Math teachers treated like rock stars at WVCTM conference

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday night, county math teachers gave a report on the recent West Virginia Council for Teachers of Mathematics conference. Teachers from Pocahontas County High School and Marlinton Middle School attended the conference, as presenters and learners.

The teachers presented lessons they worked on with math coach Joanna Burt-Kinderman, as well as lessons on programs implemented in their classrooms.

During the conference, the teachers were approached by appreciative educators who have been following the progress of Pocahontas County’s math program for years.

“I had a session with about twenty teachers in there – some of whom were retired, some of whom were close to retirement – so it was a little nerve racking to present to some people who have been teaching as long as I’ve been alive, but it was really exciting,” PCHS teacher Leah Shinaberry said. “There was some great feedback from the session. There was one lady who said, ‘I’m really glad Pocahontas County came so we had some sessions to pick from because you guys have a lot of presenters.’ It was nice that was recognized.”

Shinaberry added that one lady commented on Pocahontas County’s test scores, saying she has watched them rise over the years.
“People in the state are noticing what’s happening here in math in Pocahontas County,” she said. “It was really exciting to get that feedback from within the session.”

Shinaberry’s colleague, Jennifer Nail, had a similar experience in her session.

“It was my first year presenting at the conference,” Nail said. “It was very cool to be the county that people were talking about. It really was an invaluable experience to be able to go in and talk to other counties, and talk to other places and see, ‘how are you doing this,’ and ‘how are you doing that,’ and to see that we’re on the same page.”

MMS teachers Teresa Rhea and Nebraska Scotchie presented together on the Power Teaching Program they use in their classrooms. Rhea said several people who attended their session want to visit Pocahontas County to observe in the classrooms.

“There were so many people at that session that are now interested in coming to Pocahontas County and observing, not only because of what we presented there but because of what they’re hearing of what’s happening here,” Rhea said. “We’ve been contacted by so many different counties and last Thursday, we had eight people visit from Nicholas County – classroom teachers and one from central office. They were blown away by what our students are doing.”

The visitors were impressed by the teaching as well as the students.

“Our kids were not putting on an act because they acted just like they do every day in class,” Rhea said. “They kept saying, ‘how do you get your kids to do this,’ ‘why are your kids so different than ours across the mountain?’ If you have higher expectations and keep teaching those and expecting those, it’s happening.”

The teachers expressed their appreciation to the board for allowing them to continue to attend the conference and receive professional development.

“Quality professional development really matters,” Shinaberry said. “I think that cutting quality professional development for teachers is like cutting food out of your budget, or cutting heating. I think that when we look at the budget and we’re looking at numbers and items, if we can think about the big picture and what professional development does for our teachers, and what we carry back to our students and how that helps us grow as presenters and not just as learners.”

While most professional development is paid for with state funding, the board of education pays substitute teacher and travel costs. The board assured the teachers that it will try to continue to fund professional development as long as it is fiscally possible.

In updates:

• Sue Ann Heatherly and Susan Chappell gave a presentation on the proposed addition to the Hillsboro Public Library building. The addition will provide a special room just for students who use the library every day, as well as more office space for the librarian.

The addition includes a “parent’s porch” where parents can sit and watch their children play on the playground.

Pocahontas County Free Libraries has $80,000 committed to the addition which will cover most of the costs. PCFL and the building committee will continue to raise funds for the project.

Heatherly said PCFL needed approval from the board before the project can be put out for bid. Because it was not a votable item on the agenda, the board asked Superintendent Terrence Beam to add the item to the next meeting’s agenda.

The board thanked Heatherly and Chappell for the update.

Superintendent Terrence Beam gave the following special recognitions:

• Service personnel of the year candidates are: custodian Sondra Vaughan, bus driver W. G. Dilley, cook Tina Jackson, aide Tonja Armstrong and secretary Melissa Ervine.

• Teacher of the year candidates are: Gina Hardesty, Hillsboro Elementary School; Teresa Rhea, Marlinton Middle School; Samantha Feather, Marlinton Elementary School; Marsha Beverage, Green Bank Elementary-Middle School; and Cammy Kesterson, Pocahontas County High School.

• Young Writer’s Contest winners: first and second grade, Wade Garber; third and fourth grade, Gavin Walls; fifth and sixth grade, Mason Solliday; seventh and eight grade, Riley Vaughan; and ninth and tenth grade, Laura Leyzorek.

• PCHS senior Xenobia Varner won the certificate design for Youth Art Month

• PCHS senior Ashlyn McKenney placed first in the southeast regional FFA public speaking championship. She will move on to the state competition.

• Logan Dilley had the grand champion ham and Ben Davis had the grand champion eggs at the 4-H/FFA Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale.

• PCHS Warrior Band received a superior rating at Philip Barbour High School last week.

• PCHS senior J. D. Hensler was selected to play in the 2016 Scott Brown Little General basketball classic.

In financial management, the board approved the following:

• Payment of vendor listings of claims in the amounts of $23,143.19 and $32,908.86.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• Shannon G. Arbogast as volunteer assistant softball coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2015-2016 season.

• 2016-2017 School Calendar.

• Norman E. “Joe” Walker as Pocahontas County Board of Education representative on the Pocahontas County Day Report committee.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Employment of Stacy E. Landis as teacher of science at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, at a state basic salary based on degree and experience. Term of employment is 200 days.

• Employment of Gary Rose as half-time custodian III at Hillsboro Elementary School effective for the 2016-2017 school year, at state basic pay. Term of employment is 220 one-half days.

• Requested transfer of Rebecca Spencer from teacher of multi-subjects at Marlinton Elementary School to principal/teacher at Hillsboro Elementary School, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, at state basic salary based on degree and experience plus equity (includes state minimum salary increment schedules). Term of employment is 220 days.

• Employment of Devan E. Simmons as after-school tutor at Hillsboro Elementary School, retroactive to April 4 for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year, two hours per day, two days per week, at $20 per hour.

• Employment of Sherri Howe as cafeteria manager for the summer feeding program at Marlinton Elementary School, effective June 26 through July 30, except July 4, six hours per day. Shift: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Employment of Ollie C. Barkley as Energy Express custodian III at Marlinton Elementary School, effective June 27 through July 29, two hours per day, five days per week, at $12 per hour. Shift: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• Resignation of Richard Michael Adkins as principal, coordinator of School-to-Work program, vocational education director, distance learning facilitation and alternative education coordinator at Pocahontas County High School, effective at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

• Abolishment of position volleyball coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective at the end of the 2015-2016 season.

• Creation of position Assistant 7th and 8th grade football coach at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2016-2017 school year, at a supplement of $500.

• Resignation of Rebecca Peteete as substitute aide for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to March 30.

The next board meeting is Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in the board of education conference room.

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