Class Size Matters


According to the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science, small class sizes have been proven to increase student achievement. This was one of the points brought up at Monday night’s Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, where parents and teachers from Green Bank Elementary-Middle School continued to respond to the Board’s recent decision to abolish two teaching positions at the school.

Science Teacher Anne Smith described Green Bank’s new schedule, revised in response to the recent loss of the two teaching positions, and explained how these changes will negatively impact the school. For example, a number of students will only be able to take one elective—either art, band, or Spanish. Two Physical Education classes will share the gym at one time, with 24 students in one half of the gym and 16 students in the other half. A 1st Grade teacher will have to teach 5th Grade Science, with the 5th Grade teacher teaching all other 5th Grade courses, as well as a 90 minute period of 6th Grade Reading & Language Arts.

The changes at Green Bank will also lead to a number of combined classes: in 1st Grade for one period, 5th Grade for all periods except Science, 6th Grade for all periods, and 8th Grade for all periods except Math.

“The positions that were cut at Green Bank were paid for” Smith said. “They’re needed. And I believe the education of the students at Green Bank will suffer because of these cuts. Not because of the teachers but because of the combined classes and small rooms and areas in which to work in.”

In other matters, with the changes surrounding 5th grade moving to Marlinton Elementary School, parents continue to wonder how the move will negatively impact the drama and band programs at Marlinton Middle School.

The Board approved the resignation of Janet E. McNeel as Board of Education member and representative of the southern district of Pocahontas County. Cheryl Beverage was elected as Board Vice President for the term ending June 30, 2016. Emory Grimes was elected as Board of Education Member representative for the RESA IV Regional Council, effective for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Board also approved the following:

  • An agreement with Laurel B. Dilley to serve as Volunteer Assistant Track Coach (girls) at Pocahontas County High School
  • An agreement with Mark A. Agee to serve as Volunteer Assistant Coach for 7th and 8th Grade Football at Pocahontas County High School
  • An agreement with the Board of Education and County Commission regarding the installation and maintenance of a generator at Marlinton Middle School to be used in the event of declared emergencies
  • Memorandums of Understanding with Community Care of West Virginia, Inc. to provide School Based Health Care to the students at Pocahontas County High School, Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, and Marlinton Middle School, and Marlinton Elementary School

The Board also approved contracts and employment with the following individuals:

  • Nancy T. Martin to provide Technology Support Assistant Services to Pocahontas County Schools
  • Joyce Ware to provide psychological and other evaluation services to Pocahontas County Schools
  • Angela G. Irvine as Custodian III half-time at Hillsboro Elementary
  • P. Erwin Berry as Teacher of Agriculture Education at Pocahontas County High School
  • Rebecca Davis as Itinerant Classroom Aide/Bus Aid for Pocahontas County Schools
  • Mark Landis as Assistant Football Coach at Pocahontas County High School

Thirty-six individuals were approved as Substitute Teachers in Pocahontas Schools for the 2014-2015 school year: Daniel E. Arbogast II, M. Susan Arbogast, Delmos F. Barb, Teresa W. Barb, Matthew Barkley, Shannon B. Bircher, McArthur L. Buzzard Jr., Jessica E. Cole, Jessica Hayes, Diane E. Hoover, Michael R. Hudson, Allen Johnson, Debora Johnson, Cheryl Jonese, Judith A. Kane, Mary Lois McCutcheon, Freda P. McKean, Maria McKelvey, Rebecca A. O’Brien, Susan G. Peck, Thomas E. Plumly, Victoria J. Poundstone, Brittany Propst, Aaron Pugh, Christine Ribinsky, Lucy M. Rittenhouse, Jack M. Sanders Jr., Robert A Sheets, Jean O. Srodes, Louse M. Starke, Becky Taylor, Linda H. VanReenen, Timothy W. VanReenen, Jeanette D. Wagner, Cindy L. White, Sharla Sherman

Superintendent Donald Bechtel gave special recognition to Jean Srodes for her work with high school students for credit recovery.  “We’re having a lot of success,” Dr. Bechtel said, “and it’s because of her encouragement and persistence and connection with the students and the parents.” Srodes was recognized as a Governor’s Service Award recipient earlier this year.

The next Board of Education meeting will be Monday, August 11, at 7pm at the Pocahontas County Board of Education Conference Room.

Story By

Megan Moriarty

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