Student Presentations Liven Board of Education Meeting
While the October 22nd Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, held at PCHS, was rather short and unexciting. But the input by Pocahontas County High School students and staff at the Local School Improvement Council meeting, which proceeded the regular meeting, was lively and informative.
Teresa Mullen, the ProStart Teacher at PCHS revisited the debate between those who support the current seven-period in use at the high school verses the block schedule that was used at the high school several years ago. Mullen pointed out that students who failed a core subject during the first semester could retake that course in the second semester, better keeping them on track to graduate on time. Emily McLaughlin, the Options Pathway teacher agreed that there benefits to the block schedule, but also disadvantages and that it is important to reconsider both schedules in the light of those pros and cons. Other teachers felt that the 90-minute block classes were just too long for both teachers and students to withstand. Others pointed out that attendance has fallen since switching to the seven-period schedule, while other teachers countered that the drop-out and graduation rates have improved under the current 7-period schedule.
PCHS students and staff representing various programs offered at the school made impressive presentations to the Board.
- Jacob Barkley and Isaac Evans from Patrick Gibson’s Carpentry class took the Board members on a short tour showing off the team lockers and counter tops build by the class.
- Christopher Murray, Dakota Workman and Dalton Hendrex from Scott Garber’s Forestry class led the Board outside to demonstrate their saw mill and log splitter.
- Joni Barlow and Dakota Snider from Teresa Mullen’s Pro Start class talked about their participation in the Farms to Table Program and their successes at culinary competitions.
- The Gaming and Coding, Engineering and Computer Science programs were represented by Brysin Cassell, Emmit Doolittle, Charity Warder Hadden Mick, Sierra Rodriguez, Jesse Kelley and Andrea Rabel. They provided information about the Robotics program, the certification classes for Microsoft and Adobe. And coding graphic scenes
- Charity Warder from the National Honor Society talked about the Society’s work with the Family Resources Network, the County Literature and Science Fairs, the selection process for membership and the upcoming induction of new members.
- Spanish Teacher Shirlene Groseclose talked about her approach to teaching Spanish which involves using a lot of story reading and telling.
- Emily McLaughlin talked about her Options Pathway program, saying she currently has 4 students in the program and they have each successfully completed 2 or 3 of the 5 state GED tests. She said one other student has completed their GED and is currently taking vocational classes to additionally get a high school diploma.
- Jerry Dale, the Graduation Coach said that last year 56.5% of PCHS graduates went on to college, 5.8% to vocational schools, 5.8% to the military and 31.9% to the workplace. He said that West Virginia ranks 18th in the US with an 86.5% graduation rate.
- English Teacher Stephanie Poppe talked about the board possibly considering going to a four day student class schedule with the fifth day being used for teacher training, collaboration and tutoring kids with academic problems. She said schools across the nation and international schools which have adopted this “quality over Quantity” schedule experience less drop-outs and disciplinary problems, have less absences and more student success and higher teacher morale.
During the Regular Board meeting, Ruth Bland, who was sitting in for School Superintendent Terrance Beam, said the recent state test scores show improvement in some areas, and small declines in others, including elementary school math and an increase in the graduation rate over last year. She said the state has not yet authorized the release of the state rankings of school systems.
The members approved payment of $13.624.81 in Local government Purchasing Card charges, the October 8th payroll, grant awards and some budget adjustments