By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The meeting room at the Annex was busier than normal with staff of the Tucker County Schools presenting requested materials to the board members. Board President Tim Turner called the meeting to order followed by The Pledge of Allegiance. There were no citizens input so the meeting began with Amber Kyle, Attendance Director, giving a year end attendance report. The report indicated the final count of students enrolled on the last day was 997, down from the October 1 count of 1013. DTEMS finished with 197, TVEMS 489, and TCHS 311. Kyle broke down the attendance rates and chronic absenteeism (CA) percentages per school as well. DTEMS had a 92.91% attendance rate with 20.51% CA, TVEMS a 92.58% attendance rate with a CA of 22.90%, and TCHS a 91.13% attendance and a 32.26% ca. The county wide attendance rate was 92.16% with a CA of 25.35%.
Kyle reported she had 115 parent/student meetings after they reached five unexcused absences, and nine parents are involved with the magistrate court system due to 10 or more unexcused absences. She provided a rundown of student statistics of those currently residing at Ridgeline and home school students. There were five drop outs, two were from the Ridgeline facility and are 18 years of age, and one was a student who dropped out last year, returned this year and unfortunately did so again. She went even further with her breakdown of statistics by the school grades, attendance rates, and CA levels. Within DTEMS, the fifth grade class only had 8.33% CA, “That’s really low,” she remarked. However, DTEMS second grade had a 38.46% CA level. At TVEMS, the third grade had a CA level of 11.32% but the second grade was at 35.14%. TCHS best attendance was from the seniors with a 26.87% CA and the highest CA level was of the 11 graders at 38.33% with three students involved with truancy in the court system.
“We will be recognizing students with perfect attendance at the next Board meeting, we did have four students in our county with absolute perfect attendance,” she proudly exclaimed. These students will be recognized for their hard work with a few little surprises. She also noted some summer activities such as Energy Express taking place at TCHS June 17 through July 26 for grades 1-6. There is also a technology camp June 4 and 5 at TCHS for teachers, a writing camp June 11 also for teachers, as well as some K-2, Title I, and special education teacher’s trainings in the works.
TCHS Principal Stephen Cosner also presented the board with a draft of the proposed student handbook that has gone under a major revision. “This is a teacher student effort,” he reported with issues addressed including attendance, parking, student drivers, dress code, and eventually the board developed cell phone policy. “Thank you for all that work,” board member Cathy Hebb extended to Cosner as she glanced through the document. The board will review these revisions to provide feedback at a later meeting. Board member Jessica Wamsley also expressed concern the rules and consequences are consistent and apply to everyone in the same manner. Superintendent Alicia Lambert reiterated Wamsley’s concern and comment saying privileges need revoked upon abuse.
Teresa Brusak, TVEMS Principal, provided a print out showing the state standardized testing scores and those of TVEMS. Incoming Principal Kelly Thompson informed how the teachers would be coming together over the summer to review the vision plan and mission statement as well as make preparations for the next year. The board asked how the moves were going with the incoming construction and relocation of the pre-k, which Brusak responded it was going well so far and work is continuing daily.
This moved the meeting into new business to approve former meeting minutes with one error noted by board member Chris Gross. Payment of bills was reviewed as well as out of state travel requests and the use of transportation by WV Mountain Trail Runners for June 8, 2019. All was approved unanimously.
Under additional business, the superintendent recommended the following for employment: Tracy Harlan as first grade teacher at TVEMS, Ernest Gooding as Assistant Principal at TVEMS, Christine O’Brien as elementary teacher at DTEMS, and Teresa Betler as 7 and 8 grade English and language arts teacher at TVEMS, all pending necessary background checks and certifications to take effect August 14. Board members Hebb, Gross, Wamsley, and Evans were in favor with Turner opposed, motion carried. It was also agreed to change the effective start date of Kelly Thompson as Principal at TVEMS from July 3 to July 1, 2019. It was also recommended to employ Christine Ward as Special Education teacher for the summer of 2019 and Nathaniel Goldstein as Assistant Boys Basketball Coach at TCHS. The Superintendent was also authorized to accept resignations post positions, and hire employees pending board approval.
Finance Director Tracy Teets presented the 2019-2020 proposed budget for approval. Teets also noted the state requested she include $298,000 to cover funds utilized for pay raises for all school employees except the Superintendent. Discussion commenced regarding the agreement between the education system and the windmills which is going to be revisited and re-negotiated in the near future.
The agreement between Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College for the Fall 2019 courses was reviewed and approved as well as an agreement with WVU for a Teachers in Residence agreement. At the conclusion of this discussion, an executive session commenced for two hours. Upon returning to open session, no decisions had been made.
The calendar of events were reviewed noting there will only be one meeting in June which is on the 17 at 4:30 p.m. The July meetings will commence on June 8 and 22, also at 4:30 p.m. August 14 as the first day of school for staff with grades 1-12 beginning on August 20. There will be a Kindergarten Open House on August 23 with their first day being August 26. The preschool students will report for their first day on September 3, 2019.