At Monday night's Wetzel County Board of Education meeting, former Short Line School choir teacher Bill Hostutler was recognized as the 2012 Wetzel County Teacher of the Year. Both former SLS Principal Shane Highley and former SLS Assistant Principal Jacqueline Jenkins had nothing but words of praise for their former coworker. Highley stated that, as principal, it was always therapeutic to visit the music room and listen to the students singing; he added that he never had any complaints from students when it came to choir.
In other matters, both Valley High School and SLS both offered annual reports from the Local School Improvement Council to the board.
The SLS choir, directed by new instructor, Crystal Sutton, first gave a performance of Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue. New VHS Principal Jenkins then provided a quick slideshow presentation on VHS's LSIC Annual Report. Jenkins outlined three areas of main concern at Valley: staff collegiality, students wanting to be at school, and students feeling like what they do makes a difference. Jenkins then described different ways VHS was meeting these needs.
Pictured is former Short Line School Principal Shane Highley, Wetzel County Teacher of the Year Bill Hostutler, and former Short Line School Assistant Principal Jacqueline D. Jenkins. Hostutler was last year’s music teacher at SLS. (Photo by Lauren Riggs)
As for staff collegiality, the VHS staff recently attended a staff retreat at Oglebay which outlined team building and Time To Teach training. Jenkins later explained that Time To Teach training teaches students expected behaviors and procedures before teachers require them. Teachers take student issues into consideration when dealing with them.
As for students wanting to be at school, Jenkins reported that on the first day of school, VHS had a "red carpet welcome." Students walked across a red carpet surrounded by their teachers.
Another change on the first day was the listing of rules. VHS broke up the schedule, and instead of having a day full of rules, a comedian was introduced to entertain and encourage students on their first day. Rules were then given across a span of several days, which would overwhelm students less as well as allow staff to cover each rule more thoroughly.
Other ways of promoting students wanting to be at school including visual recognition of student achievement, more focus on clubs, and student commitment to graduation.
As for making students feel like they are making a difference, Jenkins stated that VHS is implementing community service work at the football field. Also, the FFA participates in beautification projects around the school. Other clubs also participate in displays and demonstrations, such as the new Trout in the Classroom implementation at VHS, as well as the Outdoor Club encouraging parental involvement.
As for WesTest 2 scores, Jenkins stated that VHS did make Annual Yearly Progress by safe harbor. Sophomores made a 14 percent gain in reading/language arts and a five percent gain in biology. Juniors made a six percent gain in mathematics, a 12 percent gain in reading/language arts, a five percent gain in history, and 70 percent of students taking the chemistry test achieved mastery. The state average for mastery was 52 percent.
Jenkins then described the long term goals at VHS. She stated she would like to increase half-time reading/language art and history teachers to full time, which would provide more options for Honors and AP Level courses with an actual teacher present, rather than through a virtual program.
Jenkins said with more full-time teachers, VHS would offer a Career and Technical Education rotation for seventh and eighth grade students. Jenkins said this would allow students to decide which program they want to pursue and start immediately their ninth grade year. Jenkins said this would increase VHS's completer rate and would possibly allow some students to become double completers.
Several Career and Technical Education groups were then highlighted by a video presented by Manufacturing Systems' instructor Josh Weekley. Through the video, Weekley introduced the new Trout in the Classroom program at VHS, as well as highlighted the hard work that his Pen Making Crew and Vex Robotics Crew classes do. Students from the Vex Robotics Crew then provided a brief demonstration of the robot that they have been building in class.
This presentation was followed up by a report by VHS's FFA, primarily the Meats Evaluation Team which is headed to nationals next week. Students spoke about the many activities FFA was involved in, including Greenhouse, Meat Lab, baby chick hatching, shop, and welding. Members of the FFA earned $46,341.83 the last calendar year through SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience). These SAE activities can include anything from mowing grass, to raising animals, to making soap.
Next, Principal Teresa L. Standiford gave the annual report of the LSIC of SLS. Standiford stated it was her first year at SLS and she was very excited about the upcoming year. She thanked the board for giving her the opportunity to be principal.
Standiford cited the LSIC goals for SLS as the following: to increase parental involvement and build community relations, to improve communication between SLS and VHS, to provide a safe environment for learning to occur, and to increase WesTest scores.
The principal stated that to meet the first goal, SLS has discussed having an organized volunteer program, parent read aloud programs, grandparents day, grade level parent meetings, and parent trainings. Standiford said the grade level parent meeting and parent trainings would be an opportunity for parents to better understand the Next Generation Standards and the common core curriculum. Standiford stated that the school also wants to be sure the community knows how much they are appreciated for all they do for the students and staff at SLS.
The second goal, Standiford states, is an exciting one. She adds that she and Jenkins are setting dates for vertical alignment meetings, the first one being held one evening next week. Standiford says these meetings will give teachers the opportunity to develop plans on the transitioning of students successfully.
In order to fulfill the third goal, a safe environment, Standiford says a safety plan is in place which is practiced by students and staff. Students and staff are also educated on bullying.
As for increasing WesTest scores, Standiford says a tutoring program will begin by mid-November and students will have the opportunity to have extra help on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Furthermore, the Support for Personalized Learning is being used. This program is designed to meet the needs of all students by providing core, targeted, and intensive instruction as needed. SLS is also considering a math coach who would be available to provide intensive small group instruction.
Standiford said discipline at SLS is "very fair and consistent." She added that the plan is discussed with students at the end of the year, as well as placed in student and staff handbooks. All teachers and parents also receive a copy of the plan. Standiford says that parents are notified in writing of any changes.
Also noted, is the school's positive behavior support program. PRIDE, which stands for Productivity, Respect, Independence, Discipline, and Excellence, has been "very successful," says Standiford.
Standiford concluded by staying, "Short Line School is very blessed to have the students, staff, and parents within this community and we are very thankful to be a part of it."