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Paden City Schools Explain Accomplishments

By Staff | Oct 15, 2014

The Paden City High School band provided top-notch entertainment for board members and other guests at the Wetzel County Board of Education meeting held Oct. 6 night at Paden City High School. (Photo by Lauren Matthews)

Principal Jay Salva of Paden City High School, along with Tammy Chamber, principal of Paden City Elementary School, updated the Wetzel County Board of Education Oct. 6 night on progress being made at each of their respective schools, along with 2014 WesTest scores.

As to discipline at PCHS, Salva stated that administrators usually like to handle discipline with in-school suspension, as kids are supervised and not at home “playing on their X-Boxes or whatever.”

“They are in school and getting assignments brought by their teachers,” he stated.

Salva stated that out-of-school suspension is used for more severe discrepancies such as fighting. He said issues involving harassment are usually stopped with a warning. Furthermore, Salva does not believe bullying is an issue at PCHS. “It’s not prevalent across the board,” he noted. “It’s minor issues that happen from time to time.”

Salva stated that discipline issues are decreasing each year he has been principal. He added that guest speakers come into the schools and have presentations on issues such as anger management, anti-bullying, and drugs and tobacco use. He stated that Michael Cobb, who played for the Chicago bears, would be coming to Paden City High School in the near future for a presentation.

PCHS’s “Safe School Plan” is updated as needed, according to Salva. He stated that this past summer, PCHS administrators attended an active-shooter training, which he said PCHS would be incorporating into their school’s safety team committee. Salva stated that the school follows the state’s policy 4373 for Safe and Supportive Schools. The policy is located in the student’s handbook, and they, along with a parent/guardian, have to sign a copy each year.

As to WesTest scores, Salva said that he picked out Content Standards where students scored at 50 percent mastery or or less. He said he had the teachers look at the data and the teachers had to put into writing what they were going to do to achieve mastery on next year’s WesTest. Furthermore, Salva stated that thanks to an online lesson plan system purchased by the board, teachers can keep better track of how often they teach a topic.

“Looking at the WesTest scores, I can say I’m extremely proud of everyone,” Salva said, crediting the custodians who keep the students’ environment clean, to the cooks that cook students nutritional meals, to “all the teachers . . . I’m just proud of everybody.”

The following were mastery levels for reading/language arts: seventh grade, 55 percent; eighth grade, 45 percent; ninth grade, 72 percent; 10th grade, 67 percent; 11th grade, 72 percent.

Math saw the following mastery levels: seventh grade, 38 percent; eighth grade, 50 percent; ninth grade, 55 percent; 10th grade, 53 percent; 11th grade, 69 percent.

Salva stated that he hopes PCHS would be a top five school on schooldigger.com, which is an online ranking system referenced by several Wetzel County teachers and principals.

Salva stated that last year PCHS ended the year with 188 students; this year, they are at 197. “Each year I’ve been here, we’ve increased enrollment,” he noted, adding that the daily attendance has also increased. Salva noted that so far, not one member of the class of 2015 has dropped out of school; adding that his fingers were crossed, “because 100 percent is my number one goal.”

His first year at PCHS, Salva had 150 instances of discipline. He stated that last year, there were only 45. “Students are doing their work more, and that reflects in grades as well,” he added.

Salva said 24 students are taking college-level English, while 23 are taking college-level psychology. He noted that the students take these courses through West Liberty, at $25 a credit hour, which averages out to $75 a course. He said several students are taking college-level algebra independently during the school day. “If they need help, they know to see Ms. Gorby or Mr. Mason and they will help them with that, because it’s a bit harder to take independently.”

Salva stated that PCHS accomplished all of their LSIC goals from last year, which included decreasing the drop-out rate, increasing enrollment, increasing enriched core curriculum, and increasing out-of-school speakers. Salva said that PCHS once again won a Fairmont State University Science and Engineer competition, “which has a lot of AAA schools involved.” He said PCHS participates in quiz bowls and has also increased their communication with the community through a newspaper they release to the community.

Salva said he wants to increase the number of clubs that PCHS has, as well as have student leaders in the clubs as well, to increase student leadership. He added that other LSIC goals include to reach a graduation rate of 100 percent and to increase scores on the WesTest, specifically in areas of science and social studies by five percent and math and reading by three percent.

