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Pocahontas Board of Ed. Celebrates Innovation Zone Grant Achievements

At their March 11th meeting, the Pocahontas County Board of Education and grant administrator Laura Young celebrated the improvements at the county schools because of the Innovation Zone Grant.

As a result of six years and $600,000 in Innovation Zone funding of dropout prevention and wellness programs, the county schools have seen many positive changes. The first three years of the grant focused on dropout prevention and created programs at Pocahontas County High School to help students stay in school and receive a degree or GED, increasing the graduation rate each year for the past six years.

Option Pathway teacher Emily McLaughlin explained that students responded well to the Option Pathway Program, which helped them complete high school. Many of the students who graduated through Options Pathway had been on the path of dropping out.

The next three years of the grant focused improving the health and wellness of students. Grant money was used to change school menus to provide healthier and fresher meals, and also to implement after school clubs and activities. Young said Jean Srodes helped develop many of the Grant’s Programs including starting dozens of after school activity clubs for students, such as the radio club, bicycling club, quilting, equine therapy, and kayaking. Srodes received national awards and recognition for her work. She was also named the 2018 Volunteer of the Year by the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.

The Innovation Zone grant has ended, but the Board of Education has hired Young as a grant writer and she is currently working on obtaining a 21st Century Grant to help continue programs which began with the Innovation Zone.

The Board thanked everyone involved in the Innovation Zone programs.

In his Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Beam said Marlinton Middle School received a $1,500 grant from the Education Alliance to engage seventh grade students in free college visits. Beam also reported that they are applying to the School Building Authority for a Major Improvements Project grant, abbreviated as MIP, to replace the roof at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School, which had not been approved for the current MIP Project at that school

Student Representative Jarod Liptrap reported that the National Honor Society continues to visit the elementary schools to work with students and teachers in the classroom. He added that spring sports are in full swing.

The Board also approved the following:

  • The 2019-2010 school calendar and to apply for permission to use reimagining time non-traditional instructional days.
  • Policy BCBM – Board of Education meetings.
  • Two field trips to Massanutten Indoor Water Park in McGaheysville, Virginia. One on May 17th for Green Bank Elementary-Middle School students and one for Marlinton Middle School students on May 20th.
  • Jessie Sharp and Ronnie Gordon as fourth and fifth grade Volunteer basketball coaches at Marlinton Elementary School
  • Kelly Andrews Meck as a parent/community volunteer.
  • Educational leave for the children of Samantha Hefner from March 21 through April 4
  • Patrick D. Gibson, Justin Kerr and Crystal Kerr to transport eight to 12 students, by private vehicle, to the SkillsUSA Competition in Bridgeport/Clarksburg, March 21 through March 23. And
  • A Personnel Agenda which can be found with this story on our website.

Finally, we would like to thank Suzanne Stewart of the Pocahontas Times for her help in compiling this story

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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