Success of Adventure Pocahontas Program “Should be National News”

Tracey Valach spoke at the July 18th Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting about last year’s successful Adventure Pocahontas program and Nature’s Own Classroom program in the schools. She also talked about this year’s expanded program.

As a measurement of how well the program was received last year, Valach described the results of a survey sent out to parents of the students who participated. She said 100% of the responding parents said they believe Adventure Pocahontas is a good use of school time; 99% said their kids are learning important information in the program; 86% said they (the parents) were also inspired to become active in nature and outdoor events; and 88% said they were so inspired by their kid’s participation in Adventure Pocahontas that they increased the amount of time that they spend outdoors.

School Superintendent Lynne Bostic said that when she attended the New Superintendents’ Meeting, the Adventure Pocahontas Program was discussed in depth as a model for other school systems, and the organizers of this meeting said the program “should be National News.”

Plans for this coming school year feature 2nd grade skiing adventures; 3rd grade hiking adventures; 4th grade kayaking & snorkeling adventures; and 5th grade mountain biking adventures. The 7th grade will tale a 3-day 2-night camping trip at Camp Thornwood, while the 6th and 8th grades will attend an overnight Science Adventure School at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, which is located near the New River Gorge National Park, and is also home to the National Scout Jamboree

The key to the success of Adventure Pocahontas and Nature’s Own Classroom is the blending of outdoor adventure with STEM education, the kids learn while enjoying outdoor adventure.

She said she is also continuing to expand the program for high school students by partnering with the U.S. Forest Service to teach them about eco-systems and habitat through an animal based Project Wild program, as well as working with WVU who will conduct professional economic outdoor development training for PCHS teachers, as well as coaching teachers In the value of Experiential Education.

School Treasurer Sherry Radcliff also presented a financial report to the board members at the meeting, saying she recently attended a National Forest Coalition meeting which contained a lot of bad news. She learned the U.S. House of Representatives is talking about cutting Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Act money by 14.7 million dollars nationwide, and also cutting 8.7 million dollars from Title 7 money for schools. Radcliff did say she requested that the County Commission receive 7% of the schools SRS money to support the county’s emergency services and is hoping the commissioners give the schools some PELT money to fund a School Resource Officer position in the schools.

Additionally at the meeting, the board members:

  • Approved the negotiated 4-year Superintendent Contract for Lynne Bostic.
  • Approved to pay a $500.00 incentive bonus to all staff other then classroom teachers, (who are paid by state funds) if they absent 4 days or less.
  • Approved the purchase one new Blue Bird gasoline powered 77-passenger school bus for $128,086.00
  • Approved to continue the Adventure Pocahontas Program for all grades as part of the curriculum for the upcoming school year including two overnight trips.
  • Approved a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Glenville State University regarding field placements, internships, student teaching and residency for the upcoming school year.
  • Approved an MOU with Southern Education Services Cooperative, and Proximity Learning, offering the WV Virtual Home Academy for the upcoming school year. Only 7 students attended virtual schooling last year.
  • Approved an MOU with the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network (FRN) to participate in a work-based learning experience program for youth’s aged 14-21,

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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