Pocahontas County gets head start in Next Generation
The Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives must be implemented in every West Virginia school by 2014. Pocahontas County Schools are getting a head start on implementation of the new CSOs with training for teachers.
At the board of education meeting Monday night, second grade teacher Rebecca Spencer presented information on the Next Generation CSOs, as well as the training she and language arts teacher Lisa Burns attended.
Spencer said the State Department of Education adopted the new standards because the stateﾒs NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores have continually declined over the years.
ﾓWest Virginiaﾒs NAEP scores have dropped consistently since 2002 while the national standards increased,ﾔ she said. ﾓThese standards are nationwide, 45 of the 50 states have adopted it, so itﾒs going to be more consistent across the nation of what we are teaching and how we are teaching it.ﾔ
The new standards focus on preparing students from day one for life after school, whether it be college or the work force.
ﾓThey first did a study on all of the skills that students need for their first year of college or to enter the job force after completing their twelfth year,ﾔ Spencer said. ﾓThey took all these skills, which they called college or career readiness skills, and basically turned them upside down and broke them down to thirteen steps.ﾔ
Spencer used the example that if a student needs to be able to give a PowerPoint presentation in the first year of college, how can teachers begin to teach that skill in Kindergarten and carry it through to senior year?
ﾓThe skills build up on each other, all the way through completion,ﾔ she said.
In order for all teachers to be on the same page, the State offered training which Spencer and Burns attended. They have now shared what they learned with all the schools, with the exception of Pocahontas County High School, which will receive training soon.
Spencer said the training is important for the new standards to be implemented correctly.
ﾓThere are some skills, like the beginning reading skills that just start in Kindergarten and go up through third grade, but all the other skills go all the way through all the grades, which makes it extremely important that every teacher is on board and doing this correctly, or the pyramid is not going to work.ﾔ
The standards change the classroom dynamic from lecture-based learning to interactive learning.
ﾓPreviously, some of our teaching practices were to give the students all the information they need, to show them how to use it and then test them on it,ﾔ Spencer explained. ﾓThis type of teaching does it backwards. You give the students the materials, they have to find pertinent information, decide how to assimilate it together and then present it to you. So, it puts the students in the roll of engagement which is the major factor that was the problem nationwide. The students werenﾒt engaged in the classrooms.ﾔ
Spencer said several teachers have implemented lessons from the new standards to get the students transitioned into the new way of learning.
ﾓI feel quite confident we can do it because weﾒve been trying it,ﾔ she said. ﾓEach of the schools has taken one or two lessons and already begun this process to see how itﾒs working. They are very pleased of the results. The students are more actively engaged and the students are thinking for themselves. Itﾒs definitely something that needs support in order to have success.ﾔ
Board president Kenneth Vance asked Spencer what she thought of the new standards.
ﾓI think itﾒs phenomenal,ﾔ she replied. ﾓI think itﾒs a lot more difficult as a teacher because when you now have 20 students exploring, you have to be really fast and on your toes to guide all those different learners at all the different speeds they are learning. The outcome is so much better for the students. You have now engaged the entire class, when before you had a small portion truly paying attention. It is a much, much better way to teach.ﾔ
Burns added that this standard of teaching is also being implemented in college courses for education majors. She said she learned how to implement similar standards when she was in college.
ﾕ The board approved the expulsion of a Pocahontas County High School male student for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year for possession of marijuana.
ﾕ Court Liaison/Attendance Officer Susan Borror shared copies of the results from the bullying survey students filled out earlier this year. She said the results implied that there is bullying at every school and almost on every grade level.
Borror is attending the opening night of the Rachelﾒs Challenge, an anti-bullying program, at Braxton Middle School this week. She said she hopes to bring the program to the county for the students to learn more about the consequences of bullying.
Rachelﾒs Challenge is named for Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.
Borror also said she attended a conference on instituting a Teen Drug Court in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. The court will begin in Greenbrier County and, once all the kinks have been worked out, will start in Pocahontas County.
ﾕ Marlinton Middle School Joe Riley and AmeriCorps Volunteer Adrienne Cedarleaf reported on the Child Nutrition Conference they attended. The conference focused on the implementation of Food to School, a program Cedarleaf has offered at MMS and Marlinton Elementary School. Riley said there is a huge push for local foods in schools and added that the state has set aside $250,000 specifically for local foods. The state will match, dollar for dollar, what a school board spends on local foods.
Cedarleaf added that studies have shown that students who eat fresh, local foods are more likely to score higher on tests and have higher averages. She said it makes more sense to use local foods, because you are certain how many hands the food has passed through before making its way to the cafeteria.
The board approved to give a $6,000 contribution toward an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer for the 2012-2013 school year to assist with the Farm to School Program.
ﾕ Student representative Chloe Bland informed the board that the gold curtains used during graduation now have large purple stains due to the way they were stored. She asked what should be done with the curtains. Superintendent C.C. Lester said he would talk to principal Tom Sanders to remedy the situation.
Bland also shared dates for several upcoming events: The boys basketball team will compete against St. Maryﾒs High School at the state tournament Thursday.ﾠ The Geography Bowl is Saturday at Concord University. The WorkKeys test will be March 19 through 23. Regional Math Field Day is at West Virginia Tech on March 23. The VICA Culinary Regionals will be at the high school March 20. This is the first time the school has been the site for the competition. March 29, job services will be at the school to talk to students entering the work force after graduation.
ﾕ Director of Special Education/Student Services Ruth Bland said parents of preschool students have been returning surveys for the Early Childhood Fair, which will be April 21 atﾠ PCHS. She added that several parents have completed preschool applications for next year.
In financial management, the board approved the following:
ﾕ Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amount of $35,811.60.
ﾕ Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amount of $79,926.55.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
ﾕ Employment of Cynthia Pritt as softball seasonal coordinator for the 2011-2012 season at a supplement of $500.
ﾕ Employment of Lisa Dennison as coordinator of child nutrition and food service/technology integration specialist for Pocahontas County Schools, effective April 2, for the remainder of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, term of employment is 55 days.
ﾕ Employment of Leslie Cain as substitute teacher for Pocahontas County Schools, effective March 13, for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year, as needed.
ﾕ Resignation of Bradley Landis as electrician I, general maintenance, heating and air conditioning mechanic I, painter, plumber I, and asbestos management for Pocahontas County Schools, retroactive to February 28.
ﾕ Resignation of Michael S. Knisely as Dean of Students at Pocahontas County High School, effective the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Kniselyﾒs employment was contingent upon him furthering his administration education, which he is unable to do at this time. Knisely also resigned as football athletic director, effective the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
ﾕ Stipends and travel expenses for the Teacher Learning Institute participants.
ﾕ Travel requests for March 12.
The next board meeting will be Monday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the board of education conference room.