New school year may see changes in preschool program

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

For years, North Central Community Action has partnered with the Pocahontas County Board of Education to provide HeadStart Services to preschool students.

At the BOE meeting Monday night, director of special education, student services, transportation and tech coordinator Ruth Bland said there may be changes to the memorandum of understanding between the two entities for the 2016-2017 school year.

“In the past six months, we’ve been going through a federal review and with the federal review, we have noted that our policies do not match the policies of HeadStart,” Bland said. “So we’re having a bit of a disagreement on how to handle the administration of some tasks that fall under the Family Educational Records Protection Act and some federal guidelines that HeadStart says we have to maintain.”

While HeadStart has policies for its program – which provides services for low-income students – Bland said board policies supersede because the preschool teachers and aides are employed by the board of education and not HeadStart.

“I have made the decision that we will follow the policies that protect the Pocahontas County Board of Education employees,” she said. “Because of that, I’m asking that there may be some changes in the MOU. I’m not sure how amenable HeadStart will be with that.”

Bland added it is in the best interest of the employees and students to continue to follow policies and laws set forth by the West Virginia Department of Education.

NCCA currently provides 20 slots for HeadStart services – five at Hillsboro Elementary School, five at Marlinton Elementary School and 10 at School Days Child Care.

Bland said she wishes NCCA had more slots to provide HeadStart to Pocahontas County, but it is regulated by federal grants.

“It is my desire that they have more slots available for our students, but that is not possible because they receive a federal grant that determines how many slots are available per county,” she explained.

Despite the struggle, Bland said the preschool program is doing well and the students are excelling.

“We have gone through our class observations and our class observations have come back with high standards and high marks, so we are running very effective and efficient programs at this time,” she said.

Bland said she contacted NCCA and gave two dates for representatives to attend a board meeting to further discuss the issue. Both dates were rejected.

Bland told the board she will have a request to change the MOU at a later board meeting.

The board thanked Bland for the update.

In financial management, the board approved the following:

• Payment of vendor listings of claims in the amounts of $33,015.46 and $88,201.42.

• To accept bid from Scott Floor Company, Inc. for Pocahontas County High School gym floor sanding and finishing in the amount of $16,875.

• Reserve grant contract between Pocahontas County Board of Education and the School Building Authority of West Virginia, in the amount of $100,000, expiring December 13, 2018.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• To place policies GBQC – Critical Need and KCB/LEBA – Parent Involvement on 30-day comment.

• For Pocahontas County Schools to adopt the following science books, effective for the 2016-2017 school year: K-5 Science – Cengage’s National Geographic; 6-8 – McGraw Hill’s Glencoe; 9th Grade Earth-Space Science – McGraw Hill’s Earth Science: Geology, the Environment and the Universe; 10th Grade Biology – Pearson’s Biology; 11th Grade Physical Science for Non-STEM – McGraw Hill’s Glencoe Physical Science; Anatomy and Physiology – Pearson’s Human Anatomy and Physiology, 10th Edition, by Elaine N. Marieb and Katja N. Hoehn; AP Biology – McGraw Hill’s Raven, Biology; Chemistry – Pearson’s Chemistry; Environmental Science – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Environmental Science; and Forensic Science – Cengage’s Forensic Science Fundamentals and Investigations.

• For Pocahontas County Schools to adopt the following art text books, effective for the 2016-2017 school year: General Art I – McGraw Hill’s Studio Space: Exploring Art; General Art II – McGraw Hill’s Studio Space: Exploring Art; Art History, Appreciation and Aesthetics – Davis’s Discovering Art History; Studio Art I – McGraw Hill’s Studio Space: Art Talk; and Studio Art II – McGraw Hill’s Studio Space: Art Talk.

• For Pocahontas County Schools to adopt the following music text books, effective for the 2016-2017 school year: K-8 Music – Quaver Music; Level I Choral Music – McGraw Hill’s Hal Leonard Voices in Concert; Level II Choral Music – McGraw Hill’s Hal Leonard Voices in Concert; Level III Choral Music – McGraw Hill’s Hal Leonard Voices in Concert; and Music Appreciation History – McGraw Hill’s Music: Its Role and Importance in our Lives.

• Wanda Hrabina and Shirlene Groseclose to chaperone 12 Pocahontas County High School students to Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Greenbrier Valley Airport Authority, departing the Greenbrier Valley Airport on Sunday, May 15, and returning to the same location on Tuesday, May 17.

• P. Duane Gibson and Justin M. Kerr to transport 12 Pocahontas County High School students by rental van to the SkillsUSA competition near Clarksburg, retroactive to April 14-16.

• Pocahontas County Free Libraries to work in cooperation with the Pocahontas County Board of Education to construct an addition to the building known as Hillsboro Public Library, owned by the Pocahontas County Board of Education. All cost to be paid for by the Pocahontas County Free Libraries.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Employment of Melissa Erin Baldwin as teacher of English/Language Arts/Reading at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, at state basic pay based on degree and experience, effective for the 2016-2017 school year. Term of employment is 200 days.

• Employment of Daniel Mullens as teacher of social studies at Marlinton Middle School, at state basic pay based on degree and experience, effective for the 2016-2017 school year. Term of employment is 200 days.

• Requested transfer of Wanda Hrabina from teacher of health/social studies at Pocahontas County High School to teacher of social studies at Pocahontas County High School, at state basic salary based on degree and experience, effective for the 2016-2017 school year. Term of employment is 200 days.

The next board of education meeting will be held at Hillsboro Elementary School Monday, May 9, starting with a work session at 4:20 p.m. The meeting will follow immediately after the work session finishes.

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