MMS trash homework at the BOE

From left: Silas Riley, Allan Gibson, Michael Hardesty and Ben Dunz demonstrate different aspects of their robotic field map. Holding a Lego plastic bag, Gibson explained that a simple bag could pose a number of problems during competition – such as jamming equipment and threatening marine life. Photo courtesy of C. Moore
From left: Silas Riley, Allan Gibson, Michael Hardesty and Ben Dunz demonstrate different aspects of their robotic field map. Holding a Lego plastic bag, Gibson explained that a simple bag could pose a number of problems during competition – such as jamming equipment and threatening marine life. Photo courtesy of C. Moore

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

At the Monday, November 16 Board of Education Local School Improvement Council meeting at Marlinton Middle School, the Marlinton Middle School Lego Robotics Team prepared a demonstration for board members using robots created for the 2015 Lego Trash Trek Challenge. “Every year Lego issues a challenge,” instructor Gayle Boyette explained.

“This year, it was the Trash Trek challenge. Each team had to come up with a way to reduce trash within the community, and our team decided to trash their homework.”

According to the team’s research, Marlinton Middle School students culminate, on average, one pound of homework every nine weeks.

“That’s four pounds per year,” Allan Gibson said. “We have about ninety-six students here, so that can really add up.”

With nearly 400 pounds of homework looming overhead, the team had to come up with a way to recycle their paper waste.

“We’re going to shred it in a paper shredder,” answered Silas Riley, “and then we’ll put it in a machine that turns the paper into paper bricks that can be used as fire starters. We’re going to make fire bricks.”

The competition had 12 missions in all. Each mission required the programmed robot to either accomplish a goal – such as demolition or sorting – or move an item from one location to Safety, the robot’s base. For each completed mission, the team earned a number of points.

“For example, if you take this [lego] plastic bag and bring it back to Safety, you get points,” Ben Dunz explained. “The goal is to get as many points at the end of the two-minute period as you can.”

In addition to their missions, the team was judged on core values.

“Our team was taken into a room,” explained Boyette, “and the judges took a handful of random lego pieces, tossed them out onto the table, stood around and watched as, in five minutes, the team worked together and built flowers for their flower garden. What I heard around the table was ‘Do you need anything down there? How are you doing over here? I’ve got this. What do you think of that?’

“They were cooperating. You can’t program that. They actually won the first place Core Values award. Even though they didn’t get to advance, they won what is considered the coveted award.”

Despite being unable to move forward in the challenge due to design and programming difficulties, the MMS team has kept its spirits high and is looking forward to an end of the season celebration, and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, plan to invite the other Pocahontas robotics teams to join in the festivities.

In updates:

  • Interim superintendent Terrence Beam reported that a principals’ meeting would be held on November 17 and that OEPA reports would be handed out. Each principal would have 30 days to respond to the report and make any corrections.
  • A presentation would be given by Christina Smith and Director of Special Education/Student Services/Transportation/Tech Coordinator Ruth Bland at the November 30 board meeting concerning test results.
  • Beam received an email from Governor Earl Tomblin asking that all schools flags be flown at half mast until Thursday as a show of respect for the victims of the attacks in Paris.
  • On Friday, November 13, Beam attended a State Board Association meeting in Charleston. State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano and others suggested that the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives be repealed and be renamed West Virginia College and Career Ready Standards. According to Beam, approximately 100 standards were collected and changed in some fashion – either by moving them up or down in grade level and adding a few things, also – to create the new standards.
  • Members of the faculty appeared before the board to present updates on their respective departments.
  • The board was presented with a list of improvements needed throughout the school, including a new front door security system, lights in the gym, and lockers in the boys’ locker room.

In financial management, the board approved the following:

  • Payment of vendor listings of claims in the amount of $24, 412.39.
  • Budget adjustments and grant awards.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

  • The Pocahontas County Board of Education to support the Making Mathematical Modeling Meaningful: M^4 project and grant.
  • The board voted 5-0 against the Memorandum of Understanding between the Pocahontas county Board of Education and the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation, concerning the transfer of the Green Bank Industrial Park.

In professional management, the board approved the following:

  • Employment of Anne Smith as Project Math Tutor/STEM Instructor at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective November 17, 2015 for up to 25 weeks, at $20 per hour, 7 hours per week; as Homework Help Tutor at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective November 17, 2015 for up to 25 weeks, at $20 per hour, 9 hours per week; and as Positive Youth Behaviors/Healthy Lifestyles Instructor at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, effective November 17, 2015 for up to 25 weeks, at $20 per hour, 7 hours per week.
  • Employment of Maria McCoy as after-school tutor at Hillsboro Elementary School, effective November 17, 2015 through June 1, 2016, at $20 per hour, two hours per day, two days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks.
  • Employtment of Devan Simmons as after-school tutor at Hillsboro Elementary School, effective November 17, 2015 through June 1, 2016, at $20 per hour, two hours per day, two days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks.
  • Employment of Stacy Landis as after-school tutor at Marlinton Elementary School, effective November 17, 2015 through June 1, 2016, at $20 per hour, two hours per day, two days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks.
  • Employment of Louisa Kiner as after-school tutor at Marlinton Middle School, effective November 17, 2015 through June 1, 2016, at $20 per hour, two hours per day, two days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks.
  • Employment of Teresa Rhea as after-school tutor at Marlinton Middle School, effective November 17, 2015 through June 1, 2016, at $20 per hour, two hours per day, two days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks.
  • Employment of Denise Sharp as after-school tutor at Marlinton Middle School, effective November 17, 2015 through June 1, 2016, at $20 per hour, two hours per day, two days per week, not to exceed 23 weeks.
  • Employment of Silas Sattler as substitute school bus operator for Pocahontas County Schools, at state basic pay, effective November 18, 2015, as needed, for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Requested transfer of Jerold Ramos from School Bus Operator for Pocahontas County Schools, current run, to School Bus Operator for Pocahontas County Schools, different run, effective November 17, 2015, for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 30, at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education conference room.

The next Local School Improvement Council, Faculty Senate and Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 7, at 1 p.m. at Pocahontas County High School.

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