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Student, Teacher Recognized For Design, Argonaut Expedition

November 28, 2018

The Wetzel County Board of Education recognized Jeremy Kelch and Cole Henderson during its Nov. 13 regular meeting. Henderson is a junior at Hundred High School, while Kelch is a teacher at HHS. They, along with Board Member Amy Cooley and Superintendent Ed Toman, recently attended a JASON Learning Design Thinking Argonaut Expedition. Toman stated the group had a great time for the short time they were together, while Kelch thanked the board for the opportunity to go to San Francisco. Kelch said he never dreamed he would get to go to San Francisco and visit the places he visited. He said when completing an after-trip survey, he wrote he never dreamed a country boy like him would end up in Silicon Valley.

Henderson explained to the group what "Design Thinking" is. He said design thinking helps get people out of the rut of complaining about something and stating, "Someone should fix this." Instead, a person comes up with his or her own solutions. A person sees a problem and comes up with a solution; a person gets into the mind-set of creating solutions for the world's problems, instead of trying to get others to fix problems.

On Monday of the expedition, the group visited Facebook and Apple, which were Henderson's favorites. At Apple, the group walked around the complex; however, many areas were secretive because there were prototypes everywhere. One Apple employee, who helps to run the App Store, explained how she ended up at her career. She also showed the group around the campus.

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At Facebook, the group's host explained a special type of virtual reality goggles. Henderson said the Apple host and Facebook host did not go to school for what they do now. They just continued to learn and garner new experiences. Now they are in positions in which they have a large influence on the country as a whole, through Facebook and Apple.

Kelch explained that on Tuesday of the trip, the group went to Google and Bloomlife. Kelch said at Google, their hosts talked about how employees would be given an assignment and a time table to complete that assignment. There would not always be someone supervising while the assignment was completed. Kelch said this wasn't realistic with some students, but it showed how Google wanted employees to be creative.

It was noted that at Google there was water and food available, and employees could cruise around on scooters or ride their bicycles. The facility has darker rooms, nap rooms, massage rooms, a full gym, music room, and more. Employees could get paid to nap as long as they met their work quotas. Henderson noted how it was surreal to walk around the office spaces at Google, as there might be 50 computers set up but only two people at their desks. Henderson said employees were scattered throughout the building, working on laptops. Most people worked wherever they were comfortable. It was noted there were signs on the walls, which read "Embrace Failure," as Google employers tell their workers that they want them to fail, as they want them to set high expectations.

Kelch said the atmosphere at Facebook, Apple, and Google is "totally insane." He said Bloomlife is one of the start-up companies the Argonauts visited. Bloomlife is creating a baby monitor, which is placed onto the mother's stomach and studies the contractions. It was noted the monitor is almost to the point when it can predict the mother will go into labor.

Henderson described the Argonauts' Wednesday trip to Obvious Ventures and IVEO. Obvious Ventures is called "venture capitalism." This involves taking money from wealthy individuals to invest into start-up companies. The company is required to do good for the environment or humanity. Obvious Ventures has invested in 50 different companies.

IVEO is a design thinking "think tank." Companies such as Apple will approach IVEO with a problem, and IVEO will use many different individuals from different backgrounds to come up with a solution to the problem.

On Thursday, the Argonauts visited Meltwater, a place which researches everything about a topic and shows the good and bad. Kelch stated Meltwater would research the information on the Internet and tell a company what it needs to improve upon.

However, Kelch noted his favorite location was Cal Academy. He said as soon as the group arrived at this location, they noticed an albino alligator and alligator snapping turtles in a large aquarium. Cal Academy personnel explained how they get into the depths of the ocean, and how they slowly bring up the fish. Cal Academy uses an App called iNaturalist, which allows the user to take a photo of a spider or any other animal. The App will eventually give information on the type of spider and how many have been seen in the area. Kelch said he had previously taken a photo of a golden eagle with his trail cam. He sent the photo to iNaturalist and was given information how he was the only individual in the Ohio Valley who had seen the golden eagle. Kelch said a new App is called Seek Naturalist. With this, the user is told the type of animal with 99.9 percent accuracy. Kelch described the app as being like a scavenger hunt.

Henderson said the Argonauts built a lot of sightseeing opportunities into the schedule as well. They got to see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and view the city from Coit Tower. The group was able to walk through the city and take photos, visit China Town, ride a trolley, and take part in several different food experiences.

Kelch stated the food experience was the funniest part. He thought he was going to lose weight. Henderson said he wanted Korean food, but they weren't allowed to pick their own order. They were served octopus. While Henderson said he ate his octopus, Kelch and Toman didn't fare as well. Toman decided to take a bite while on the phone with his wife who didn't think he would. He proceeded to gag while Kelch laughed and made the decision not to take part in the meal. However, he did eat a little bit of a snail.

Kelch said that the most interesting part of the trip for him was seeing how everyone had the common thread that none of them were working in the field in which they started. They said that they just kept learning. Employees at Google said they don't want people coming out of Stanford. They want people who are capable of teaching themselves. They want people who think outside of the box and are design thinkers. The emphasis was put on being able to teach oneself skills and being able to think for oneself.

