Wetzel County Board of Education's Sept. 17 regular meeting was held at Hundred High School, due to the presentation of annual reports of the Local School Improvement Councils from both Hundred High School and Long Drain School.
The choir at HHS, instructed by choir director Jeffrey Sands, performed several songs for those in attendance, including the Star Spangled Banner and Hundred's alma mater. Board president Mike Blair complimented the HHS choir on their performance, saying that it is "always a true blessing," to hear them.
Members of HHS's Local School Improvement Council were recognized and Jessica N. Stine, newly appointed principal at Hundred High School spoke next. Stine said she appreciated the warm welcome from Hundred High School and said she feels like she has been embraced by the whole community.
At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, held at Hundred HIgh School, FFA advisor Virgil Wilkins recognized sophomore student, Victoria Stevens for her FFA achievements. Stevens was given the state FFA creed champion title this past summer at the West Virginia FFA Convention at Cedar Lakes in Ripley, W.Va., held July 11-14.
Wilkins says that the FFA creed is memorized by freshman students in Vocational Agriculture and FFA. Besides memorizing the five-paragraph creed, participants then have to answer questions from the judges.
Stevens will head to Indianapolis, Ind., the last week of October to participate in the National FFA Convention and Expo. Wilkins said of Stevens, “She is the projection of what good students should be like.”
Stine stated HHS made Adequate Yearly Progress last year by safe harbor, with 30 percent proficiency in math and 45 percent proficiency in reading. Stine said she would still like to see improvements, as well as both students and teachers being challenged.
Stine also spoke of the many opportunities HHS offers to the community, complimenting the wonderful computer systems that Hundred has, as well as the ACT prep courses it will offer.
Virgil Wilkins of the HHS FFA spoke next to those in attendance, expressing his gratitude to the board for allowing him to have a 240 day employment period to instruct FFA students. Wilkins then presented the board members, board president, and superintendent with a two page summary of the FFA's activities over the summer.
Long Drain School's principal, Paul Huston spoke to the board of the three goals that LDS had last year, saying he would like to see these goals maintained throughout this year.
Huston reported that the first goal of LDS was an academic goal, to meet AYP. He stated this goal was achieved and has been, for the past seven years in a row.
The second goal at LDS is for all students to be educated in a safe and drug free environment. Huston stated LDS offers various programs to aid with this goal, including visits by Wetzel County's prosecuting attorney.
The third goal at LDS is to make improvements to the school's facility and playground. Huston explained that LDS now has a new sound system in their gymnasium; funds were also able to be used to purchase a new sound system for HHS as well. Huston stated he would like to see continued work on the playground, as well as a new wooden floor in LDS's gymnasium in the spring.
Like Stine, Huston stated that even though LDS made AYP, he would still like the school to work on improvements, especially in Reading/Language Arts. Huston said LDS did beat the county's numbers by six points in math, as well as 4.7 points better in reading. Huston stated that science and social studies both need work, but admitted they have not been as much of a top priority as subjects such as reading and math, which Huston referred to as the "accountability pieces."
Huston also explained that he sits down with each student that took the test to talk to them about their test results and what they can do to better their results. For instance, attendance issues are discussed if necessary. Although talking to each student can be timely, Huston said that both himself, as well as the students, enjoy these conversations.
At the conclusion of Monday night's meeting, Superintendent Diane Watt proposed the idea of a board contribution to a specific program at each high school in Wetzel County. Watt stated that the choice of the "predominant" club would be up to the principal and student body at the school, but the club's focus would have to deal with healthy choices, such as drug free choices and alcohol free choices. Watt cited the Drug Free Clubs at Magnolia High School, saying that Valley High School's Sportsman Club has similar objectives and Paden City High School is looking into forming a Drug Free Club.
Watt stated that Magnolia's Drug Free Club had approximately 30 students in it last year; this year approximately 70 students want to participate. Watt said it would help if the board would match the funds each high school's specified club generates, matching each dollar up to $1,000.
The board members expressed enthusiasm over Watt's idea, with Blair saying he supports anything that keeps students' focus and lifestyle normal.