School News

Ann Bell rehired as School Treasurer; attendance, policies considered

by Kate Evans

The Morgan County School Board appointed Ann Bell as School Treasurer for the Fiscal Year 2025 at their April 16 meeting, according to West Virginia Code and Morgan County School Board policy.  Bell has been School Treasurer and Chief School Business Official since July 1, 2014.  The board votes on her appointment as treasurer annually.

Attendance update

In other business, Assistant Superintendent Jeromy Duelley gave a presentation on the third 9-week attendance data.  He said that attendance numbers have improved. Morgan County’s chronic absenteeism rate was currently at 22.8%, down from 30.4% from last year at this time.

He noted that there had been a lot of illness at Widmyer Elementary, who had the highest third quarter chronic absenteeism rate this year. (32.4%)

\However Widmyer’s chronic absenteeism rate along with the  rates of almost every other county school had decreased from last year.  Paw Paw Elementary’s chronic absenteeism rate increased very slightly.

Some 368 county students had perfect attendance in the third quarter,  682 had outstanding attendance (0.5 to 2.0 absences) and 559 students had faithful attendance (2.5 to 4.5 absences), Duelley said.

Schools continue to contact parents with three-day absence phone calls, five-day letters, do parent meetings and hold Student Assistance Team (SAT) meetings with attendance included.  The county chronic absenteeism goal is to get it under 20%.  Duelley felt it would decrease in the fourth quarter.

iReady presentation

Steve McBride, iReady presenter, next discussed how the iReady program works.  iReady is an online program for reading and math.  It helps teachers determine students’ academic needs, personalize their learning and monitor their progress through diagnostic assessments and personalized instruction.  Students have individualized lessons that are based on their skill levels.

McBride said iReady was like a practice test for the West Virginia General Summative Assessment.  It’s being used as a benchmark assessment for beginning of the year, mid-year and end-of-the-year testing.

McBride said that Morgan County Schools has wonderful iReady data.  It shows the hard work of teachers, administrators and the central office.

Policy updates

The school board held a first reading of a number of policies at their April 16 meeting.

Policies were Evaluation of School Leaders, Weapons (1617 and 5772), Required Instruction (rescinded), Required Courses of Instruction, Drug Prevention and Violence Reduction Education Program, Employment of Personnel for Extra-Curricular Activities (3120.08 and 4120.08) and Drug-Free Workplace (3122.01 and 4122.01).

Additional policies were Grievance Procedure (3340 and 4430), Administration of Opioid Antagonists, Facilities Planning, Video Surveillance and Monitoring, Property Inventory, Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Instruction. (rescinded)   The first reading policies will be placed online on the county school website for public comment for 30 days.

The board held a second reading and adoption of Policy 2340-Field (Co-Curricular) and other (Extracurricular)  County-Sponsored Trips. (County change)

There were no public comments received on the policy.

Step 7 monies

The school board approved the continued use of Step 7 funding for the employment of personnel at their April 16 meeting. The total amount approved then for the employment of personnel was $159,444.

Some $97,764 of the Step 7 monies will fund a full-time county technology systems specialist position. $61,680 will be spent on a .75 county technology coach. The salary amounts include benefits.


   School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said that they purchased a 2015 mobile learning lab for $14,000 with money that the board allotted for the purchase at their previous meeting.

Tuttle said in instructional empowerment meetings with the high school and middle school staff that they discussed how to get secondary learners excited about learning without rewards and incentives.

At their March 19 meeting, board member John Rowland said that Warm Springs Intermediate School was the only school that had their honor roll in the Morgan Messenger. He encouraged all the schools to publish their honor rolls.

In public comment Chuck Bergen said that the Mountain Movers program has been well-received.  It is a program to encourage positive male mentoring.


The board approved registration for board members John Rowland and Justin Litten to attend the May 9 West Virginia School Board Association regional meeting at the South Branch Inn in Romney.

The school board approved payment of $3,222 to the West Virginia School Board Association for Fiscal Year 2005 membership dues.

Board member John Rowland spoke of Mike Crawford, who just passed away. Rowland said that Crawford was a real icon in the community and a Renaissance man.  He played guitar and mandolin, was a really good horseman and was a surveyor with Berkeley Land Surveys.

Mike Crawford was the husband of Linda Crawford, former Greenwood Elementary secretary when Rowland was principal there.  She was also a Berkeley Springs High School secretary before she retired.  Rowland said Mike Crawford will be very missed.