Magnolia High School will continue to have a Prevention Resource Officer this school year, thanks in part to an increased contribution from the Wetzel County Board of Education.
The long-considered decision to increase the board's financial support for the MHS PRO came at the Sept. 3 board meeting. The body agreed to contribute 50 percent of the cost of the PRO position (including benefits) after a $20,000 grant is deducted. This monetary help came after the city of New Martinsville requested additional support.
The Wetzel County Board of Education had budgeted a $5,600 contribution for the 2013-2014 school year, matching last year's funding. However, after weeks of deliberation, the board agreed to increase the contribution by $16,400, for a total contribution of $22,000. The remainder will have to be met by the New Martinsville Police Department, who provides the officer.
In another matter, Superintendent Dennis Albright reviewed more of his goals and ideas for the school year, including an idea of a head teacher/assistant principal position.
Albright stated that currently five of the county's schools lack an assistant principal. He suggested that each school have a head teacher position, someone with administrative certificate or the experience or "the desire to work toward such," who would step in as principal when the school's current principal is unavailable. Albright said the assistant principal would be in charge of extracurricular events.
"Where would time come from?" Board Vice President Bob Patterson inquired, regarding the fact that Albright's plan included no extra planning time for the teacher. "Problems don't always occur according to schedules."
"We could interrupt the students' academic time?" Carolyn Gatian added, concerned that a head teacher would have to step out of the classroom during his or her class to act as principal.
Albright stressed that the idea for the assistant principal was just in the planning stages. The board also discussed that the only school currently expressing a desire for an assistant principal was Valley High School.
Albright also brought forth the topic of a student board member again; however, through discussions, it appeared as if student board members have not worked out in the past, because of a loss of interest. "A couple counties that have talked to me haven't been able to get someone to participate," Albright noted.
"That's what we kind of gathered," President Mike Blair stated, referencing himself and Patterson. "Board members are saying that it started out with a big hype and ended with a big stop."
"Do you think you could consider a suggestion box?" Gatian noted. "Then you could have student input. You would be lacking the students' actual physical presence, but you would still have their thought process."
Albright determined he would talk to students during his next round of visits throughout the county.
Finally, Assistant Superintendent Jay Yeager reviewed current faculty and staff positions that are still posted for Wetzel County Schools, including changing the MHS part-time physed/health teacher posting to full-time. Yeager stated that Principal Kathi Schmalz stated she has very large physical education classes at this time and could use more teachers. Yeager also expressed difficulties in finding English teachers for Valley High Schools. Also, Board Member Linda Kirk inquired about the size of the second grade classes at Short Line School. Yeager noted the classes are still at 25 students a piece. He also noted that the board is considering advertising for an assistant principal at MHS through larger metropolitan newspapers.
Finally, President Blair read a card from Short Line School students, thanking the board for the "healthy, sweet snacks" that they "go nuts" over.