Paden City Elementary School Principal Tammy Chambers offered extensive information on PCES to the Wetzel County Board of Education on Oct. 8, as part of the Local School Improvement Council's yearly board updates.
Chambers reported that 86 percent of the students at PCES earned "Positive Discipline" PAWS recognition for the 2012-2013 school year, up three percent from last year. Also, detentions were 30 last year, down from 37 the previous year.
Chambers stated that last year's most popular Awards Day award was the limousine ride to McDonald's for perfect attendance. Chamber said five students were able to take the limo ride to McDonald's, with all students getting the opportunity to at least tour the limo.
WESTest 2 scores designed PCES as a Support School. Chambers said the gap between PCES's all group (which includes the low socioeconomic group) and the low socioeconomic group when pulled out of the all group was too wide.
Chambers stated 68 percent of the students currently in fifth grade improved in reading language arts and 59 percent of those same students improved in math. Fifty-six percent of the students currently in sixth grade improved in reading language arts and 69 percent of the same students improved in math.
Eighty-nine percent of the students in seventh grade improved in reading language arts and 82 percent of the same students improved in math.
Chambers stated that one of the things PCES did last year was invite Magnolia High School Principal Kathi Schmalz and MHS's Impact Club to PCES. "Our kids really responded to that," Chambers said. "They could identify with the kids. Some of them had siblings that were in the Impact Group and they broke into smaller groups and realized that those kids were just like them at one time . . . So we did provide some new opportunities and are going to address any issue we have in a different way, so maybe somewhere along the way we are going to reach all the kids."
Paden City Elementary School's LSIC goals for 2013-2014 involve working for a safer route to school, continuing to upgrade the school's technology, improve academic achievement, as well as improve attendance.
Last year the school was able to paint the outside panels, fill holes on the playground, and add 15 new computers as well as three mobile labs. "We rearranged to make sure all our classes have access to a SMART-board," LSIC President Elliot Kendle offered.
Other LSIC officers include Secretary Crissy Mace and Agenda Setting Committee Members Tammy Chambers, Kendle, and JoAnna Filliez. Upcoming LSIC meeting dates are Dec. 12; Feb. 13, 2014; and May 8, 2014.
Paden City High School Principal Jay Salva gave the LSIC report on behalf of PCHS. He began by stating "The LSIC has been working very hard. I'm really excited about this year."
Salva stated PCHS received the rating as being a WV Success School, as the school hit all three of the targets. "It's hard to explain how these distinctions run, but basically you get an index target set by the state. Ours was 50.2 and we received an index of 60.2. We met 50 percent of the targets in Math and Reading. Our scores were pretty high, and those were our two best subjects when it comes to WESTest 2."
Salva stated that PCHS is looking at having an enrollment of over 200 students next year, which has always been a goal of his.
"Another goal is discipline," he stated. "The number of detentions and suspensions have decreased since the previous year. Overall violations have gone from 145 in 2011 to 75 last year. That's a major dip there." Salva stated that very rarely does his school have fights. "That's one thing I take pride in, my students getting along. Together in a small building, it's like a family. We bicker once in a while, but it's never a full-out thing, so there are very minor violations."
Salva stated that PCHS also has a space set up for the Paden City Police Department. "They can come in and work out of that space there. They are in and out throughout the day. I'm also working with them to hopefully get a drug dog in here often, just to randomly come in as a precaution." Salva remarked that a drug dog was brought in a few times last year and nothing was found. "Hopefully we never have an issue," he noted.
College courses are also continuing at PCHS. Salva stated this was one area the school worked on with the LSIC last year. "So far we have English and Psychology. Next year we will continue with another section of College English and Political Science . . . Students are getting these college credits, and that is definitely a great thing."
Salva added that Paden City High School received first place at the Fairmont State Engineering and Science Competition last year. Despite the odds being against students with going up against Calculus students from bigger schools, Paden City High School students brought the trophy home. Salva stated that the trophy is a traveling trophy. "We'll take it back next year," he said. "Each school that wins it, puts their own swag on it . . . We'll put something on it."
Adam Croasmun, PCHS's student body president, member of student council, and president of the school's thespian group, then made remarks on behalf of his school.
"Two years ago, when I was a sophomore, we didn't have a theater group, and with the help of Cork Bowen and Jay Salva, we found Dan Henthorn. We did a small play, and by March of this year, we did PCHS's first two-act musical. That was a huge success, and we filled the theater every night. We started out with six members. We had our first meeting two weeks ago, and we had 19 interested students."
LSIC Chairman Cork Bowen then spoke on behalf of PCHS, stating that two years ago as a board member, he took part in the same kind of topic with PCHS - school enrollment. However, this time, he was speaking on behalf of PCHS.
Bowen stated that each year Wetzel County loses students; however, Paden City has been gaining students at 10 to 12 percent a year. "Magnolia was up this year as well," Bowen noted. "It's not the most uncommon thing, and so our goal at Paden City is to try to get those kids back, and to get on the bus everyday. It's not like we are trying to steal people from New Martinsville or Valley. Actually, we are trying to reach out to those kids who live in Paden City but choose not to go to Paden City High School or grade school. I was glad to see Pre-Kindergarten come back. That's where we've got to start."
He added, "One of our major challenges is to work with the grade school here and have opportunities for them to come up to the high school and have their high school students come down here and get that unity going, so we can talk to all the kids and make sure they are headed to Paden City High School."
Bowen stated that one of the things Paden City is trying to do is to promote activities in the city during the summer for kids, even for those that live in Paden City and go to other schools, "to make them feel like they are part of the community." Bowen said the school is also reaching out for partners in education, which will hopefully lead to camps or a trip to a cultural event for students.
"One of the last things is to improve communications with the community," Bowen stated. "The community needs to know what the high school is doing, as well as the grade school."
"Lisa Shepherd is starting a newspaper," he said "That won't just be given to our community, but all around the board office."
Bowen also thanked the board for the stadium seating, lighting, surveillance cameras, and visitors-side press box, as well as the paved parking lot and internet upgrades.
"Those are all toward the athletics," Bowen stated. "We are acquiring more iPads and laptops. That's something important for us. With 24 seniors, you could almost try to get one for each. Bowen said the school needs just one more SMART-board as well.
Board President Mike Blair stated that the budget workshops would be focusing on the items that Paden City Schools requested, as well other Wetzel County Schools' requests. "I do understand the SMART-boards and laptops," he noted. "All four attendance areas are pushing for the same thing."