Hillsboro Elementary concerned about losing fifth grade class
At the board of education LSIC (Local School Improvement Council) meeting at Hillsboro Elementary School Monday night, parents and teachers voiced their concerns about losing the fifth grade to Marlinton Middle School.
Currently, HES has six fifth grade students enrolled. The number dwindled from 13 at the beginning of the year, with five students transferring to MMS and two moving out of the area. HES parents and facilty are concerned that if the number of students continues to decrease, the fifth grade will be moved to MMS.
PTO President Wildman Adams said he feels fifth grade students are too young to be in a middle school setting.
ﾓI think in the long run it would be detrimental,ﾔ Adams said. ﾓI think that if you move the fifth grade there [MMS], you will rue the day. I just donﾒt think they have the maturity or experience to be thrown in with the middle school.ﾔ
Board president Kenneth Vance explained that the board isnﾒt making the decision, the parents are.
ﾓYou need the parents that have fifth graders to keep them here because this year there were quite a few students that went to the fifth grade at Marlinton,ﾔ Vance said. ﾓThe parents are really making that decision to move their children and that is whatﾒs affecting us.ﾔ
HES fifth grade teacher Darlene Arbogast said she moved her fifth grade daughter to MMS because of the electives offered.
ﾓI moved my child because of the things she can have up there, the fine arts, band, choir and she has access to a Spanish teacher,ﾔ she said. ﾓThose things we donﾒt have here.ﾔ
Parent Sheila Rose said it would be great if HES could offer electives and thinks it is unfair to the students that they arenﾒt given the opportunity to take art and music.
Superintendent C.C. Lester said the decision to move the fifth grade to MMS has not been made, and he believes the issue is not a concern at this time.
Board member Emery Grimes said the issue boils down to funding. The school system is in danger of losing an estimated $500,000 in federal funding if the Safe and Secure Rural Schools Act is not funded by Congress. With such a large loss, the BOE could be faced with a loss of eight-to-10 teachers.
ﾕ Principal Ricky Sharp said the school received several updates which have made the school safer and better equipped for the school year. The intercom system has helped with emergency procedures, as well as making it easier for Sharp to communicate with staff. The gym is the only place that has not had an intercom installed, although it was included in the intercom update.
The school has gone completely wireless for the 12-computer lab and mobile lab of 20 laptops. Sharp said he also purchased seven iPads for teachers.
For the after-school program this year, Sharp hopes to target third through fifth grade students who have struggled with the Westest. He also hopes to implement the Archery in the Schools program.
Sharp said the faculty senate sees an immediate need for a full-time special education teacher. The needs of the special needs students are not being met.
ﾕ Arbogast gave a Respect and Protect update, reminding the board that the new form, ICARE, is taking a more positive approach, and the students are responding well to the changes.
ﾕ PTO Secretary/Treasurer and Hillsboro mayor Ann Walker said she is currently working on two grants for the town that will benefit the school. She applied for a $100,000 grant to replace all the sidewalks in the town, as well as a $15,000 grant to bring a healthy walking/biking program into the school.
Walker started the Fun Walking Fridays last spring and is continuing the program this year. Each Friday morning, students who wish to participate are dropped off at the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church and walk to the cafeteria. The students have punch cards in their classrooms that keep track of their participation. Walker hopes to add incentive items to the program including bags, water bottles and pedometers.
Walker told the board that the PTO is having a craft sale/flea market Saturday, October 22. Included in the sale will be food sales and a 50/50 drawing. All proceeds will go to the PTO fund.
ﾕ Adams said residents of Greenbrier Manor were really pleased when the students visited them last year. The students took a clowning class with the Gesundheit! Institute and entertained the residents with what they learned. Adams hopes to take the students back this year.
Adams added that he is going to try to rent a meeting hall at The Greenbrier and have his brother, Patch Adams, speak, with all proceeds going to the PTO.
The next board meeting is October 24 at 7 p.m. in the board of education conference room.