by Kate Evans
The Morgan County Schools strategic planning committee heard updates on the alternative school, Communities in Schools funding, the Virtual Academy and other programs and issues, according to their meeting minutes.
Berkeley Springs High School Principal Mitch Nida reported that 61 total high school alternative school classes were completed, which gave each student an average of two classes. All students are on track and the incentives the school is providing are working well.
Communities in Schools
Communities in Schools funding has changed from ESSER/GEER (Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund/Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund) funding to state funding. Funding will continue for this year and next year with the total grant amount decreasing each year.
A long-term substitute Communities in Schools student success liaison was hired at Warm Springs Intermediate School for the rest of the school year.
The Morgan County Schools Virtual Academy has 28 students enrolled. Berkeley Springs High School has 12 students, Warm Springs Middle School-seven and Warm Springs Intermediate School-six virtual students. Widmyer Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary and Paw Paw Schools each have one virtual academy student.
Tina Cannon, Federal Programs and Grant Administration Coordinator, reported on the SOAR team, phonics programs and reading interventions.
Teachers will be trained with materials and plans provided by the state to teach the fundamentals of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension along with writing.
Secondary Education Director Beth Golden said that she and Berkeley Springs High School counselor Candice Pennington were meeting with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College representatives to discuss the 2024-2025 courses for the Scholars, Jump Start and Grow Your Own programs.
Tutors & needs
All Gamechanger coaches are in place and are working on data collection and initial program implementation. Paper online tutoring is now fully implemented. Teachers and students continue to be trained on its use. Parents can access the program 24/7 to help their children with homework.
It was noted that early elementary grades are seeing increased extreme behaviors in students. A need was expressed for a general education teacher/behavior specialist from county funding for the 2024-2025 school year.
The strategic planning committee also discussed October enrollment numbers, December personnel planning meetings with schools along with the audit for the Federal Programs, ESSERF and ARP funding. (Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund/American Rescue Plan).
Another topic of discussion was expressed interest in approaching Hampshire County regarding the possibility of Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings for Paw Paw High School students.
Cannon reported on the coaching in the elementary schools. The coach is visiting classrooms and meeting with individual teachers and grade level teams. She is teaching how to use the program in small groups and how to use iReady benchmark assessment results for student interventions.
Teachers have asked for more coaching in the spring.
Elementary academic coach Summer McClintock shared her most recent teacher newsletters with the committee along with the support she’s been providing for elementary academic coaches.
Secondary/technology coach Robert Dugan provided a video for the committee on his support of the Paper online tutoring implementation. He showed how to use Paper and discussed its benefits.
Dugan has also been emailing lesson ideas and teaching strategies to teachers weekly and is creating a new Schoology course for teachers that includes his lessons.
Dugan and School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle discussed the professional development and coaching for teachers that Weston Kieshnick will provide throughout the spring. Morgan County Schools bought his Pocket PD which offers many high effect size instructional strategies.
Pleasant View Elementary is doing virtual training on problem-solving with instructional coach John SanGiovanni after data showed a weakness in math problem-solving skills after the school’s virtual trainings on number routines last year.
SanGiovanni sent recordings to other schools that wanted to learn about number routines and also recorded a video about number sense for Paw Paw Schools.
Personnel planning meetings for instructional support were beginning in December, along with meetings about textbook adoption.