Energy Express Shares Experience with Board Members

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By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

            The Tucker County Board of Education meeting room was full with familiar faces of local college students who have dedicated their summer to others and education.  Energy Express is a summer reading program supervised by TVEMS teacher Christine Ward and facilitated by these students.  The group came to thank the board for funding this summer program and present them with a collage of some of their highlights.  The board smiled as the collage was passed around for all to see as they thanked each and every one for their involvement and discussed some of their favorite encounters.  Ward informed they averaged between 40 and 45 daily students with 56 on their roster (lower daily attendance due to camps and vacations).  For everybody sitting there, let me thank you for wanting to give back to your community,” remarked board member Cathy Hebb.

The mentors introduced themselves, their collage they are attending, and their majors which included the following:  Makayla Long, West Virginia Wesleyan majoring in Nursing, Abigail Long, serving as the Community Coordinator for Energy Express, attends Shepherd University studying Business Marketing, Natalie Evans, Fairmont State University majoring in Elementary Education, Elizabeth Nichols goes to West Virginia Wesleyan in Nursing, Leah Underwood is transferring from WVU to Davis and Elkins College studying Elementary Education, Kenzie Kyle attends West Liberty in Elementary Education, and finally Justin Fike who also attends West Liberty, studying Sports Management and Marketing.

Ward noted how it’s not only educationally beneficial to those attending the program, but it’s exposing these youth to role models who have decided to do well with their education and continue onto college.  Hopefully this is an experience these youth will remember and reflect on when making decisions for their educational future.  Ward continued to comment how wonderful the cook, custodian, and bus drivers have been and how instrumental they were in the success of the program.  “We have been very blessed,” she concluded.

Once the guests dispersed, the meeting went into discussion items where Board President Tim Turner informed the members a draft of the personal communications device (PCD) disciplinary form has been distributed for review and could be on the next agenda for approval.  Moving into new business, the following consent agenda items were approved:  July 8 minutes, payment of bills, all student transfer requests, acknowledgement of notification of intent to home school, use of transportation, and TCHS senior job shadow sites.

Under additional business, it was mentioned the first reading of the Tucker County Board of Education Policy Manual that Superintendent Alicia Lambert has been working on updating and revising to meet the county’s needs has been sent to all members.  Lambert also recommended the approval of the following: resignation of Donna Akins as special education teacher itinerant at TVEMS effective July 17, employment of Rose Freeman as substitute custodian pending background check, the hiring of Courtney Nestor as track coach at TVEMS, and approval of Crystal Hudson as volunteer TCHS volleyball coach pending certification and background check, all of which were approved.  She also recommended the following substitute rehires for the 2019 school year:  Charles Lloyd, Joseph Michael, Phyllis Turner, Bruce Wilson, Bonnie Swyter, Ruth Cooper, Cynthia Joseph, David Helmick, Deborah Chapman, David Kyle, Donald Knotts, Alison DeLeurere, Delbert Pennington, Dustin Luzier, Karen Linton, Kathy DiBacco, Kathy McCune, Lori Mullenax, Steven Hull, Thomas Gutshall, Patricia Thompson, and Cynthia Goughnour.  It was also recommended to approve Idella Scott, Paula Harsh, Evelyn Cassidy, Kelly Helmick, and Jamie Nestor as secretary substitutes; Aggie Arnold, Jenny Lipscomb, Kimberly Metz, Mary Ellen Brown, Debra Thompson, and Tammy Knotts as substitute cooks; and Paula Harsh, Jamie Nestor, Jenny Lipscomb, Kimberly Metz, Mary Ellen Brown, Wendy Gidley, and Kayla DiBartolomeo as substitute aides.  All of these were also approved.

Moving into the topic of finance and budget, there were no statements to review though there was a brief presentation by Jonathan Hicks, Food Service Director.  He presented the board with the option to approve TCHS as a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school, along with TVEMS and DTEMS who are already enrolled in the program.  This program offers free lunches to students, which provided an increase in lunches eaten by students.  This was especially noticeable at TVEMS.  The goal for the program is to do the same at TCHS and encourage these students to make healthy choices and eat lunch.  Hicks explained the finances behind the program and commented the needed increase of those eating would need to be around 17%, or around 50 students.  “A lot of the issue is high school kids are very different, with cell phones now a days they have the opportunity during lunch to be on their cell phones,” he explained which prevents participation of lunch.  He noted other ideas are being considered such as more options on the menu to assist in the situation.  Hicks commented Tucker County Schools currently has around $36,000 in unpaid lunch bill debt as well, as he concluded and left the decision up to the board.  Hebb made the motion to make TCHS a CEP school with board member Chris Gross seconding the motion and all in agreement.

Brief discussion commenced about what changes House Bill 206 is bringing to the school system may warrant a work session to clarify these changes.  Lambert has also developed a list of 2019-2020 school year goals that has been sent to all board members and a work session has been scheduled for Monday, July 29 to discuss these goals.  It was also mentioned that, though it didn’t make the agenda in time for this meeting, the TCHS Guidance Counselor has submitted his intent to resign and the posting will be listed immediately.

Before adjourning, a calendar of events was reviewed which included: regular board meetings at 4:30 on August 5, August 19, September 3, and September 16, first day for school staff August 14, open house for grades first through twelfth August 19 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., first day for students for grades first through twelfth August 20, kindergarten open house August 23 (times to be scheduled) , first day for kindergarten August 26, and small groups for preschoolers will be August 28 and 29 (pending the teacher), with first day being September 3.