The Oct. 1 Wetzel County Board of Education meeting featured annual reports of the Local School Improvement Councils of both Paden City High School and Paden City Elementary School. PCHS Principal Jay Salva gave the first report on his school after performances by the PCHS band, colorguard, and State Champion PCHS Thespian Duo, Adam Croasmun and Stephanie Mapes.
Salva reported that according to a website, Schooldigger.com, PCHS ranked 17th in the state out of over 110 high schools. "We are looking to improve on the ranking this year," he said.
The overall goal in every school is to increase WESTEST2 scores; Paden City's goal is the same said Salva. He reported that although the school ranks 17th in the sate of West Virginia, there is still "a lot of work to do."
Salva reported that seventh grade students increased seven percent points in math and 15 percent in World Geography. Eighth grade students increased 23 percent in science; ninth graders increased 14 percent in Algebra 1; and 25 percent in Reading/Language Arts. Those in 10th grade increased 17 percent in Biology and three percent in U.S. Studies. Finally, 11th graders increased 11 percent in Reading/Language Arts.
Salva then provided members with the following statistics on individual student improvement on the WESTEST2 from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year. Eighth Grade: 62 percent math, 19 percent English, 62 percent science, 48 percent social studies. Ninth Grade: 75 percent math, 47 percent English, 44 percent science, 41 percent social studies. Tenth Grade: 45 percent math, 45 percent English, 70 percent science, 45 percent social studies. Eleventh Grade: 63 percent math, 38 percent English, 25 percent social studies.
As for enrollment, Salva reported that PCHS finished the 2010-2011 school year with 148 students and a 95.30 percent average daily attendance. This was the highest rate in the county. He reported that PCHS finished 2011-2012 with 154 students and 95.70 percent average daily attendance, which was one of the highest in the county. Salva stated that enrollment is up this year, 2012-2013, with 190 students.
Additionally, the principal reported that suspensions decreased from 24 during the 2010-2011 school year to 13 during the 2011-2012 school year. He added that most suspensions take place at school in a room where students can work on their school assignments, segregated from others.
Salva then reviewed last year's LSIC Goals. The first goal was to increase PCHS's graduation rate to 85 percent. Salva reported that PCHS did not reach this goal due to the fact that the state goes by the cohort that graduated the year before. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of members who earned a high school diploma in a particular year by the number of students in that class who began their ninth grade year, plus students who transfer in and minus students who transfer out, emigrate, or die during the four years of high school.
The numbers the state used for AYP on graduation rate is from the 2011 Cohort. Six out of the eight that dropped out of school were before Salva began his time at PCHS in the 2010-2011 school year. One of the two students under his tenure is being disputed at the state level due to private circumstances. Salva said PCHS already knows that its next graduation rate will be 88 percent, since it is based on the Class of 2012, and that will pass the school on graduation rate due to the confidence interval. The school is striving for 100 percent graduation rate starting with the 2013-2014 school year.
Salva reported that the second goal, increased enrollment, was met, as enrollment went up from 154 students last year to, currently, 190 students.
Finally, the third goal of the LSIC was to enrich appreciation of the arts by continuing efforts to establish a drama club and by purchasing or receiving guitars and keyboards for the music appreciation classes that are growing at PCHS. Salva reported that PCHS has purchased guitars, but would like to add more keyboards.
He stated that the school's drama club was re-established in January 2012. He said a number of PCHS students performed at the State Thespian Festival in Charleston. During that festival, two PCHS drama club members won a state championship in Musical Duet. Salva reported that those two students went on to compete in the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb., in late June. The PCHS Drama Club, Thespian Troupe #4892, is currently going to begin working on "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown." Salva also gave credit to Dan Henthorn, advisor of the Drama Club, stating that, "He has been amazing to work with, and he will continue working with our students."
The fourth goal of the LSIC is to increase rigor by offering additional college credits and AP courses. Salva stated that this goal was accomplished, as PCHS is now offering College English, College Psychology, and College Political Science. All these courses are paid by boosters, including necessary books. Salva stated that students also have the ability to take AP English Literature and AP Calculus Online, as well as science, U.S. Studies, Psychology, and Creative Writing. Salva stated that these students have access to talk to their online teachers via phone and e-mail; he stated he has been told by these students that their online teachers respond immediately and help them with curriculum.
The LSIC goals for PCHS for this year are the following: increase graduation rate, increase enrollment to over 200 students, increase scores on Westest 2 overall with an emphasis on students in the Special Education program, establish a Drug-Free of America Club by the end of October, make Paden City High School one of the safest schools in the state of West Virginia by assessing their weaknesses in the safety plans and physical plant and correcting them.
Lastly, Salva reported that in the fall of 2011, he was notified by email and a phone call from a representative from ACT that PCHS was identified as a high-performing school. PCHS has been listed in A First Look at Higher Performing High Schools as one of the schools in the United States that are making exemplary progress toward college and career readiness for all students. Salva reported that PCHS was the only school in West Virginia listed in the book that completed surveys for the study.
Next PCES Principal Tammy D. Chambers gave the annual report from the school's LSIC. Chambers reported that although PCES did not meet Annual Yearly Progress on WESTEST 2 scores, many students did improve from the previous year "and that is the data we wanted to see." Chambers added that 68 percent of PCES students improved their scores from the previous year.
Chambers stated that the attendance rate at PCES was 95.15 percent, up from last year's 93.77 percent. She said PCES had the highest attendance rate for four out of nine months.
Chambers then named several positive events in which PCES students have taken part and excelled. She stated some PCES students participated in the new Mutt Strut Essay contest; Chambers stated that PCES had two first place winners and one second place winner. She said participation in the social studies fair increased: five students went to county/regional level and two students received honorable mention at the state level.
Chambers describes PCES Honor Band as "amazing," with 12 students being asked to participate this year. She stated that the choir and band are "absolutely wonderful," and the chess team, under the guidance of Jeff Hohn, participated in several tournaments, including the state tournament. Chambers stated that the K-8 team placed third in the state; the K-5 team placed third in the state; the K-3 team placed first.
Nine essays were sent to the county level by PCES for the Young Writer's Competition. Six of those essays placed at the county level. The first place winners in all three categories were from PCED and went to the state awards ceremony in Charleston. Chambers said PCES student Alli Suter won third place at the state in the fifth and sixth grade category.
Chambers named a variety of activities that staff and students participated in last year at PCES. She said the opening theme for the 2011-2012 school year was "Peace, Love, and Learn at PCE." She said students love the COSI on Wheels program that is brought to PCES every year thanks to a Public Education Leadership Community grant from PPG Industries. Chambers added that the theme for last year was "Astounding Astronomy."
Additionally, Robert E. Lee with History Alive visited the school, sharing his experiences of the Civil War. The Nutcracker also performed a mini-show last year, thanks to ArtsLink.
Another positive aspect of both Paden City schools is the incorporation of an Anti-Bullying Club at PCES and a Respect club at PCHS. Chambers stated that recently at PCES, Amy Bowman and Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught presented an "Anti-Bullying" assembly to the students. Fourth and sixth grade students were invited to stay after the assembly for a question and answer session. Some fourth grade students, Chambers reported, have decided to start an Anti-Bullying club.
At PCHS, Bowman has begun to start the Respect Club to encourage awareness on teen dating violence.