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Group Asks Board To Consider Hiring Specialist

By Staff | Feb 23, 2011

Some 25 persons, including faculty members, asked the Wetzel County Board of Education Feb. 21 to consider filling a grade three/four reading intervention specialist position at New Martinsville School for next year that will become vacant with the retirement of George “Butch” Wilson at the end of this school year.

Unless filled, the vacancy will reduce the number of minutes of instruction for certain reading-intervention students in grades three/four.

Lisa Toman and Emily McGuire, both NMS teachers, reminded the board that smaller class sizes have been associated with improved student achievement and cited various studies to support that conclusion.

In response, County Superintendent of Schools Bill Jones told the teachers he appreciated their passion and dedication and agreed with them on the critical importance of reading in the educational process. “We don’t have all the answers, but we are looking for them,” said Jones, referring to the problems often produced by the legislative school-aid funding formula. That formula is based only on the number of students per county.

Jones also noted that a bill has been introduced in the current session of the West Virginia Legislature that would improve the student-teacher class size ratio.

Other officials noted that several factors are still unknown, including kindergarten registration figures for next year and the number of student retentions. Kindergarten registration for the 2011-12 year will be held next month and retention figures won’t be known until the end of the current school year.

Judy Pastilong of the Wetzel County Relay For Life presented Jones a plaque to mark the third consecutive year that Wetzel County schools have had 100 percent participation in the relay’s fund raising and educational activities.

With a quorum of three members at the meeting, the board approved an apparent low bid of $997,776 from ClimaTech Inc. for the HVAC project at Long Drain School. The bid was accepted contingent on the approval of the state School Building Authority for $875,000. ClimaTech is a mechanical contractor of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration installations for commercial and residential customers. It has offices in Pittsburgh and Tampa.

The board also voted to approve continued participation of the Prevention Resource Officer program at Magnolia High School and Valley High School, where efforts are underway to secure Juvenile Accountability Block Grants (JABG) grant funding.

The board also approved personnel changes that included recalling some previously RIFFed employees for the 2011-12 school year. It also included the deployment of others on the 2011-12 transfer and re-assignment list.

Melissa K. Starkey and Bernice J. Hornbeck were taken from the RIF List and assigned as countywide supervisory teacher aides based at Long Drain School for next year, while Monica L. Morris was taken from the same list for a teacher aide position based at Magnolia High School.

Several other employees were taken from the transfer list and re-assigned to other positions or to other locations. Sandra K. Blake was assigned to Paden City Elementary School as half-time cook, while Kathy D. Greathouse was taken from the transfer list and assigned to MHS as evening custodian on a 228-day contract.

Meanwhile, Jill C. Householder, Bernice A. Martin, and Cynthia A. Zajdowicz were changed from the transfer list and assigned countywide supervisory teacher aide positions. Householder will be based at Short Line School, while Martin will be assigned to MHS for next year and Zajdowicz will be at NMS.

The board also voted to approve new employment or changes in employment for next school year.

At PCES, Glenda J. Bennett’s assignment was changed from countywide half-time gifted teacher to sixth grade teacher, while Barbara G. Slider was assigned as fifth grade teacher at the school from a previous position at SLS. Linda S. Zeh was moved from a countywide MI/LD/BD teacher based at Paden City High School to the same position based at PCES.

In other changes at MHS, Whitney N. Healy’s assignment was changed to half-time English teacher at the school for next year from the same position at Valley High School. Andrea M. Brewer was approved as non-certified assistant girls’ track coach for the current school year.

Other changes approved for SLS included the reassignment of John N. Jennings as 7/8 grade science teacher from Hundred High School as science/biology instructor; the reassignment of Aaron E. Vigliotti from LDS to fifth grade teacher at NMS; and moving Jo Ellen Snider from NMS to LDS, where she will teach the fourth grade next year.

The board also approved Sarah E. Haught as a countywide substitute teacher for the current school year and Wilma L. Ornduff as a countywide substitute teacher aide.

In addition, the board approved the following changes in the employment of bus operators for this year and for the 2011-12 school year.

Debra D. Thomas’s route will change next year from the Whiteman Hill/Downtown/South Steelton route on Bus 37 to the Riverfront Special Needs route on Bus 20, while Ralph H. Thomas and Martin R. Whiteman were employed as countywide substitute bus operators, effective Feb. 22 and pending receipt of state certification.

The board added Violet Lewis and Nancy Rose to the approved chaperones and volunteers for the 2010-11 school year at PCES and authorized Jim West to take the VHS Baseball Team to Myrtle Beach to play in the Mingo Bay Classic Tournament during spring break, April 18-22. The trip will be funded by the baseball team.

The board also approved Gregory W. Richmond’s request to attend the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance national convention March 28-April 3 in San Diego, Calif. The trip will be paid from the staff development fund at NMS and from Richmond’s personal funds.

The board also approved Erin Amos-Thomas’ request that her son be permitted to attend MHS for the rest of the current school year, pending release from Marshall County schools. The board also released the daughter of Richard A. and Bridget L. Rine to attend Harrison County Schools beginning with the 2011-12 school year.

The board’s next regularly-scheduled meeting is set for 7 p.m., March 7, at the board office building, 333 Foundry St., New Martinsville.