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PCHS English Language Arts Test Scores; How They Did It

In this part of our Pocahontas County School test results stories, we take a look at the 11th grade reading scores achieved last spring at PCHS. While not number one in the state in reading, the Reading scores did show an almost 8 percent increase over the prior year.

We talked with three PCHS English Language Arts Teachers to learn more about what they are doing to improve the reading scores.  Samara Mann is first up.

“I teach freshman, sophomore and the college English class at Cabell Midland High School” said Mann. “Our scores this year were phenomenal and we are very pleased with that and so we are on the right track with encouraging the writing and analysis. Critical thinking is so valuable, and that’s something that writing really brings out if you ynow the words to use, and you have to build your vocabulary so you have the right words to use. We work a lot with writing as a process so revision is very important, and learning to read what is on the page and not what students think they might have written. We do all kinds of genres’, Illustrative, Narrative Compare and Contrast, and a very important component, the Research Element, learning how to do citations and evaluate your sources using sources that are credible not just where you can easily find an answer. The movement right now with English Education is looking at non-fiction and informational text and so it is very important students learn how to pull out statements and main ideas to really pull out the main message.”

ELA Teacher Stephanie Poppi adds her thoughts on this.

“I teach Language Arts at the High School for ninth grade, eleventh grade and twelfth grade” said Poppi. “This year we’re rolling out some new ideas in the Language Arts Department thatwill go throughout the school. One thing we’re starting is Success in writing Program. All the departments will start writing in complete sentences and making sure the students are writing a lot more in their classes and assignments. We’ve gone back to a lot of teaching the basics. In the past two or three years we have increased the type of writing they are doing and the amount of writing. Also this year we are going to reward our students for our scores last year. Our eleventh graders, when they took the smarter Balance Test improved tremendously and so we are going to reward our kids for doing a great job. Ninety percent of them  put their hardest in, of course we’re going to get the rest of them to come along this year. I think our scores will be even higher and we’re just moving in the right direction.”

Our next PCHS ELA teacher is Joyce Boothe.

“I teach twelfth grade Senior English, tenth grade Honors, regular tenth grade and then an integrated fine arts class” said Boothe. “We have gone a long way with our writing. Getting back to the basics is so important because we find that college students are graduating and they still need remedial help in writing and reading. All of our disciplines are working together as a group. We’re making sure  students are incorporating the question in their answers using full, complete sentences. That will help our scores, but we did have such a tremendous success in the last few years in our English. That’s all from our working as a group If you can’t read, you can’t write, you can’t do anything. We are finding out getting to the basics is the way to solve that problem.”

We also heard from Mary Grace Rich, a senior at PCHS.

“I started out in my freshman year in English Arts Nine, taught by Miss Poppi” said rich. “It was the first English Arts class where I really learned a lot about old literature and new literature and we really focused on symbolism in the literature. It really prepared me for the next class which was English Arts ten in my sophomore class which was taught by Miss Boothe. In that class I learned a ton. I learned a lot of new words. She ensured we learned a lot. My Junior year we were in AP (Advanced Placement) Eleven. At the end of the year we had to take an AP test which got us college credit. This year I’m in College English with Miss Mann and we’re looking at literature from all the way back a thousand years ago and next semester we’ll be moving up to current literature. We’re getting college credit for that. There is a lot of really great teachers here.”

We end our look at the PCHS English program by hearing from another student, Joe Whalen, als a Senior.

“I started out with Pre-AP English 9 Freshman year and just went up the ranks to College English” said Whalen . “It’s pretty good. You learn about old literature, Old English and Middle English, gothis poems and stuff like that. You learn a lot about new vocabulary and putting words together, weird sentence structure and things along those lines

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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