Assistant Principal Requested at Valley
Valley High School’s instructors are requesting an assistant principal, in hopes it might prevent their current principal from ever considering a departure.
At the regular meeting of the Wetzel County Board of Education, VHS gave their annual Local School Improvement Council presentation. This was the first VHS LSIC presentation for new principal JC Kimble, who received glowing reviews at the meeting from students and teachers both.
Teacher Tara Byard said the job of principal at VHS is “too much workload for one person.”
“It’s not that our principal would want to leave, but it’s really a hard job for one person. I’m afraid it’s going to get to the point where between negotiating time with his family, wife, and children, and trying to do this job, it’s going to be overwhelming,” Byard said.
Byard said Kimble has changed the school and turned it in the right direction. She said she could see VHS going to the right places but “we have a lot of responsibilities that (Kimble) can’t do all by himself.”
For his part, Kimble did not appear to have any interest in leaving anytime soon.
He said he stepped into the position “not knowing anything;” however, he said once he began his new career and found out more about the school, he “wondered why anyone would have ever left.”
“The faculty is wonderful. The kids are fabulous,” Kimble said.
He also credited the community for leaving a good impression.
“We had our first pep rally, and everyone was standing up and screaming. I just kind of stood back against the wall and was amazed,” he added.
Kimble said he smiles everyday and is “so happy” he made the position to become VHS’ principal.
Kimble told the board he was asked by Superintendent Leatha Williams where he “sees” VHS. Kimble said he responded by saying he sees VHS as “being the best school in the county.”
“I don’t do anything to be second best,” Kimble said. “If you are a coach, you aren’t in it to lose. You are in it to win.”
Kimble explained he wanted to bring consistency to VHS, as there has not been such for a while. Kimble said he felt teachers are thankful for the consistency, as well as the students.
“I may be the principal, but I can’t do anything without the faculty and students,” he explained, crediting students and teachers for “everything we accomplish this year.”
In another matter,Teacher Tara Byard said that last year VHS did not know much about the new General Summative Assessment going into it. Byard said students did not perform the best they could on the test for the first year.
“When asking them how hard they tried, they said ‘We just wanted it to be over with,'” Byard explained, adding that VHS’ results reflected that attitude.
“They feel like they were not prepared to be successful,” Byard said.
VHS students have since taken the practice test for the GSA. Byard said faculty found students understand the information they are reading but are lacking the way “to explain to us that they get it.”
Kimble remarked that VHS’ junior class had already increased some of its scores from the GSA last year to the practice test this year.
VHS’ goals for the 2015-2016 school year include boosting school culture and increasing data driven instruction to meet Annual Measurable Objectives and increase graduation goals.
Teacher Annie Hall said in respect to culture, that if students aren’t being supported by parents and community members, it is difficult for the school to be successful.
Hall said to boost that community support, VHS works to be active in the community, update its webpage for upcoming events, and update its sign in front of the school.
Additionally, the school offers plenty of events for the community to take part in, whether it be a sporting event, donkey basketball, alumni weekend, FFA banquet, blood drive, or its upcoming Veterans Day celebration.
As to improving academically, VHS is utilizing and taking advantage of its online and virtual classes, Student of the Month program, and extracurricular clubs and activities.
Additionally, Counselor Amy Tucker has utilized midterm consultations to reach out to students who are not meeting requirements for classes. Byard remarked that Tucker has helped 44 students through the consultations and has helped them to see “they are up to passing classes.”
Byard remarked that students came away from the consultations, telling their teachers that they want to be better.
As to facility improvements, Kimble thanked the board for the new lockers. “You walk in the school and they just ‘pop,’ the yellow and black.”
Kimble added that kids have to want to go to school and that school is like their home.
“We are like a family. If the house looks good, you generally want to be there.”
Kimble also thanked the board for new textbooks, the three percent pay raise all Wetzel County School employees received, new carpet in classrooms, and the full-time art teacher.
Additionally, Kimble expressed appreciation for new exterior doors, a meat grinder for the Agriculture Education courses, athletic field renovations and bleachers, and the free lunch and breakfast for all students.
As to needs for the next school year, Kimble requested a full-time business education instructor. He also requested an additional custodian, an autoscrubber for the floors, and fresh paint on the gymnasium walls.
Seniors Makayla Melott and Colton Ring spoke about clubs at VHS, specifically FFA and TSA. Ring also stressed the difference in VHS this year versus the 2014-2015 school year., saying the consistency is “a thousand times better.”
“I’ve had five principals in the last three years. It’s hard to learn academically when you have five principals,” he said.
“Mr. Kimble has come in, and so has Ms. Tucker, and they’ve knocked it out of the park,” Ring said.
Board President Mike Blair thanked the students for their comments, adding that “We feel better as a group. You make us feel like we’ve put the proper people in.” Blair encouraged Kimble to “stay the course.”