At the Pocahontas County Board of Education Local School Improvement Council [LSIC] meeting Monday afternoon at Marlinton Elementary School, principal Phillip Anderson reported that the school is improving by leaps and bounds in many areas.
Anderson said the school has the highest attendance rate of all the schools in the county, and students are excited to be at school.
“As of now, we have the highest attendance in the county with a 95.25 percent rate,” he said. “Some of the things that we’ve been doing to help that – we’ve had monthly awards for attendance. We have things such as Awesome Attendance Award where we don’t punish kids for not making it, but we reward the ones that do make it. We have a dance party or something where they can just unwind a little bit and have some free time.”
The students also receive Perfect Attendance Awards which are dog tags marked with the month they had perfect attendance. The classrooms are getting into the groove, as well, with a healthy competition for the Classroom Attendance Wreath.
Anderson explained that each month, they tally the attendance for each classroom and the room with the best attendance gets the wreath placed on their door for that month.
“They put that on the door, and we congratulate them,” he said. “It’s just little things like that that mean a lot.”
The students are also improving their test scores. The school improved in reading by 12 percent and in math by four percent. Anderson said only two counties in the state went up in ELA [English/ Language Arts] scores and Pocahontas County was one of them.
There has also been an improvement in the number of students eating breakfast and lunch.
“In the month of September, we averaged serving 187 breakfasts and 170 lunches,” Anderson said. “The cooks said that will actually rise and the numbers will go up even more.”
For National School Lunch Week, Anderson said more than 200 parents, grandparents and guardians joined the students for meals.
As a whole, Anderson said things are going really well at MES, and he is thankful to be a part of the school.
“Thank you guys for giving me the opportunity to be here in this school,” he said. “I work with fabulous teachers that are really hard working. It makes my job easy to have a group of teachers that are willing to work as hard as they do.”
• Fourth grade teacher Brian Smith shared a presentation with the board about the technology and computer science programs at the school. He said there is a push to try to increase the program in middle and elementary schools.
Last year, Smith had his students working on coding and they shared what they learned with the younger students. He hopes to continue to work on technology education in the school and work with the computer science class at Pocahontas County High School.
• Kristi Tankersley gave a report on the upcoming Harvest Day event at the school. This year, instead of having Halloween parties, the school will have a Harvest Day Tuesday, October 31, to celebrate fall.
For the PreK through second grade classes, Tankersley said the students will enjoy a petting zoo, Jake Krack playing fiddle, square dancing with Luci Mosesso, kettle corn, the Forest Service bat cave, story telling and animal prints with Watoga State Park Naturalist Chris Bartley.
Third through fifth grade will see Bill Beard’s mobile sawmill in operation, enjoy leaf printing with Margaret Baker, corn shelling and apple cider with Tim Wade, Bob Martin’s geology collection, apple jelly making with Ruth Bland, and learn about Native American life in West Virginia from Mike Smith.
The PCHS band will also perform.
• Superintendent Terrence Beam recognized PCHS science teacher Kathy White for being selected as the feature educator on the Shape of Life website. The article about White may be read at www.shapeoflife.org
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• IKL-D – Bring Your Own Device Policy and GBG – Service Personnel Evaluation Policy.
• Student Teaching Affiliation Agreement between Western Governors University and Pocahontas County Board of Education, dated September 6, 2017, effective for the second semester of the 2017-2018 school year.
• Adoption of WVDE Policy 2419: Regulations for the Education of Students with Exceptionalities as county policy.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
• Employment of Tina Jackson as cook – SPLASH Program at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective October 25 through the end of the 2017-2018 school year, two hours per day, four days per week, at $12 per hour.
• Employment of Alison C. Flegel and Christin D. Shinaberry as homework help teachers for SPLASH at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective October 25 through the end of the 2017-2018 school year, up to nine hours per week for up to 25 weeks, plus additional planning/meetings before program begins. Positions of employment and hours per position contingent upon adequate student enrollment and/or attendance and availability of WVDE grant funding. Position to be divided equally between two individuals.
• Employment of Cheryl Jonese as math tutor/STEM instructor for SPLASH at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective October 25 for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, up to seven hours per week, for up to 25 weeks, plus additional planning/meeting before program begins. Position of employment and hours per position contingent upon adequate student enrollment and/or attendance and availability of WVDE grant funding.
• Employment of Melissa Erin Baldwin as ELA tutor/ enrichment instructor for SPLASH at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective October 25 for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, up to seven hours per week, for up to 25 weeks, plus additional planning/meeting before program begins. Position of employment and hours per position contingent upon adequate student enrollment and/or attendance and availability of WVDE grant funding.
• Employment of Derek Trull as academic competition coordinator for Pocahontas County School, effective for the 2017-2018 school year, at compensation not to exceed $1,000.
• Employment of Kristen Lecroy as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools, effective October 25 for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.
• Employment of Anne Mitchell and Linda Wilfong as substitute teachers for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to October 2, for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.
• Employment of Amanda G. McCarty as substitute aide and substitute custodian for Pocahontas County Schools, effective October 25, for the remainder of the 2017-2017 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.
• Employment of Gary Rose as school bus operator for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, effective October 25, for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year. Term of employment is 146 day. Term of Employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter.
The next board meeting is a Local School Improvement Council meeting Monday, November 13, at 3 p.m. at Marlinton Middle School.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org