Pocahontas County BOE Briefed on Summer Programs and New Education Grants

Speaking at the October 17th Pocahontas County BOE meeting, Camie Kesterson, the Summer School Coordinator described this year’s four very successful elementary grade summer school “camps,” which were held at Marlinton Elementary School.  She said each of these were one week long and an average of 28 students attended each of these themed camps.

  1. Camp “Wild and Wonderful WV” ran from June 21st to the 24th and focused on the beauties of the State.
  2. Camp ‘Pioneer Days” ran from June 27th to the 30th, and focused on the county’s history.
  3. Camp “Wet” ran from July 11th to the 15th, and focused on rain, thunderstorms, rivers and oceans.
  4. Camp “Explore Your Environment” ran from July 18th to the 21st, and focused on bugs, worms, the water/soil cycle, trees and leaves.

Kesterson said exploring each of these themes involved reading, science, arts, and social/emotional lessons, and each allowed the students to take home a book related to that camp’s theme. She also showed the board a slide presentation of photos from the camps.

Lynn Bostic, Director of Curriculum, joined by Stephanie Burns, and Becky Spencer, informed the members about grant-funded programs designed to help teachers to teach more effectively and in establishing more collaboration between teachers of different schools to help each other to be more effective. She said these grants concentrated initially on grades kindergarten through second grade and on reading, writing and science, however they were expanded to grades pre-k and grade 3 by a supplemental grant. A third grant will provide two instructional coaches, Mary Sue Burns for science and Shannon Rittenhouse for social studies.

In his report, Superintendent Beam said that they will return to enforcing their policy of requiring substitute service personnel to accept 10 substitute offers to work if they receive that number, or lose their seniority. He said enforcement of that policy had been suspended the past two years due to the pandemic.

Student Representative Haley Spencer told the board that the Student Council has been re-established at PCHS and will meet every Tuesday. She also said they elected Student LSIC members, and she complemented the new landscaping in front of the high school which was planted by the AG students, the Forestry students with the help of the community in Schools and the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition.

County Assessor Johnney Pritt told the board that if Amendment #2 on the WV ballots on November 8 passes, the BOE and the County Commission stand to lose a combined 1.1 to 1.2 million dollars a year in tax revenues. That amendment would amend the state constitution to allow the legislature to do away with the annual Personal Property Tax on vehicles and on business inventories and equipment. Pritt said he believes if that happens, real estate taxes will be raised to compensate for that. The board voted to issue a resolution opposing the passage of Amendment 2.

Mayor Sam Felton asked the board to donate a piece of school-owned property- the bus lot  on 9th Street to the Town of Marlinton to use as a trailhead. He said this will help the IMBA Ride Center here achieve “gold” status, which will be a boom for county’s economy. The board voted to donate the bus lot, provided there is a letter of understanding with the town that students can still use it to get on school busses and that if the town ever stops using it as a trailhead, the property would revert back to board ownership.

Nurse Jenny Friel asked the board to approve the purchase of Narcan nasal spray to keep in the each of the schools. She said this is needed because Fentanyl overdoses could become more common here, and Narcan can save lives of those overdosing on opioids such as Fentanyl. The board will consider approving her request at their November 29th meeting

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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