Part Two of Our April 30th Interview with Pocahontas School Superintendent Terrence Beam
This is the second part of our April 30th interview with Terrence Beam, the Pocahontas County School Superintendent, where he discusses multi-cultural education, school funding and an exciting new recreational program for 2nd through 5th graders.
Beam starts with the multi-cultural curriculum.
“We’ve had some discussions and issues and complaints from parents about some very sensitive issues dealing with multi-cultural education, or lack of,” said Beam. “And we have formed a committee made up of representatives of each school, and parents from each community that want to participate. And we are basically taking the goals and objectives that are listed by the State Department (of Education) for us to follow for multi-cultural curriculum, and try to make it something that makes sense for us. To address issues that people feel in our county that we’ve not done a good enough job of addressing. We certainly don’t believe that we live in a community that supports racism. But, when you go down this road to try to address this issue, some people think that means we are doing a terrible job, or that our kids are racist and we need to change that. And, if you don’t go down that road and teach acceptance and understanding of other races than you are ignoring the problem. So, it’s kind of one of those situations where ether way you go, whether you put more emphasis on it, or just leave it the way it is, one group or another will say you will say you’re either doing enough or you’re doing too much or you’re bringing too much attention to this, or you’re ignoring the problem.”
“So, each school will have a group that is going to meet with Lynne Bostic and Ruth Bland. We want to get peoples’ views on what they are already doing in their schools to address these issues and what they think we still need to do. And we will be doing regular reports with our Board of Education to explain exactly what we are doing. We’re going to have speakers come in and talk to our employees. And we’re just going to try to put a more positive approach to addressing these issues without trying to be political or judgmental with peoples’ views.”
“The next item I want to talk about a little bit is, every school system is getting money from the Federal Government -they call it CARES money, they call it COVID money, they call it ESSERF money. It gives us some opportunities to do some things in our county that we’ve not been able to do for a while. Some of these grants are good for a couple of years, some are good for three years. We are checking various projects that we’d like to explore.”
Where do our schools stand with new SBA funding?
“Well, we did apply for money from the SBA. A couple of months ago we interviewed (with the SBA) and then they made the announcement a couple of weeks ago that we were not funded” said Beam. “They used almost entirely all the seventy-five million dollars that they had available, and gave it to counties that wanted to build schools or move schools out of the flood plain.”
“The last thing I want to talk about is something very exciting that we are going to bring to our board (of Education) on June first. Lynne Bostic and Ruth Bland and I a Zoom Meeting with Traci Villach about a possible program involving our grades two through five starting next fall. We’re wanting to find a way to get our students more involved with activities available to them in Pocahontas County. this would be a four-week program, one day a week, in which the students would be involved in learning to bike ride, trail bike ride, skiing, kayaking, learning to hit a golf ball, spelunking -going through caves – these kinds of activities and many others, exposing our kids to things they might not be aware of in our county. We’ve got a lot of kids that don’t get to do those things, and so we want to just introduce them to this. If there is an activity the parents don’t feel comfortable with, of course they can opt out of that.