Avoiding this Spring’s- Personnel Drama Next Year

At the Work Session which was held right before the June 11th regular Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, School Superintendent Lynne Bostic made a presentation about School Personnel Law.

She talked about how she plans next year avoid the confusion and consternation experienced this past spring over the proposed transfers and RIFs.

She said that on or before April 1, 2025, according to WV State Codes (18A-4-7a and 18A-4-8b,) she is required to provide written notice to any professional and service employees who are being considered for transfer or RIF, but until the employees have an opportunity to have hearing before the board members on or before May 1, 2025, the code says board members should not be presented with the specific names of these individual or any other specifics about individual cases. However, she should inform the board of the need for possible upcoming personnel actions, including general staffing and program priorities that might require transfers or RIFs

Bostic explained that those state rules anticipate that until the requested hearings take place, in order for the board to be unbiased, only the superintendent, the principal and the employee should be aware of the proposed action. This, Bostic said, was where the state system broke down last spring because the employees chose to announce the proposed actions publicly.

Bostic said she needs to better prepare for next spring’s personnel season, acknowledging that this year she needs to do a better job communicating with staff, the public and the media about the personnel process, perhaps conducting a meeting early on with all parents and staff, to brief them on the general reasons personnel transfers and RIFs are being considered, and explaining to them the state laws and processes that apply. She said she will also be more open with them about the budget situation.

Also at the work session, the members conducted an evaluation of the superintendent and a self-evaluation of their own performance this past year.

At the regular meeting, Bostic reported on this year’s credit recovery program, saying that 46 students needed to do credit recovery in 65 classes, most involving Math, English and Social Studies.  She also said they are conducting a Special Education Extended Year Program at Hillsboro Elementary School which involves 2 special needs students and 2 half-time teachers.

Kristy Tritapoe and Stephanie Burns explained the difference between traditional report cards and Standards-Based report cards, which last year were used in grades 1 through 3, and will be also used this coming school year in 4th grade. Burns said these standards-based report cards get away from the one overall percentage grade and letter grade traditionally used to score each subject, and instead students will be graded on each specific standard required for a subject – for example in math a student will be graded on addition and subtraction as one standard and “multiplication and division as another.

Each subject will have multiple standards that must be met and graded. They said this makes it much clearer to parents and future teachers specifically where a student stands in each subject, and in what specific areas of a subject they might need improvement. On this new report card, students receive a grade for each standard within a subject: “E” for exceeds standard, “M” for meets standard, “PM” for Partially Meets, “D” for does not meet, or “N/A” when the standard was not measures at this time. Eventually they plan to include 5th grade in this standards-based report card system as well. They said both teachers and parents indicate they like this new report card.

Duane Gibson gave a report on maintenance. He said the Roof and Boiler Project at Marlinton Elementary School is progressing, the last roof panels have been set, and the boilers are in place, and piping for them is underway. He said they are selecting an architect for the replacement of the gym floor at PCHS, and he talked about the demolition project of the old BOE Office.

Additionally, the members approved their routine financial reports, approved their BOE meeting schedule for next year. And approved the recommended personnel actions.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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