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Board Hears From Paden City Schools Monday

By Staff | Oct 9, 2008

The Paden City Elementary School fifth and sixth grade choir performed for the Wetzel County Board of Education Monday evening. Several members came straight from competing in a volleyball game, which they won.

Fifth and sixth grade members of the Paden City Elementary School Choir captured the spotlight at the Oct. 6 meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education.

After many of them played a volleyball game against Pleasants County (PCES won the match, 2-3), they joined others at Paden City High School to sing the National Anthem and a novelty song, “Chocolate”. They then distributed some of that chocolate to board members.

Meanwhile, the board heard reports from the Paden City elementary and high school principals and their Local School Improvement Councils.

PCES Principal Tammy Chambers told board members that most of her school’s WesTest reading scores met or exceeded the state department of education’s benchmark of 76.67 percent at or above mastery.

Reading scores for the third, fifth, and sixth graders ranged from 84 percent to 93 percent, with the fourth grade falling short of the mark at 71 percent.

She reported similar results in math, where the state’s benchmark was set at 72.5 percent. PCES students in the third, fifth, and sixth grades punched in with a minimum 81 percent to a high of 95 percent. Fourth graders achieved a 67 percent mark on this portion of the survey.

Significantly, Chambers reported, “In many cases our low socio-economic and special education scores boosted the overall totals.” In math, for example, sixth grade special ed and low SES student subgroups both scored 100 percent at or above mastery level.

LSIC member Denise Neff introduced other LSIC members to the board and outlined the group’s plans to support the school in the coming year, with an emphasis on helping it maintain and improve its AYP/WesTest performance.

PCHS Principal Warren L. Grace Jr. reported that his school met all AYP standards except that of its graduation rate, which Grace has appealed to the state board level. The PCHS graduation rate for the 2007-08 school year was 77.4 percent; the state standard in this area was 80 percent.

Grace contends that the state method of computing the graduation rate is arbitrary and does not reckon with those students who earn a GED or who drop out and later return to school and graduate. Two PCHS students earned their GEDs in the 2007-08 school year, which would have been sufficient to bring the school to AYP standard.

County Director of Attendance and Student Support Services Sue Villers noted that the state methodology tracks students for four years only, excluding those whose education has been interrupted.

Grace noted that the Paden City Boosters Organization is a constant reinforcement and support of his school’s academic and extracurricular events and programs. The reports from both schools also made special mention of their Partners In Education, PPG Industries and Bayer, for their support throughout the year.

School System Treasurer Jeff Lancaster reported the receipt of a recurring federal Rural and Low-Income grant in the amount of $78,025. The funds will be used to pay salaries of reading intervention teachers in the county.

The board also approved a total of $59,070 in three separate capital improvement projects at PCES, PCHS, and Valley High School. The projects are funded by a state School Access Safety grant.

In addition, the board heard from Jill Beall of WorkForce West Virginia, who outlined her agency’s multiple youth services programs that include helping at-risk students earn a GED; help for qualified students to gain employment; and help in combating drug and alcohol abuse.

Before adjourning, the board approved several personnel changes and a host of chaperones and volunteers for the 2008-09 school year.

The board is scheduled to meet next at VHS, Oct. 20, beginning at 7 p.m.