By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all after Board of Education President Tim Turner called the meeting to order. There were no citizens input at this meeting, leading to recognitions by Neil Kisamore, DTEMS principal. Kisamore recognized Dustin Luzier, coach of the DTEMS boy’s basketball team and their successful season. “We only won half of our games, but what’s amazing is the young men he teaches and coaches,” he began “we are lucky to have him. He’s producing good young men, not just basketball players.” he allowed. Kisamore provided a list of what his school has been involved in thus far in the 2018-19 school year. They have begun offering pep rallies to excite the students about band, football, and cheerleading programs. DTEMS has been learning and celebrating Chinese holidays with Mr. Du and provided presentations to the entire student body.
Kindness week was also observed thanks to fourth grade teacher Valerie Eye’s initiative. “Teachers and students decorated their bulletin boards and really did a good job and made the school look nice,” he commended. Efforts were also made contributing to a fellow student with leukemia as well as gathering items to donate to other children in hospitals. “We are planning an end of the year bash,” Kisamore noted which will include activities like slip and slides and much more. The WVU Mountaineer is visiting DTEMS and TVEMS schools on March 26. The school staff is also engaging in school evaluations as a whole to make the school a better place for everyone involved. The DTEMS PTO has generously offered funding to assist the students in attending field trips by grade this year instead of a school wide trip. “It’s amazing how the community gets behind that school,” he also commended. Luzier chimed in briefly, stating “If you need help, everybody in that school is willing to help. Everyone works as a team to get stuff done,” he elaborated, along with commandment regarding the TVEMS and DTEMS comradery.
Under discussion items was a memo of understanding between Tucker Day Report, a mental and behavioral health services program, and Tucker County Schools. This agenda item was for discussion and not for vote at this time. Luzier was present to elaborate on the request to allow Amy Cummings to continue seeing students within the school system, by request, for counseling similar to what she provided at the St. George Medical Clinic. “We thought it would be a good opportunity for her to be able to continue working with those that she was working with,” he stated. His local board was consulted with permission granted, and now he is bringing this request to the Board of Education. These services would be available at all three schools within the county. Turner questioned, “Will you be billing for these services?” to which Luzier responded with yes, but it would be through their insurance if available, but that is not the biggest concern or goal. “Our biggest thing is there is a shortage of providers in our area for the children and we want to be able to help if we can in any way,” Luzier stated in a personal message. Turner also asked if they were a licensed behavior health center through the state, which Luzier explained they are not and have no intentions with being due to strict regulations, such as a brand new construction to meet code.
The questions continued, “Who grants you the authority to provide behavior health services to patients outside the Community Correction populations,” asked Turner. Luzier stated, “Tucker Day Report is a non-profit, separate from Community Corrections,” he explained. “We have a local board that governs Tucker County Day Report, and that is something that we had discussed and they gave us the OK to see anybody in the surrounding area.” This program got started as a result of multiple suicides in a short period of time in the area and they are aiming to intervene and help those in need to prevent such actions. Malpractice insurance was questioned and Tucker County Day Report offered a copy of their coverage for their records, however schools haven’t been added as of yet, but that will be addressed if an agreement is met. It was also noted this could potentially help the chronic absenteeism whereas students, though excused, are missing a lot of school to attend appointments outside of the parameters of the county. The program does have a contract with psychologists in Morgantown and Martinsburg where if a child is in need of a diagnosis, it can be set up through the Tucker County Tele-Health amenity right in town and can even have medicine prescribed if needed. “It’s really a benefit, I’ve never worked somewhere with something like this,” Cummings stated with examples of wait times being decreased tremendously using the tele-health option. Board Member Cathy Hebb asked how a student gets to utilize these services, and Luzier explained it can be a referral through a staff member or a student seeking help for his or her self. Board Member Jessica Wamsley also added how beneficial programs like this in the school systems are. Superintendent Alicia Lambert added, “It’s a state wide problem it’s not just a Tucker County and that’s why there is such a demand for it.” Discussion continued about the legalities and possibilities of this program and will be further discussed and decided upon.
Moving on to new business, the minutes from the February 18 regular meeting and 25 work session were approved as were the payment of bills. The TVEMS eighth grade field trip to Kennywood Park on May 28 and the DTEMS Kindergarten and first grade field trip to Pittsburgh on May 1 (pending bus and driver availability) were also approved. Make up days for snow days will be as follows: April 15, April 16, May 23, 24, and 28. Lambert is awaiting confirmation from State Superintendent Dr. Paine on how February 19; (work stoppage date) is to be made up, which will be made known as soon as available.
Under personnel, Superintendent Lambert recommended the acceptance of the resignation of Shane Eakle, TCHS chemistry, biology, and general science teacher, along with the retirement of Naomi Moore, custodian, and Billy Nestor, maintenance, all effective June 30, 2019. It was also approved for Austin Zirk to serve as a volunteer TCHS assistant baseball coach, effective March 5, 2019.
Finance and Budget was next on the agenda where Tracy Teets announced Tucker County Schools are officially off the watch list. “It has instilled in me some very good habits,” she stated. “It is a good practice that I will continue,” Teets added. She updated the board on insurance reimbursements received for the TCHS roof repair as a result of damage sustained in a storm. She also reported funding coming in from the National Forest Land took a drastic reduction from around $25,500 to just $495. Teets explained this funding has not been budgeted because it has been said to be ending, but it has always been much appreciated when the checks kept coming twice a year. “It certainly takes away our little safety net,” she added. She also presented the board members with adjustments and projections that will be voted upon at the next meeting. Turner expressed gratitude to Teets for a job well done with keeping the finances in good standings and providing the board with easy to understand notes.
The calendar of events was reviewed before moving to adjournment. The next regular session of the Tucker County Board of Education meeting will be March 18 at 4:30 p.m.