Pocahontas County Interim Superintendent of Schools Briefs the Public
Interim Pocahontas County As part of his effort to promote openness between the Schools and the Community, Terrance Beam, the Superintendent of Schools continues providing his monthly update to the Community.
Of course, he starts with his efforts to promote dialog with the public.
“I appreciate the opportunity to talk with the citizens of Pocahontas County and the students and employees about some of the things we are looking at for our school system” said Beam. “One of the things that we touched on last time was the importance of the communication and getting out into the community and meeting people and talking to them. That is something I think is extremely important that we do. When we talk about getting out and talking to the public, we’re not talking about just talking to the parents. We’re talking about talking with the community – the business leaders, the grandparents, everybody in Pocahontas County that has a vested interest in our educational system.”
When Mr. Beam refers to talking with the community, he also means listening to the community.
“I want to hear their opinions” Beam said. “We’re going to have some parent forums, some community forums where we just sit down and talk. I want to hear what they have to say and I would like to have them hear some things I have to offer – just kind of get to know each other a little bit.”
Mr. Beam mentioned that next week he and the Board of Education will be meeting in special session to develop specific goals for the upcoming school year.
There is one major issue he intends to address quickly, the drop-out rate. He points out that of the 6 county school systems in our region (RESA 4), the Pocahontas County School’s drop-out rate is below Greenbrier and Nicholas Counties, but is better than Webster, Fayette and Braxton Counties. Mr. Beam says that he will not be satisfied until our drop-out rate is zero. He expounds upon some of his ideas for reducing the drop-out rate.
“I think one of the things is trying to do some earlier intervention with our kids” Beam said. “Identify those students in Middle School or even in upper Elementary School that you fear down the road may turn into potential drop-outs. Try to head that off as quickly as possible. Sit down with those kids and provide them with guidance, help them with their academics so they don’t get into a situation where they feel like they’re failing and can’t possibly catch up.”
Mr. Beam talks about another approach to fighting the student drop-out problem.
“Our promotion and retention policy is something we are going to be putting out on comment soon” Beam said. “I see a real strong correlation between a student who is retained, especially more than once and the drop=out rate. Almost all those kids, if they’re held back a couple of times, they give up hope. We don’t need to do that to them, and I think that we are. My goal is to get the retentions severely lessoned, especially when kids get past 2nd and 3rd grade I think retaining is really difficult for them socially and emotionally – I am not sure if it does much good anyway. So, we’re going to look at that policy and I am sure we’re going to get a lot of questions and answers about that from different people.”
The school buildings themselves also need addressing.
“The other thing we need to start to look at – it’s not a real popular thing to talk about, but it has to be addressed in the future, and that’s our facilities” said Beam. “Our schools are very clean, our custodians do an absolutely fantastic job of making our schools look as good as they possibly can look. We have older buildings that, just like anything else wear out after a while. And it costs a lot of money to keep renovating these things and so we need to look down the road to possibly trying to find a way to improve our facilities.”
Mr. Beam feels his new job has gotten off to a good start.
“It’s been a very interesting first month and we’ve gotten a lot of things accomplished and we have a long way to go but I am enjoying what I am doing” Beam said. “I’ve had a few people stop by to say hello, and I invite the public to come in to say hello, to meet me and I’m always glad to talk to people and hear what’s on their mind.”