Kelch said when the Argonauts got to their rooms in the evenings, they had projects to do. They sat down with different people to try to come up with a solution to a problem that was given to them. One group had to create a digitized wallet, while one group had to come up with a physical therapy tool for disabled students.

Henderson said one of his favorite parts of the trip was all of the Teslas. Kelch stated there were more of those than pick-up trucks. He said he saw maybe 10-15 pick-up trucks the entire time the group was in San Francisco. However, he saw 200-300 Teslas.

Board member Cooley stated she doesn't think there was a better teacher to go on this trip than Kelch with his excitement and involvement in TSA.

In other matters, the board approved the American Education Week proclamation. Nov. 12-16 is the 97th annual observance of American Education Week, and as an expression of the board's gratitude, staff will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 so the holiday break can begin a half-day early.

Other matters were approved as follows:

Personnel Matters:


Leslie Lively, acceptance of resignation from positions as Boys Basketball Coach and Boys Track Coach at Short Line School, and Boys Track Coach at Valley High School, effective immediately.

Professional Personnel:

Deborah M. Coen, approval for employment as Countywide Substitute School Nurse, effective Nov. 14.

Lisa R. Yoho, approval for employment as Countywide non-certified Substitute Teacher, effective Nov. 14.

Service Personnel:

Christie L. Dudley, approval for change in assignment from Cook at Paden City Elementary to Cook at New Martinsville School, effective Nov. 14.

Sara L. Eller, approval for change in assignment from Supervisory Aide/one-on-one at Long Drain School to Supervisory Aide/Special Education at Long Drain School, effective Jan. 29.

Holly E. Harris, approval for employment as Countywide Substitute Cook, effective Nov. 14. Pending background check.

Lorena M. Lallathin, approval for employment as Countywide Substitute Cook, effective Nov. 14. Pending background check.

Chloris E. Schilling, approval for employment as Countywide Substitute Cook, effective Nov. 14. Pending background check.

Jessica D. Turner, approval for employment as Countywide Substitute Cook, effective Nov. 14. Pending background check.

Sarah M. Tustin, approval for employment as Countywide Substitute Cook, effective Nov. 14. Pending background check.


Deborah M. Coen, approval for employment as Cheer Coach at Short Line School, effective the beginning of the 2018-2019 WVSSAC Season.

Jeffery E. Derby, approval employment as eighth grade/varsity Boys Basketball Coach at Short Line School, effective the beginning of the 2018-2019 WVSSAC Season.

Kenneth D. Nice, approval for employment as seventh grade/JV Boys Basketball Coach at Short Line School, effective the beginning of the 2018-2019 WVSSAC Season.

Richard A. Rine, approval for employment as seventh grade Girls Basketball Coach at Short Line School, effective the beginning of the 2018-2019 WVSSAC Season.

Ratification of Superintendent's Recommendation:

Approval of a thirty-day suspension without pay for a professional employee.

Fund Raisers:

In compliance with the requirements of West Virginia State Board of Education Policy 1224.1, the Superintendent recommends that the Board approve the following groups/organizations to raise funds (monies) in the name of a particular school in Wetzel County: Valley High School: Girls Basketball Boosters

Out of State Trips:

Approval of request from JC Kimble for JC Kimble, Tara Byard, and Donald Taylor to take up to 100 students from VHS on a field trip to the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Jan. 25 to see Hamilton: An American Musical. Funded through Unified Plan funds.

Approval of request from Annaliese Henderson to take two students and two graduates from HHS to attend the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN, from Oct. 23-27. Funded through Chapter Funds. (received unofficial approval from board members at 10-22-18 meeting)

Approval of request from Jay Salva to take the eighth grade students from Paden City High School on a field trip to Washington, DC, on May 29-31, 2019. Funded through fundraisers and student fees.

Approval of request for Amanda McPherson to travel to Houston, TX, for the AASA/JASON Fall STEM Consortium Meeting Nov. 7-9, 2018. Funded through county funds.

Approval of request from Amanda McPherson to attend the School Nutrition Association - School Nutrition Industry Conference, Jan. 12-16 in Austin, TX. Funded through county funds.

Approval of request from Debbie Novotny for Carol Zombotti, Candace McBee, and Kayla George to attend the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference in Boston, MA from Nov. 15-18. Funded through Special Education.


Approval of request from the School Principal for the following Chaperones/Volunteers for the 2018-2019 school year, Valley High School: Florence Eddy and Amanda Kimble

Lease Agreement: Archery Range leased from the Wetzel Lodge Masonic Association, Inc. beginning Oct. 18 to June 30, 2019, for the amount of $500, for use by the Magnolia High School Archery team during their season.

Bus Request: Approval of request from the Hundred Area Young Life Leaders for one school bus and bus operator to transport approximately 40 students from Hundred High School and Magnolia High School to and from Jackson's Mill, W.Va. for the Fall Weekend Camp Nov. 16 and 18. Funded through the Hundred Area Young Life.

TREASURER'S REPORT: Approval for Payment of Bills for the Month of October, 2018 (invoices approved at this meeting are available for review at the Wetzel County Schools' Financial Office) and Approval for Transfers and Increases in the Budget:

The Board of Education wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving holiday. Grace stated that we need to give thanks "because we live in the greatest state and the greatest country on the face of the earth."



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