David Smith, Kristi Smith, Jody Spencer and Rebecca Spencer.
• Crystal Kerr and Victoria Warner as volunteer cheerleading coaches at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 season.
• Pocahontas County Schools community and parent volunteers for the 2018-2019 school year.
• The following trips: Pocahontas County High School ProStart students to travel to Indiana University of Pennsylvania for a culinary college visit, departing on March 28 and returning March 29; and Pocahontas County High School Forestry Team to travel to Indianapolis, Indiana, to participate in the National Forestry Competition and FFA Convention, departing October 23 and returning October 27.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Employment of Peggy M. Owens as half-time teacher of multi-subjects at Hillsboro Elementary School, effective October 24, 2018 through May 25, 2019, at $20 per hour, three hours per day, as needed, not to exceed $7,000 for the 2018-2019 school year. Term of employment is 146 one-half days. Position may be abolished at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
• Employment of M. Susan Arbogast as academic interventionist at Hillsboro Elementary School, effective October 24, 2018 through May 25, 2019, at $20 per hour, three hours per day, as needed, not to exceed $7,000 for the 2018-2019 school year.
• Employment of Melissa Nelson as head boys basketball coach at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 season, at a supplement of $750. Position pending sufficient number of players to make a team.
• Employment of Derek Taylor and Chasity Taylor as head girls basketball coaches at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2018-2019 season, at a supplement of $750. Position pending sufficient number of players to make a team. Position to be divided equally between two individuals.
• Requested transfer of Jeanette D. Wagner from itinerant teacher of special education at Pocahontas County High School to teacher of English/language arts at Marlinton Middle School, effective November 1, for the 2018-2019 school year, at state basic salary.
• Employment of Karrie B. Jack as itinerant special education classroom aide/bus aide at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective October 24, for the 2018-2019 school year at state basic pay. Term of employment is 146 days. Term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
• Employment of Scott E. Garber as head boys basketball coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2018-2019 season, at a supplement of $1,650. Position pending on sufficient number of players to make a team.
The next board meeting is a Local School Improvement Council meeting at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, Monday, November 5, at 3 p.m.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org