Students Need to Take Ownership of Their Own Education
At the December 13th Pocahontas County Board of Education Meeting, which was held at Marlinton Middle School, Green Bank Elementary-Middle School Principal Shana Alderman delivered an academic update about the Green Bank school.
While obviously somewhat disappointed in the state test scores at her school, Alderman said those scores did not accurately reflect the efforts of the staff to improve the academic achievement at the school. She said they have been meeting to determine the school’s strengths and weaknesses and are providing more consistency in the routine school structure. Alderman said their staff leadership team is revising the school’s Strategic Plan and looking for long term growth in their students. Alderman said one of the keys to improving their state test scores is encouraging the students to take ownership of their own academic achievements, and take these tests more seriously. She said the school’s leadership team realizes that they need an Academic Coach at the school, and are exploring a state grant to hire one.
Lynn Bostic, the Director of Curriculum made a presentation regarding the Virtual Programs. She said that there are more virtual learning programs in the county schools than just the full-time virtual schooling that was used extensively during the pandemic. As an example, Shirlene Groseclose talked about the Spanish program she teaches one or two days a week for elementary and middle school students. She said this is often done virtually, and has been a big success. She talked about one of the fifth-grade students taking that class who is actually taking high school Spanish. Bostic said that there are only 9 full-time virtual students who are all in middle or high school, since the county no longer offers full-time virtual school to elementary students.
Bostic also said they are thinking about switching from full credit courses each semester to splitting the classes so that half or a course’s credits are taken in the fall and the other half of that same class’s credits are awarded in the spring semester. She said that way if a student fails the first half of a course in the fall, they have the opportunity to recover those half credits during the spring semester half of that course.
Jay Miller also addressed the board. Miller said he has been a volunteer math tutor for 20 years, mostly at all the grades in Marlinton Elementary School, and feels he has developed special techniques for tutoring math that are very effective, however he does not know for how many years he will continue doing this. He proposed that the county search for a replacement math tutor for the school, and he will mentor and teach them. Miller said he would be willing to do this in February through May if the board will hire him at the rate of a substitute Teacher. The board members told them they would need to take time to think about this and needed to discuss it with Mr. Beam, who was out of town during this board meeting.
The board was also introduced to Kasha, a 13-month-old Yellow Lab pup who will be the Therapy dog at the Green Bank School. You can learn more about Kasha and the Therapy dog Program by reading Heather Niday’s excellent story about it on our website, alleghneymountainradio.org.
In other actions at the meeting the board:
- Approved the routine financial reports
- Approved the schools to pay $50.00 per hour to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation to assist them with grant-writing services for the Renew America’s Schools grant application.
- Approved additional fundraisers for both Green Bank Elementary-Middle school and Marlinton Middle School.
- Approved additional Parent and Community volunteers for the current school year.
- Approved the recommended list of personnel actions, which can be found by clicking on the following link to the official meeting agenda –12-13-22 Official Agenda PDF
During the Matters of the Board discussion, Member Sam Gibson asked about the school illness closures at Marlinton Middle School. Bostic said there were some students ill with the flue but Marlinton Middle had to close for two days the previous week due to staffing shortages due to illness, not because of student illness.