Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Pocahontas County Board of Education Local School Improvement Council meeting Monday afternoon at Marlinton Middle School, principal Dustin Lambert said he is pleased to see many improvements at the school.

“I wanted to shed some light on some of the great things we’ve done in the last year,” he said. “I’ve had the privilege the last year seeing our school just blossom in the terms of opportunities for students. I’m excited about the direction we’re going.”

While the LSIC and Lambert are still concerned that the in-school suspension position is only part-time, they are pleased that the students are having fewer discipline issues which would lead to suspension.

“One of the things I’m most proud of – we’ve had a considerable amount of discussion regarding discipline here at Marlinton Middle School and our incentives,” Lambert said. “Last year, I reported that we had one hundred, seventy-five different incidents recorded in WVEIS for the first forty-five days. When I took a look at the first forty-five days of this year, we recorded thirty-three incidents.

“Wow,” he continued. “We’re making tremendous progress here restructuring the way we’re coding things and entering things into WVEIS, and I couldn’t be more proud of that as a principal. It takes a huge load off my shoulders to know that my office is not chock-full of kids every single day needing attention in terms of discipline, so I’m very proud of that.”

In presentations:

• Margaret Worth and some of her horticulture students gave a presentation on the school’s high tunnel. The students have been growing vegetables and fruits in the high tunnel and have had some success and a few drawbacks. The students had to work on a flooding issue and temperature, but otherwise, they have enjoyed learning about horticulture and will continue to grow more plants this year.

• The SADD – Students Against Destructive Decisions – club reported on a recent trip to the West Virginia SADD conference. They learned about building self-esteem, as well as the effects of drugs and alcohol on infants – those born addicted and those whose parents are addicted.

Counselor Missy Doss said the club hopes to have guest speakers visit the school once a month to talk to the students about different ways of avoiding destructive decisions.

• Social studies teacher Jared Bennett reported that his eighth grade students are working on an online podcast centered around West Virginia history. The students pick the topics they want to cover and record it themselves. Bennett said he hopes the podcasts will be helpful to the students when they are reviewing for the Golden Horseshoe contest.

• Math teacher Teresa Rhea gave a presentation on the new positive behavior incentive program called COPS – Catching Outstanding Productive Students. Rhea explained that the faculty wanted to focus on rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.

The teachers have tickets they issue the students when they are caught being good, either in class or during social time. The students then put the tickets in a container and the teachers have a drawing for rewards. At the end of each nine weeks, the school plans to have a drawing for even bigger rewards.

Rhea said the program has received assistance from community organizations including the Marlinton Lions Club, Marlinton Rotary, Marlinton Woman’s Club and Pocahontas County Family Resource Network. The program has also received a Snowshoe Foundation grant to purchase rewards.

For a student perspective on the COPS program, see page 6 of this edition of The Pocahontas Times.

The board thanked Lambert and the faculty and students for their reports, as well as their hospitality.

In updates

• Superintendent Terrence Beam reported that the Green Bank Elementary-Middle School robotics team won first place at the state competition.

• Student representative Hunter Tankersley said the students at Pocahontas County High School are preparing for Christmas in many ways. The Elf Auction will be held this Friday and students and staff are participating in the fundraiser which purchases Christmas gifts for special needs students.

Tankersley added that the PCHS Rotary Club and National Honor Society are making ornaments for Pocahontas Center and collecting items for Christmas shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• Initial deposit toward expert witness fees to be shared among six plaintiffs in Board of Education of the County of Kanawha, et. al. v. West Virginia Department of Education, et. al, Civil Action No. 16-C-1267, Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia, with initial deposit by this board not to exceed $500.

• Community and Parent Volunteers

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Employment of Joshua Abbott, Aaron Pugh, Abram Rittenhouse and Eric Rose as boys track coaches at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2017-2018 season, at a supplement of $1,500 to be divided equally among the four individuals.

• Employment of Joshua Abbott, Aaron Pugh, Abram Rittenhouse and Eric Rose as girls track coaches at Pocahontas County High School, effective for the 2017-2018 season, at a supplement of $1,500 to be divided equally among the four individuals.

• Employment of Tabitha Parcell and Britt Parcell as substitute school bus operators for Pocahontas County Schools, effective December 6 for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.

• Employment of Timothy Wade and Mark Walton as substitute maintenance for Pocahontas County Schools, effective December 6 for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, as needed, at state basic pay.

The next board meeting is Monday, December 18, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.