School Superintendent Beam Discusses the Upcoming School Year

Since schools are opening soon, we asked Pocahontas County School Superintendent Terrence Beam to talk about the upcoming school year.

“First of all, good morning, Tim,” said Beam. “I want to talk about a couple of little topics. We’ll talk about the beginning of school; a little bit about our school calendar; and a little bit about our reentry plan.”

“First of all, our first day for our employees is August the 9th. The teachers and employees will be reporting to their own schools on the 9th for a full day of Faculty Senate meetings, and on the 10th, they will come to the high school and we’ll have our opening day ceremony there. We’ll introduce our new employees, we’ll talk about some new policies, and we will have some programs for them on the 10th. On the 11th, they’ll report back to their home schools again for some required CE (Continuing Education) training, and for principals to have the opportunity to meet with their staffs. On the 12th, they will be back in the high school setting for more continuing education training. Then on Monday, the 15th, all students will report to their schools. The calendar that was printed originally had one little mistake on it. It showed the 15th and 16th on it (for students starting school.) It’s kind of a difference of opinion for when the kids actually start, but we cleared that up with the state. It was a misprint on our calendar, it wasn’t anything that was approved that was erroneous, it was just a misprint. The first day for students, and the first day of instruction will be Monday, August 15th. It will be a full day of instruction.”

“Our (school) calendar is a little bit different this year in the fact that we are starting a little bit earlier, like 2 or 3 days earlier than we have in the past, students starting on Monday rather than in the middle of the week, and teachers reporting two or three days earlier then they have (in past years.) But, we’ve kinda made some changes in the way we are doing things, and that’s the reason we have to start early. We always like to finish the first semester before Christmas, so when the kids come back in January, it is starting the second semester. We have found that if we end our first semester after January first, we get into a lot of snow days and we have trouble getting our first semester over and our finals taken and all that. So we do all of that prior to Christmas. That will be the same as we’ve done in the past; but also we are starting the Christmas break earlier then in the past. The last day for students and staff will be on Friday, the 16th of December. So they will have two full weeks off at Christmastime. And, actually, the kids done even come back to school until Wednesday, January the 4th. Another change we made to our calendar if teachers wanted to have one day without students between each nine-week period, so they can get ready for the next nine weeks. They can get their report cards done and ready to sent out and get ready for the next nine weeks. So, we are doing that in October and when we come back from Christmas break and at the end of the third nine-weeks also. So, there is a little one-day break for the kids at the end of each nine-week period before they start the next nine-weeks.  But, the good thing about all of this, even though we are starting early, even though we are having a few more days for Christmas break, and even though we are having that one-day break between each nine-week period; our kids will still be getting out before Memorial Day. Now, there will be some kick-back about having to start a couple of days early, but I doubt I hear any kick-back about getting out early for Christmas break, and still getting out by Memorial Day.”

“The other thing I want to talk about is our Reentry Plan. I suggested to our Board President, Doctor Hollandsworth, that we put it back on our (Board Meeting) agenda simple to reiterate to people where we are with our Reentry Plan. We have reached out to out Health Department and the State Department (of Education,) and right now there are no restrictions. There are no restrictions on three-feet or six-feet apart, eating in the cafeteria as a group, breakfast after first (period,) grab and go breakfast. None of that stuff is dictated now by the Health Department or the State Department, so we have a free-hand to run our schools as we did pre-pandemic. So that’s kind of where we are, and we are just going to reiterate that at a formal board meeting. I talked to Mr. Hall, and we are going to continue the deep cleaning at our schools, a necessary thing that we do anyway. Mrs. Bland, I believe is going to continue the spraying down of our school buses as we’ve done in the past. So, the only thing that will change is that all the kids will be able to eat together in the cafeteria without being three-feet or six-feet apart.”

“The mask issue is still the same. I see people at Walmart and IGA wearing masks -and they have that right. We certainly are not going to tell them (the students) to take their masks off. We are going to allow them to wear them if they choose to, but we are not going to require them (masks) at this point.”

“And that’s kind of where we are with the beginning of school!”

So, remember to drive safely with schools opening on August 15th and with kids walking along the highways.

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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