By Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
As the school year ends, the Tucker County Board of Education is still working hard to ensure the teaching and administrative staff are doing what is necessary for the success of the students. Principal Kelly Thompson and Assistant Principal Cynthia Shaffer of TVEMS, Principal Steelie Kisamore of DTEMS, and Principal Alex Cork of TCHS all presented the board members their end of the year findings and strategic plans for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
Thompson explained that there were some serious “Coming to Jesus” moments with students and staff this year because they were in mode of COVID. Thompson said, “We have to get that COVID off now and start remembering things that we did prior to COVID that we forgot until recently when we were going over things.”
One of the main goals TVEMS have set to have at least 10 activities that will include the involvement of parents and the community. Mindy Parsons, representative for TVEMS LSIC, reported that the main thing parents say they have missed because of COVID was the interaction in events involving the students. Parsons said, “They feel disconnected from the school.” Another goal is to have 10 events for the staff and 10 for the students that will promote social emotional growth and development.
Parsons addressed the board as a parent and said, “I know it has been really stressful for kids and parents alike these last few years. Going into this past school year I know a lot of us were not sure what to expect. I know as a parent of a student in the school system, I have a lot of concerns about catching up and what may have been missed over the last few years because of the way things have been. I really want to commend the staff and teachers at Tucker Valley because I can honestly say I saw so much effort and so much going in trying to get these kids back on track.”
Kisamore has plans to address attendance at DTEMS. Attendance is lower than it has been in the past. Kisamore would like to have a Back-to-School night to get parents back involved in the school, and a Data night to inform parents how the students’ data is used to improve the students’ education.
Kisamore would like to educate the students and parents the procedures and process of the schools during the Data night. Kisamore said, “We have kind of forgotten about that the last two or three years. We take for granted that a parent knows what avenue to go to when they have a problem with a teacher.”
Kisamore plans to continue to utilize the skills period. The skills period happens right after recess and lunch. The 30 minutes long period is designed to give students extra time and help in areas of need. Two days a week will be used for I-Ready and two days a week for specific skills. The goal is to have an advisory season before hand with the students and talk to them about what their data is saying and where they can improve. Training the staff to monitor this data and utilize for the students is a major goal.
One way that Kisamore is hoping to raise attendance at DTEMS will also be looking into getting clubs on Fridays. Kisamore wants to incentivize the students to come to school, do well in school and be rewarded.
Board member Cathy Hebb thanked Kisamore and his staff for all their hard work.
Cork expressed to the board members that numbers for the SAT test scores were not where he would like them to be at this time. Cork explained the national scores were down 39 percent and TCHS was down more than some counties but was not down as much as the national average. Cork said, “We will take it, but it is not where we want to be, it is not where we need to be.”
Cork strategic plans include the possibility of implementing a PSAT test for all grades in the high school. This test will enable the administrative and teaching staff to compare data for the students. The test will give them a base line for the students’ data to compare each year to help students in the areas they need it instead of waiting until Senior year and after taking the SAT realizing students needed help in certain areas.
As an incentive to perform well on the test, Cork and his staff placed a banner in the school with student’s name on it that match the national standard SAT test scores in math and reading. This year there were eight students that met the requirement, which is three more than last year. There were 19 (potentially two more making it 21) students that met the English national standard and will be added to the banner as well.
Cork’s goal is reaching every student and addressing data with them, and by so educating the students and the staff of where extra work is needed. Cork’s motto is to “Own it!” and wants students as well as staff to own where they are at and then build on it.
In other board business Scott Lycliter was appointed Supervisor of General Maintenance, Electrician II, and HV AC Mechanic II for the Tucker County schools effective July 1, 2022. The board also elected to approve the authorization for the Superintendent (Alicia Lambert) to accept resignations, post positions, and hire employees effective June 7 through the end of day on September 2, 2022.
The next regular meeting of the Tucker County Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, beginning at 4:30 p.m., at the Tucker County Board of Education Office, 100 Education Lane, Parsons, WV 26287.