Pocahontas School Superintendent Lester Appreciates School Staff
Marlinton, WV – After attending a recent meeting with other county school administrators from around West Virginia, Pocahontas School Superintendent CC Lester has a new appreciation for the teacher in the county. He spoke about that at the beginning of the Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting Monday night.
“We have a lot of good schools, a lot of good teachers and a lot of good things going on in this county” says Lester. “We’re blessed, believe me with a lot of the people we have working here. You get around about 38 other personnel directors and Superintendents, there’s a lot of major problems in other schools that we don’t have here.”
“I know there’s room for improvement, and we’re working on that. People go out and look at what’s happening in the classroom, and we have a lot of hardworking people in this county, and I’d just like to thank everybody for a job well done.”
Terrence Beam, Director of Federal Program for Pochontas schools says one of those challenges is the increased need for special education teachers who can write an Individualized Education Plan or IEP for students and mentors for those teachers.
“We’re having trouble finding people who are trained in writing the new IEP’s online” he says “there are no mentors that have that training. So we’re trying to organize a training for mentors and also for special education teachers on how to do the IEP’s online. We don’t have a lot of people that are currently on our mentor list that have a special ed background.”
Beam says he’s sent an email to the county Principals about the upcoming training. Diane Delfino, Pocahontas schools Director of Services, says the lack of special education teaching staff has reached an acute level at Green Bank Elementary Middle School. She says at the beginning of the school year, Green Bank had one special educator and 14 students.
“Now we’re up to 18 students ranging from ages first grade to eighth grade” says Delfino. “Our problem is with Policy 2419, you cannot have first graders in with eighth graders; you have to have age appropriate peers together. So we cannot self contain a second grader with an eighth grader, which is what we have; we have a second grader, a third grader and a seventh grader and an eighth grader. We’re doing grades first through eighth, one person trying to do all these grade levels.”
She says they are using the special education aide to help with the students, but that could get them in trouble with the state education department. She says they most likely have to create a second special education teaching position at Green Bank.
In other business, School Treasurer Alice Irvine says a test of the School Messenger system was conducted the evening of November 8th. The new system will be used to call parents when school is closed due to weather conditions and can be used for other notifications as well. Irvine says the system is open to all county residents, regardless of whether or not they have children in school.
The board members also discussed ongoing complaints about Fox Photographics, the company responsible for the high school yearbooks. Superintendent Lester says they’ve made several promises, but haven’t followed through. Board members say this is a school issue and referred the problem back to high school Principal Tom Sanders.
On the personnel agenda, Shannon Anderson, a teacher at Marlinton Elementary School, was granted a medical leave of absence, effective November 29th through January 14, 2011.
Lesli Mensing is employed as an assistant girls basketball coach at Marlinton Middle School.
Kimberly Coleman is stepping down as Cheerleader coach at Pocahontas County HS, retroactive to October 30th.
The board approved a mentor supplement of $20.00 per hour to mentor teachers that have already been mentored in another area of teaching. And they rescinded the creation of two positions – a classroom/bus aide at Marlinton Elementary School and a special education classroom/bus aide at the high school.
The next meeting of the PBOE is Monday, November 15th.