“Several years ago, they had considered closing Paden City High School,” Board Vice President Bob Patterson noted. “Looking at what’s been accomplished the past few years, you and your staff have done an outstanding job.”

PCES Principal Tammy Chambers noted that last year her school had 238 students enrolled, with 88 percent of those students receiving “PAWS” for positive discipline and were rewarded for good behavior.

Chambers noted that at the first meeting of PCES’s Local School Improvement Council, members reviewed the Annual Productive and Safe Schools report. Chambers stated that last year PCES provided new opportunities for students as far as promoting anti-bullying and preventing harassment. She stated that “even Batman came to deliver the message.”

Chambers provided the board with three pages that described various awards given out on Awards Day at the end of the school year on June 5. She stated that the most popular award given to students was the limousine ride to McDonald’s for students with perfect attendance. She stated that last year PCES had five students with perfect attendance. “Our attendance is usually pretty good,” she noted. “We had the highest attendance rate in the county in February, April, and May.”

Last year’s opening day theme was “Wild Wonderful West Virginia Wildcats,” which celebrated West Virginia’s 150th birthday. Chambers stated that “this theme filtered through the classrooms with many lessons, activities, and Project Based Learning across the curriculum. She said PCES also had the West Virginia Agriculture trailer at the school for a week “to do hands-on lessons with all the classes.”

“We also had the opportunity to have an assembly, Celebrate WV, that introduced students to different instruments and songs typically played in West Virginia folk music. In February we were entertained and educated about bluegrass instruments and music.”

Chambers stated that PCES increased the proficiency in all areas on the 2014 WesTest. “When we break this down into grade levels, we increased reading/language arts and math scores in third, fourth, and sixth grades.” According to the data Chambers handed out to the board, 28.8 percent of students were proficient in math; 45 percent of students were proficient in reading/language arts; 35.5 percent of students were proficient in science, and 44 percent of students were proficient in social studies.

“Overall, we believe we are making headway,” Chambers noted. “We wanted to raise math scores, we had a school-wide goal to help achieve that by focusing on basic facts throughout all grades. We also implemented a math intervention time for 40 minutes in our schedule, two days a week. This year we have a math coach along with the intervention time and our plan is to increase our mastery in math even more.”

Elliot Kendle, president of the PCES Local School Improvement Council, stated that the LSIC has made progress toward achieving all of last year’s goals, which included the following: updating and improving the school campus, which includes working on a safer route for students that walk to school; support strategic plan goals/improvement academic achievement, and technology upgrades.

Kendle stated that the school has improved their campus in a variety ways, including a new sign by the highway, paving of the parking lot, new windows, and a new pre-kindergarten playground. He stated that staff, students, parents, and the community have been active in supporting and participating in activities at the school throughout the year. He stated that some of the highlights and most attended events included the PCES Open House, Career Week, Parent Conferences, Band and Choir Performances, Christmas Programs, and Kids College. Kendle stated that the school has 14 Mimios in the building that are set up as presentation centers attached to SMARTboards. “We want to purchase three more and everyone will have one,” Kendle stated.

Kendle stated that some possible goals for this year’s LSIC included the following: update and improve the school campus, as well as continue to work on a Safer Route for students that walk to school; support strategic plan goals/improvement of academic achievement, and technology upgrades, including purchase iPads for every classroom to have at least four to use as a station or center.

Board President Mike Blair remarked that the board was already considering buying iPads for the county’s schools. “I’d urge you not to use money on iPads, until we get a recommendation from the superintendent,” he stated.

Furthermore, the board discussed the issue with PCES children having to walk in nearby residents’ yards or on the roadway to get to school. Principal Chambers stated that the school was considering a grant that would allow them to build a sidewalk for students to walk on to school. Board member Carolyn Gatian suggested that the board purchase some sort of reflective temporary barrier/walkway for students to walk alongside.

In a separate matter, Board President Mike Blair recommended that the board give each school’s home economics program an allocation of money, as state funds the schools are receiving are not enough to adequately fulfill all of their needs.

Also, during the approval of routine matters on the agenda, Gatian expressed concern over the chaperone list. “Valley High School’s list is quite extensive,” she remarked, expressing concerning that a check had not been completed for each person that is listed. “I don’t know half of these people,” she stated. It was mentioned that the list had been submitted to the board by the principal of each school. “I assume that the school principal knows every person on the list, and that is the standard that we are going to vet them by,” said Gatian.