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Board Recognizes Three For Golden Horseshoe

By Staff | May 18, 2011

Pictured are many of the students in New Martinsville School’s Art After School class who presented an oil painting to the Wetzel County Board of Education May 16 to enhance the aesthetics of the board’s Foundry Street offices. The mirror rendering contains the county’s motto, “Educating Individuals For Success.” The grade 5-8 students are chosen by portfolio audition and letters of references. (Photo by Bill Abraham)

Students in the “Art After School” class at New Martinsville School presented the board of education with an oil painting May 16 to remind them of the county’s mission — “Educating Individuals For Success” — and to enhance the aesthetics of the school system’s Foundry Street offices.

Patrick Stoflinsky made the presentation in behalf of the students in grades 5-8, who are chosen by portfolio audition and letters of reference. NMS Principal Faye Shank noted that the teachers in this off-hours honors class contribute their personal time, as do the students themselves.

On hand for the presentation, in addition to Stoflinsky, were students Megan Cunningham, Erica Leasure, Rachel Loy, Cedar Sands, Kaitlyn Shanabarger, Thomas Ledergerber and teachers Alison Zwick and Debbie Tustin. Unable to attend were students Taylor Ludewig, Taylor Cline, Evan Dawson, Trey Baker, Lauren Anderson, Brooke Hostetler and Dillon Grimes.

Elsewhere at the meeting, the board recognized Wetzel County’s three winners in the statewide Golden Horseshoe contest, Victoria Stevens, Long Drain School; Soren Shade, New Martinsville School; and Kaitlyn Duke, Paden City High School.

Board President Mike Blair and County Superintendent Bill Jones presented each student with a Certificate of Excellence from the county and a Certificate of Merit from the West Virginia Board of Education. The students also were knighted at a Golden Horseshoe ceremony in Charleston last month.

Students have gained one-half a year to 1.5 years through the Fast ForWORD program, purchased last year at around $500,000 with federal stimulus funds to help rescue at-risk students in the county who cannot read at grade level. The program has a perpetual license, meaning there are no additional direct costs to the school system.

Dee Myers, Title I and elementary education director, told the board, “We are showing progress, but we need to continue moving toward our goal” of including more students in the program and following them through to completion. At present, some 200 students participate in the program, well below the number school officials believe should be in the program.

The Fast ForWORD program uses scientifically based computer software to increase brain power by exercising areas of the brain, much in the way physical conditioning does for the body. The implementation of the program at Paden City Elementary School was found to be among the best anywhere during a recent visit by Fast ForWORD representatives, who conducted implementation studies.

Among the recommendations for reaching more students Myers said, are adding FF-dedicated computers at Hundred High School, Valley High School and Paden City High School. She also urged an examination of the FF students at PCES, where the program has apparently been most successful.

Myers also suggested the board consider adding a countywide Fast ForWORD coordinator, grading and scheduling at-risk students at the secondary level and more follow-up visits and training for the 2011-12 school year.

County Energy Manager Margaret Sine reported that the school system has saved $2.2 million over what it would have spent without an energy program, initiated 10 years ago. She also said the program’s initial cost has been amortized, but the results continue to show.

The board passed on first reading a revision to its coaching policy that would ease the restriction on the number of coaches a team is permitted to have. Assistant Superintendent Jay Yeager, who initiated the proposed change, explained that the number of coaches a team may have would be a number agreed to by a school principal and the county superintendent.

Yeager said he believes the change, which could increase the number of coaches, may help in preventing players from injury. At present, the number of coaches is based on the number of players out for a sport.

The second and final reading of the proposal is set for the board’s next regularly-schedule meeting, 7 p.m., Monday, June 6 at the county office building, 333 Foundry St., New Martinsville. The board will hold a reception for retiring school board employees beginning one-half hour before the meeting.