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Family Fights For Child To Attend MHS

By Staff | Oct 28, 2009

The Wetzel County Board of Education took under advisement a complaint by Camilla and David Freeland concerning the termination of their daughter’s extended education at Magnolia High School.

The couple and their daughter attended the Oct. 19 meeting held at Short Line School. Camilla explained that on Oct. 5 there was a decision to not allow her special-needs daughter to attend Wetzel County Schools, as they live in Tyler County. Camilla said her daughter had attended New Martinsville schools since pre-school and it is hard for her to make friends.

The 19-year-old girl has two more years to attend school. “I don’t understand why for the last four years it was never a problem,” said Camilla. “I feel like she’s just been dumped.”

Her daughter asks every day if she can go to school.

If she had known her daughter would be denied the extra two years at MHS, she would have had her graduate in the spring. “I would like her to continue her last two years at Magnolia,” said Camilla.

The mother said they had half of an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting in the spring, but they haven’t made a transition plan. The other half of the IEP meeting was to be held in August, according to Camilla, but the teacher hasn’t responded.

The board took the matter under advisement and said either Special Education Director Debbie Novotny or Superintendent Bill Jones would respond directly to the family.

In another matter, Tammy Wells, director of secondary and vocational education, student assessment, and strategic planning, gave her annual AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) report to the board.

Seven of the county’s schools met AYP in the past year. “New Martinsville School, while boasting some very good test scores, did not make AYP in the category of students with special needs,” said Wells. “Please understand that other schools in our county have cell sizes in this category too small to report for AYP and that, had they had cell sizes of 50 or above, would be in the same category with New Martinsville School.”

Wells said she waited until the Oct. 19 meeting to give the report because she wanted to highlight SLS’s achievement of meeting AYP. “Short Line has worked diligently in Professional Learning Communities and trainings provided through the Title I program (directed by Mrs. Myers), and has availed themselves of the numerous online assessment tools (such as Acuity, Writing Roadmap 2, and techSteps) to improve student achievement, as well as working the Response to Intervention process through all grades, and it has certainly paid off,” said Wells. “They ended up scoring in the top 50 percent of all schools in the state of West Virginia this year.”

SLS Principal Jane Beckett said her school has used the benchmark test and gone over all the problems with the students. “It takes time, but we think that really helps,” said Beckett.

In the list of personnel matters approved by the board, the accepted the retirement of Beckett from her principal position at SLS effective June 30, 2010. Another principal with similar plans that were approved is Warren Lee Grace Jr., principal at Paden City High School.

They also accepted the retirement of Kay L. Blair from her position as teacher and academic coach at SLS, effective June 30, 2010, and William E. Longwell III, from his position as social studies teacher at MHS/PCHS, effective June 30, 2010.

Rebecca K. Goff resigned from positions as FastForward coordinator, LINKS coordinator, and SAT coordinator at Hundred High School, effective Oct. 5.

The following professional employments were approved:

Tara R. Adams as countywide substitute teacher, effective Oct. 20; Nathanael D. Herrod as countywide substitute teacher, effective Oct. 20; and Velisha I. Shepherd as countywide half-time gifted teacher based at NMS, effective Oct. 27.

Service personnel employments approved:

Virginia L. Brown change in assignment from countywide supervisory teacher aide based at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families to countywide supervisory teacher aide-special education-based at SLS, effective Oct. 20; Julie L. Ledergerber for contracted services position as bus duty supervisor at NMS, effective Oct. 20; Jason T. West for employment as bus operator, Trader’s Run/Stout Run/Fallen Timber/Arches Fork bus route, Bus #11, effective Oct. 20.

Mary K. Young was reclassified from custodian II (pay grade B) to custodian III (pay grade C) at MHS, effective Oct. 27.

Lisa J. Sidenstricker was approved as a service personnel administering medications for the 2009-2010 school year at MHS. She will receive one pay grade higher.

The board approved the superintendent’s recommendation to approval a paid up oil and gas lease between the Wetzel County Board of Education and Chesapeake Appalachia for .34 acres on Utt Ridge for consideration of the sum of $34. Beginning September 2009 through September 2016.

The board also approved an agreement with Kimball Midwest for storage equipment facilities at the bus garage for three years beginning Oct. 20 through Oct. 19, 2012.

Three out of state trips were approved:

Virgil Wilkins to take four FFA members to the national FFA convention in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 20-24, funded through Hundred FFA Chapter.

Vicki Natali to take 19 special needs students from MHS and six chaperones to the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Oct. 22, 27, or 28, funded through student fees and special education funds.

Josh Weekley, Larry and Donna Weekley, John Kocher, and Natalie Kitko to take sophomores at Valley High School who study United States History and juniors who study American Literature to Wheeling Jesuit College in Wheeling and then to Steubenville, Ohio, to see the replicas of the Nina and Pinta on Oct. 28. Funding will come through student fees and the WACHE grant.

The board approved for Bonnie Nelson’s son, Evan Nelson, to continue attending Wetzel County Schools (PCHS) for the 2009-2010 school year.

The next board meeting will be Nov. 2 at NMS at 7 p.m. There will also be regular board meetings on Nov. 16 and Dec. 7 at the county office at 7 p.m.