Students speak their minds at board meeting
Several Marlinton Middle School students shared their concerns and opinions with the board of education Monday night at the LSIC (Local School Improvement Council) meeting at MMS.
Eighth grade students Olivia Dean and Jacob Hefner spoke about programs they would like to see at MMS and concerns they have about disruptive classmates.
ﾓWe feel that we arenﾒt getting exactly what we need in our advisory classes,ﾔ Dean said. ﾓWeﾒre learning about cyberbullying, suicide prevention and substance abuse, but weﾒre not really getting what we need to be getting out of the lesson because we canﾒt comprehend it. Itﾒs hard to pay attention because of disruptive students.ﾔ
Dean explained that all eighth grade homerooms come together in advisory class, so there are more students in one room, which makes it harder to learn.
ﾓIt also seems to us that the same students are being more disruptive than others,ﾔ she said.
Hefner said he would like to see more issues discussed in the advisory class.
ﾓI think we should have current events and politics because kids need to be more aware about whatﾒs going on in our government,ﾔ he said. ﾓMost of them donﾒt even know the difference between Democrats and Republicans.ﾔ
Hefner added that he would like to see a larger foreign language department that offers more languages than just Spanish.
The students also addressed the concern over bullying at the school and seventh grade students Lillian Lane and Ashley Stuart shared examples of prevention projects the school is implementing.
ﾓWe did a bullying poster contest and many students were involved with it,ﾔ Lane said. What we were trying to achieve was try to get kids involved in stopping the bullying and harassing.ﾔ
Stuart takes a cyber approach by compiling pictures for slide shows that are shown during lunch on the Smartboard.
ﾓWeﾒre also making newsletters to make teens aware of the dangers of the Internet and how they can stay away from it,ﾔ she said.
Counselor Missy Doss said the school is implementing several programs to allow the students to take control of the bullying issue.
ﾓWe did a survey with the seventh and eighth grades on bullying,ﾔ she said. ﾓThe students that were listed [as bullies] a lot on the anonymous surveys, we talked to them about being listed as bullies and asked them why they thought they were pointed out.ﾔ
The students are also using vocabulary terms related to respect, polite and prompt in their writing projects to understand what it means to be respectful and polite.
Doss added that the students have requested a health program for the seventh and eighth grade classes.
ﾓThey feel like, as middle schoolers, a lot of the high school issues have trickled down at the middle school level,ﾔ she said. ﾓThey feel like we need a really good, research based sex education program at our school, as well as just a health class that teaches them healthy lifestyle choices.ﾔ
Science teacher Denise Sharp added that she has also seen the high school have an influence on the bullying issue. The middle school students are on the bus with high school students and are feeling the pressure to fit in, as well as being bullied by the older students.
Sharp said she would like to see members of the community become positive role models for the students.
Superintendent C.C. Lester said a cyberbullying awareness program will be held at Pocahontas County High School December 14 and at MMS on December 16.
In school updates:
ﾕ Principal Joe Riley said the special education program is having issues with meeting timelines because there is not enough staff. Riley said if he had another half-time person, it would help the staff meeting the IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) for the students.
Special education teacher Shannon Anderson said there are around 36 special education students at MMS and the seventh and eighth grade students are not getting help because of the case load.
A dental lab was at the school December 1 and 2 and will return to give students free examinations, fillings, fluoride treatments and sealants.
There have been some changes to the schedule to allow time for the advisory class and team meetings for core subject teachers. Each week, the reading, math, science and social studies teachers meet to discuss curriculum and any new programs for their subjects.
Riley asked the board to consider beginning an in-school suspension program at the school. Currently, the school only has room to have ISS for three students at a time and makes it hard to have immediate consequences after the students misbehave.
He added that the school recently celebrated 24 years in the current building and some areas of the school need improvement, but he is thankful for the staff who help keep the school in tip-top shape.
ﾕ LSIC president Susan McMillion reported that the Respect and Protect rewards day went well, with 130 students participating. The students had a 100 in conduct for the first nine weeks, which means they did not receive any RPI (Respect and Protect Intervention) forms.
McMillion added the school is working on Acuity to improve Westest scores, as well as improve writing skills in the students.
Students will be allowed to apply for a position on the Respect and Protect team, giving them the opportunity to give more input to improve the program.
McMillion also shared the LSICs ﾓwish listﾔ for the school: speakers in the restrooms, a flashing alert light for the band room, more funding for the Respect and Protect program, new cafeteria tables and more storage.
ﾕﾠLanguage Arts/Reading teacher Stephanie Burns reported on the aligned curriculum plan to ensure students are using the same terminology in all their writing projects. The students are also learning to use a vivid word choice, transitional phrasing and how to ﾓbeef upﾔ their conclusions.
ﾕ Spanish teacher Shirlene Groseclose said her students are working on writing and oral presentations to improve their Spanish skills. The students also help with ethnic menus, which included all cultures. The cafeteria has worked with the students to include some of these items in the lunch menu.
ﾕ Math teacher Cammy Kiner said the math department met with Glenville State College to develop the math curriculum. Kiner is also working with the fifth grade on the most missed questions on the Westest.
The next board of education meeting will be held December 12 at 7 p.m. in the board of education conference room.