New Pocahontas County Schools Grant to Better Coordinate Science and Math Instruction

Pocahontas Math Coach Joanna Bert- Kinderman announced to the Board of Education at their June 4th meeting, the reception of a $10,000 STEM Grant that enables the Board to hire Mary Sue Burns, a retired PCHS Science Teacher, as a Science Coach for the Pocahontas County Schools. Bert-Kinderman said that their goal is for Burns to coordinate the efforts between the Science Teachers and the Math Teachers to ensure that the math approach taught and used as part of the Science classes is consistent with the Math approach being taught in Math classes. She said this will better serve the students needs. The funding for this grant ends in December, but Bert-Kinderman will be re-applying to extend it, and is optimistic about that. She said that there will be regular meetings between Math and Science Teachers to ensure that their Math approaches are consistent. This coordination effort will include a summer institute with teachers from both disciplines attending. If the grant is extended past December, Bert-Kinderman hopes to include some vocational classes, such as carpentry, which also uses math in this. Later in this meeting, the Board approved employing Mary Sue Burns for up to 150 hours through December 31st as a Science Coach under this grant.

Bert-Kinderman also announced four other proposals which have not yet been funded by grants, but she is optimistic about receiving these grants. One is a Mountaineer Master Teacher Stipend where, in conjunction with WVU, our Math Teachers can coach and guide Math teachers in other school districts. Another proposal is, in conjunction with the National Science Foundation, would take the Pocahontas County Schools approach to teaching Math to other school districts statewide. The third proposal is a program from the National Council for Community and Educational Partnerships which has these goals:

  • To increase graduation rates
  • To increase post-graduation educational participation
  • And to increase academic performance.

The fourth proposal is an after school club program called the Health Sciences & Technology Academy and is associated with WV Wesleyan. This academy would be limited to 10 high school students who can earn full tuition waivers at in state schools which include undergraduate and graduate school, by attending 70% of the after school programs, maintaining a 3.0 GPA, annually completing a research project, attend two summer academies, and complete 75 hours of community service. Bert-Kinderman said this could completely pay for a successful participants career education, even all the way through medical school if that is what they choose, or other professional careers.

Also, at the June 4th meeting, the Board heard from School Superintendent Terrence Beam who announced that the first meeting of the entire CEFP Committee was held on Wednesday, May 29th. We will be discussing what happened at that meeting with Beam in an upcoming Superintendent’s Report to our listeners.  Beam also announced that they will soon be interviewing for the Principal’s position at Green Bank Elementary – Middle School.

Ruth Bland, Director of Transportation for the schools told the Board that money left over in the transportation fund will be used to re-grade the area outside of the bus Garage, which, along with replacing a window and guttering should end the water problems there. Bland also said they will be removing 5 older busses from the fleet and will auction them off, with any proceeds going beck into the transportation fund. She said they received $132,000 this year for bus replacement, which will pay for one new bus with the left-over will be held over towards bus purchases next year.

Morgan McCombs, the Clerk of the Works for the PCHS Major Improvement Project, reported that the Fire alarm system has been installed successfully, as has the new sewer system, and work is beginning on replacing the water tower at the school. The entire project should be complete before school reopens in August, although they are still waiting for the new doors for the Vocational Building.

The Board approved a new Athletic Policy, and placed a Field Trips and Excursions Policy on 30-day public  comment, although Ruth Bland hopes the new policy in its final form will limit the number of “fun only” trips – as opposed to “educational” field trips, because of the transportation expenses.

A copy of the approved personnel actions and the meeting agenda can be found at this link: 6-3-19 Actual BOE Agenda

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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