Pocahontas Schools Considering a Polycom -Verizon Distance Learning Grant

Ruth Bland, the Pocahontas County School’s Director of Special Education, Student Services and Technology asked the Board of Education at their January 25th meeting that she be allowed to pursue a Federal Grant for advanced video conferencing equipment. The grant could allow the schools to obtain up to $500,000 in equipment which would allow for distance learning. It is in conjunction with Verizon and Polycom companies. Ruth talks about the grant.

“We can receive $500,000 for new Polycom units as well as laptops and display devices –such as a Smart Board –for the classrooms” said Bland. “We have to match $155,000 in technology purchases, which we are already looking at. $155,000 between Webster County and I – we can get that done by next fall. I’ve taken on the responsibility to be the heave lifter in this grant writing with Verizon and with Polycom because we could get up to six or seven Polycom units which are video conferencing units.”

Ruth went on to explain that with these units, the teacher in one school could have their class sent into other classrooms in other schools, and teachers could meet their professional development requirements via video conferencing rather than having to drive 80 miles to attend a development class. Ruth.

“And if there is a guest speaker at the high school, we can beam it into Hillsboro; we can beam it into Green Bank. We can do it that way” said Bland. “Professional development, STEM activities, advanced classes that we cannot get. We can also do pretty much what the One Room School is doing. You would be able to bring in college classes, whatever.”

The matching funds would be shared with Webster County and spread out over a few years, which Ruth says would be very manageable. The Board voted to authorize her to pursue this grant.

The Board also voted to appoint Terrence C. Beam, as the Superintendent of the County Schools effective June 30, 2016 through June 30, 2020. Beam is currently the Interim Superintendent.

In his Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Beam recognized the Spelling Bee winners.

“Our First Place winner Andrea Peyton, will be representing Pocahontas County at the Regional Spelling Bee at Charleston Capital High School on March the 12th, so Andrea, we’re happy to present you with this certificate” said Beam. “Andrea is from Green Bank Elementary-Middle School. Our second place winner was Thomas Smith, and Thomas is from Marlinton Middle School. And Joseph Hajzer, he is from Green Bank Elementary-Middle School also and he finished third. Thomas also goes to the Regional representing Pocahontas County, so we have two students going and Joseph is the alternate.”

Beam went on to brief the Board members about the status of the snow days so far this year. Mr. Beam.

“So far we’ve had 4 snow days and we will be making up those dates on March 10th, it’ll be an early out for Faculty Senate; May 23rd; and two days of Spring Break so far. We still have 2 days of spring break built into the calendar that we can take and still leave us a long weekend for spring break. And then we start into after Memorial Day making them up. We’re really in pretty good shape right now. If we would have only 2 more snow days, the last day for students would be the 27th of May, I believe.”

Sam Felton, the Mayor of Marlinton told the Board that the City Council voted a resolution to oppose the possible closing of Marlinton Elementary School.

They approved several small grants, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with High Rocks to provide educational programs for the schools, and approved several volunteer coaches, who will be listed with this story on our website, alleghenymountainradio.org. They also approved a personnel agenda which will also be listed there.


At the meeting, the Board of Education approved the appointment of the following volunteer coaches:

  1. Shannon M. Alderman and Gina A. Hardesty as Volunteer Basketball Coaches at Hillsboro Elementary School
  2. Robert McNabb and Steven C. Tritapoe as Volunteer Assistant Softball Coaches at PCHS


CONSENT TO CHANGE:  Samantha J Feather as Teacher of Multi subjects (3rd Grade) at Marlinton Elementary School to Teacher of multi subjects (4th Grade) at Marlinton elementary School.

CREATION OF POSITION: Teacher of Multi Subjects at Marlinton Elementary School

RESIGNATION: Stacy C. Landis as After School Tutor at Marlinton Elementary School retroactive to 11-17-15.

EMPLOYMENT: Cory McNabb as Assistant Basketball coach (boys) at PCHS

ABOLISHMENT OF POSITION: Teacher of Science at PCHS effective at the end of the school year.

CREATION OF POSITION: Teacher of Science/Biology at PCHS

RESIGNATION: Thomas Madison, due to retirement as School Bus Operator effective at the end of the year.

CREATION OF POSITION: Truancy Diversion Specialist for the County Schools

CHANGE OF ASSIGNMENT: Lisa Dennison from Child Nutrition Director/Technology Integration Specialist to Child Nutrition Director/Teacher for Pocahontas county Schools to be assigned to PCHS.




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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