School year going well at GBEMS

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) and Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday afternoon at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, principal Ricky Sharp and student body president Cheylin Woodruff informed the board that the school year is off to a great start.

“In all my seven years of being a principal, I have to say this is the smoothest start I’ve had,” Sharp said.

Sharp explained that the school has implemented a few new programs to help make the school year go well.

The Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) program has helped lower the number of discipline issues at the school. Instead of punishing students for bad behavior, the program focuses on rewarded students for good behavior.

“PBIS has made a huge difference in our discipline this year,” Sharp said. “Our numbers are down almost fifty percent this year from where they were last year. I think that we’ve been offering some decent awards. It’s a great program and the teachers have contributed to the success of the program.”

Some of the awards students may receive include free passes to Pocahontas County High School football games, cash, iTunes cards, homework passes, game room passes, extra recess and assisting Ira Brown in the press box at PCHS football games.
Woodruff recently received a pass to do the latter and said she had fun in the press box.

Sharp also reported that the after-school program, Project SPLASH, is off to a great start, as well, and there are several activities for students to participate in including fly-tying, quilting, sewing, yoga and ceramics.

Looking at the school’s personal goals for improvement, Sharp said he wants to focus on improving reading skills, which seem to be falling behind other core classes.

“Our reading scores seem to be our low point at our school,” he said. “We only had one grade level to meet state proficiency on the West Virginia assessment. Our third grade scores were high across the board, both math and reading. Every other grade level – four through eight – reading did not match the county level of proficiency or the state level. That is a weak area we need to approve upon this year.”

The school recently changed from an eight period day to a nine period day and Sharp said he plans to use that extra period to help students improve their reading skills.

Sharp also gave updates on the many committees at GBEMS. Although it is still early in the school year, the committees of Crisis Response, Safety, Technology, Curriculum, Wellness and Leadership have met to discuss issues at the school.

Woodruff gave a report in which she shared some of the good and bad things happening at GBEMS.

“I’m really happy with our [art] program this year,” she said. “One of the things Ms. [Alison] Flegel offers are the murals around the school. This year we’re working on one big mural and mostly doorways.”

Woodruff added that the student body was able to choose which clubs they wanted to participate in and there are several to choose from including archery, yoga, cooking, Fellowship of Christian Students, RAZE and SADD, to name a few.

The FCS club recently had a Prayer at the Pole event and Woodruff said she was pleased with the turnout of more than 100 students.

In concerns, Woodruff said the Spanish 1 video chat equipment is not working well and is hindering the students.

“The equipment has been having problems and has been cutting out,” she said. “We can’t hear each other. There’s a bunch of issues going on.”

The board thanked Sharp, Woodruff and the seventh and eighth grade students in attendance for all the information. After the meeting, the board answered questions from students and staff.

The next regular board meeting is Monday, October 10, at 6 p.m., at the board of education conference room.

The next LSIC meeting is Monday, October 17, at 3 p.m., at Marlinton Middle School.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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