The Wetzel County Board of Education met at Short Line School in Reader Monday evening, where they heard school progress reports from faculty, staff, and students of both SLS and Valley High School.
SLS Principal Teresa L. Standiford thanked the parents, staff, and Local School Improvement Council of her school for being present Monday evening, telling them they were a great part of the school system.
Standiford stated that during the previous summer, tile had been placed down in the kindergarten through first grade hallway, as well as in the boys' dressing room. She said the cafeteria, along with several hallways, had been painted, and the school had received new playground equipment.
Also, 60 new lab computers were added, as well as 28 office desktops and 30 iPads. Standiford stated that future technology-related goals were to upgrade the Windows operating systems, acquire more iPads, and replace whiteboards. Other goals for SLS, designated by the state as a "support" school, included to increase math and writing scores and improve parental involvement.
Standiford thanked the board for Short Line's first full-time counselor and also gave recognition to teacher Cindy McSweeney who was the West Virginia Physical Education Teacher of the Year.
General music teacher and choral director Eric Emch gave an enthusiastic presentation regarding his music classes at SLS, specifically describing how his students recently collaborated with students at Tucker Valley Elementary School for a song-writing project.
Emch also spoke in regards to some upcoming events at SLS, including a special visit on Nov. 22 from 58 college musicians who will play for the students in the gymnasium.
Mollie Toppe and Jennifer Eller, reading specialists at SLS, then spoke to the board regarding family fun nights, specifically the must recent fun night held on Oct. 7. Toppe and Eller hosted a "star lab" which brought 200 individuals, a mix of parents and students. "We had some math and science activities for them to do, as a family," Toppe stated.
Sherry Croasmun, SLS guidance counselor, thanked the board for her position, stating that it was "truly a blessing," as well as a pleasure, to work with everyone at SLS. "We are a big family. Sometimes we have bumps and things, but when it comes down to something for the kids, the staff pulls together."
Croasmun said one her goals was to involve parents' involvement in the school. After asking the parents who wanted to be volunteers, the school ended up with a list of 260 individuals. "We enroll a little over 400," Croasmun stated, stressing just how many interested parents there were.
Croasmun stated that for the students' good behavior, the school recently had a Duck Dynasty themed day. "We had Ms. Kay's kitchen and a mountain man climb . . . We had plenty of volunteers, more than we could use."
The school also recently implemented an open forum for parents to come to speak to Principal Standiford about concerns. "We got really good input," Croasmun stated.
VHS Principal Jessica Stine then spoke regarding goals for her school. Stine stated that the school had been designated as a "transition" school. "We are transitioning to be successful. We have areas to work on," Stine explained.
"The number one thing is proficiency, increasing the number of students working at mastery at grade level . . . No matter where you are at, everyone needs to improve that."
She further explained that the school wanted to see a bump in the graduation rate and student growth.
VHS also wants to increase the school climate index, a score which deals with engagement, safety, and environment. Plans to increase this index involve adding an awards day for those who have had no disciplinary issues, as well as announcing student of the month nominees, along with the winners.
Ashley Bunner, art teacher at VHS, then presented a slide show of all the art her students have done the first nine weeks of school. "One of my goals was to work on elements and principals of art," she explained. "So that's what I started with."
One of Bunner's projects involved students picking a favorite celebrity. Once the student printed a picture of the celebrity, they cut the photo down the middle. "They pasted the picture down and then had to draw the other side," Bunner explained. "This helped with proportion and scale and getting things where it is supposed to be."
Other projects included murals and collages, where students were to paste photos inside their silhouette.
Valley High School's student council then shared a video presentation with highlights from the last school year, as well as the fall of this year. Photos included band achievements, volleyball, football, quiz bowl team, and after-prom. The video's music was created by Valley's Technology Student Association students, including Amy Mason. She, along with her brother Spencer Mason, placed sixth place in the nation at last year's TSA National Conference.
Alisha Carter, president of the student council, then spoke to the board. "It's an honor to be here," she said. "To sit and watch a board meeting like this . . . It's really important you care what the kids have to say . . . We all want to voice our opinions."
She added that the council focuses on serving the community and the schools. "We do community service projects, highway clean-up . . . and we organized the homecoming dance . . . People think that's easy, but it's not. You have to find kids to come after school. We had a lot of help. We had to pick out decorations . . . It teaches you a lot and teaches you how to organize events and get stuff done."
TSA Advisor Josh Weekley then spoke about his organization, stating how proud he was of his group. "I have students that are doing amazing things . . . We went to Orlando, the largest conference of all time . . . over 6,000 students from inner cities, rural areas.
"We had two kids inducted into the TSA Honor Society-Spencer Mason and Colton Ring," Weekley said.
Amy Mason then spoke on her sixth place achievement at nationals, stating that her achievement "was an honor." FFA Student JD Morris gave a brief powerpoint presentation on Valley's FFA achievements.