Pocahontas Board of Ed to hold outreach meetings
Marlinton, W.Va. –
The Pocahontas County Board of Education is conducting a series of meetings to hear ideas and feedback from residents and provide information to the public.
Board president Emery Grimes talks about the first meeting.
“Monday night, September the 17th at 6 o’clock p.m., down there at the Hillsboro gym, we plan on having a public meeting and have some of the citizens show up there,” he said. “We’re putting about a million-and-a-half dollars into that school down there in that cafeteria. And we finally got that through, since we’ve worked on it for the last – I guess – the last four years getting that through. And we want to know what problems that they have down there, what they like about the school, what they dislike about the school. Just some public information that us, as board members, and Mr. Lester, as superintendant – it’s an information gathering session, so we can figure out what the problems are or what they like about that school.”
Schools Superintendant C.C. Lester wants the public to know what’s happening in the schools.
“In today’s society, it’s very important to communicate,” he said. “And last year we were actually talking about going out and visiting all the areas in the county to see their concerns and let them know what we’re doing. There’s a lot of good, positive things happening in the county. So this is the superintendant’s forum – slash – Board of Education forum. No actions are taken. Where we go out and just see how people feel like.”
Lester says there’s good news to report.
“The main thing I’m very, very proud of and I want to get out today is the ranking of our county in the state with WestTest data,” he said. “I think it’s fantastic. Pocahontas County school system is number 17 in the state. That’s pretty tremendous. You know, I think a lot of times people don’t realize what things that we are doing here positive. Last night, I announced that there’s 44 students now that will be in the Hidden Promise Consortium scholarship at Glenville. There’s just a lot of good, positive things going on in the county that nobody’s aware of. It’s not a gripe session. It’s just to let them know there are a lot of good people here in the school system, a lot of good students – wonderful people here. And just to make the people aware that they are important and they need to see what’s going on.”
Grimes says school interventionists were a major factor in improving test results.
“One of the biggest factors was getting the teachers some help in schools with the interventionists,” he said. “Whenever he come in and he recommended that to the board, the board pretty well jumped on that. At our middle school levels and we got – basically what it is a high school graduation coach to help these kids with their mentorships and the things they got going on. They just needed a little extra push. A lot of people might not understand it and I heard this at a meeting in Charleston – we start these kids out in Head Start or kindergarten and we expect all of them to run the same race, clear through high school. Some kids can do that but some’s ahead and some fall behind. We have to have people in our system that will pick up them people because they count against your test scores too. So, you have to have that interventionist that Mr. Lester has put in place.”
Grimes says the meetings will be particularly helpful for young parents.
“If you’ve been through the system a time or two, you kind of know how it works,” he said. But young parents don’t always know how that works. Board of Education members are elected. They’re employed by the general public, basically. We listen to all the gripes and all the concerns and all the good things too. But, we are that mentor between the general public and the school system, is what the Board of Education does. And we need to know what the community thinks and they need to know what we can do, according to law. Because the law limits Board of Education members very strenuous. It’s a very strict line that we have to follow.”
The president is hoping for a big turnout.
“If you’re paying taxes in Pocahontas County, you’re paying for school – okay,” he said. “I don’t care if its’ parents, grandparents, children – we want everybody to come. We would like to see that gym full of people down there Monday night.”
The board’s first public meeting is at Hillsboro Elementary School gymnasium, Monday, September 17 at 6 p.m.