Pocahontas County School Superintendent’s September Report PART2
In Part 1 of his September Pocahontas County School Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Terrence Beam talked about the 3 goals set by the County Board of Education. Here, is Mr. Beam’s summary of those goals.
“To summarize those” (Board of Education Goals) said Mr. Beam, “The first one is to create a positive atmosphere, two is to address our facility needs and three is to provide more opportunity for our teachers to plan together. So those are the goals we are working on this year and I think we will be successful in attaining those Goals.”
But these goals are not the only issues Mr. Beam wanted to bring up to the public in his September report.
“The next issue I wanted to talk about, I wanted to review briefly with the community the Alternative Education Program” said Beam. “The Alt Ed program has been in existence for several years and it was housed in the Pocahontas County High School. Basically what it was used for was when you had students who were unruly in class to a point where it was just better that they be placed in a different setting they were sent to the High School in a classroom up there and that’s where they received their instruction.”
Mr. Beam has been troubled with this program as he explains.
“But over the last few years I have noticed that we have more and more students at a younger and younger age that were being sent to alternative Education Classes” Beam says. “And I didn’t feet that it was appropriate for a 4th or 5th grade student, for example, to be sent to the High school and be working in the same classroom with a senior in high School. I’m not sure that’s what we really want to do and I’m not sure how much benefit that would be to the student, and the ultimate goal of any program is to benefit the student.”
Superintendent Beam came up with a better idea for this.
“I approached the Board last year about creating Alternative Education in both our Middle Schools” said Beam. “And it served two purposes. First of all, the students in the Middle Schools that were being recommended for Alternative Education would be kept at their own home school to get that instruction and not transported to the High School. And then the Elementary students who were being recommended would go instead to the Middle School for that instruction rather than the High School, which is much more age appropriate for them. So, for example, if you have a 4th or 5th grader now who gets recommended for Alternative Education then they would go to the nearest Middle School for that instruction rather than to the high School.”
This change is starting out well this year as Mr. Beam points out.
“So when we posted the positions this year we were extremely fortunate to hire two very highly respected educators in our County to run those programs” Beam said. “Julian Rittenhouse is our Alternative Education Teacher at Green Bank Elementary/Middle School and Margaret Worth at Marlinton Middle School. And both are excited about the opportunity, and I have assured them that they, along with the Principal will be allowed to build that program in the direction they feel it needs to go because they, as the school employees know their students better than we do, and so they should know what’s best for them.”
Mr. Beam did want to clarify one point about the Alternative Education Program.
“The other thing I want to make sure everybody understands about Alternative Education “ said Beam, “Even though its original focus was on students who had behavioral problems, it’s also for students who are struggling academically. They also get placed in that setting, and it’s not because they caused a lot of problems in classes, it’s because they may be struggling with their lessons and Mr. Rittenhouse and Mrs. Worth at the Middle Schools and Mr. Landis at the High school then will work with those students with academic issues and not just behavior issues.
So those are the two topics I wanted to talk about, Goals and also about the Alt Ed Program. I appreciate the opportunity to address the public on these topics. “