Board of Ed hears from Burnsville, Little Birch Schools

The Braxton County Board of Education held their most recent meeting on February 1. The meeting was called to order by Board President DeAnna Whipkey at 6:00 pm.
Two of the county’s elementary school, Burnsville and Little Birch, completed their LSIC (Local School Improvement Council) presentations. Both schools identified improving attendance, reading scores, and math scores as critical needs for the schools. The schools have a goal of having 90% of the students in the classroom 90% of the time. Both also have implemented after school tutoring to work on improving reading and math scores.
Burnsville Principal Teresa Childers and fourth grade teacher Jessica Vandernick spoke on behalf of their school. At BES, the attendance as of January 2022 is up to 90.41% with 35.71% chronically absent, which is defined as two or more days per month. Reading and math goals include getting the number of students to 50% on grade level measured by the iReady Benchmarks. At Burnsville, reading proficiency is up to 26% from 14% at the beginning of the school year. In math, the scores have increased from 3% to 19%. Burnsville’s mission statement is to create lifelong learners. The staff wants students to become self-motivated in gaining knowledge.
For Little Birch Elementary, Principal Grace Wines and fourth grade teacher Nikki Harper spoke to the board. Their school set a goal of increasing reading and math scores by 25 points. The goal of 25 points is already being met in both subjects. Currently 67% of the students have improved by 25+ points in reading and 44% have improved 25+ in math. Reading scores have increased from 9% to 36% on grade level. The math scores have went up as well from 3% to 24% now on grade level. Harper noted that those students who had met their goals were now setting new goals to work towards by the end of the school year. At Little Birch, only 17.5% of the students are considered chronically absent.
Both schools discussed community and parent involvement. The schools thanked the community businesses that provide financial support and supplies as well as gifts and prizes for students.
Evelyn Post thanked Principal Wines for her public relations work in getting information out in the newspapers so students could be recognized outside of the school. She noted a lot of grandparents are not on the computer and that gives them the chance to see what is going on at Little Birch.
Board member Dr. Martha Dean commented on the students surpassing goals at Little Birch and implementing new goals to work towards is commendable.
Dr. Kenna Seal asked about the timing of the summative assessment and the benchmark testing and if it would match up to the growth goals. Director Linda Sears stated the summative assessment will be the first week of May and the benchmark testing will be afterwards. She noted that typically the iReady testing does not match up to the summative assessment. She went on and commended Principal Wines at Little Birch as a first year principal. She felt there would be a large jump in testing scores in both summative assessment and the benchmark testing.
Superintendent Kathy Hypes discussed the recent county Spelling Bee. She recognized winners in fourth thru eighth grades. For fourth grade first place went to Leah Rader, Davis and second place was Emma Liston, Sutton. The fifth grade winner was Quinn Lemon, Flatwoods and second place was Ira Ransbottom, Sutton. For sixth grade, Natalie Garrett placed first and Liam Harman was second. In the seventh grade, first place went to Bern Davis and second place went to Savannah Singleton. The eight grade winner was James Johnson and second place was Joel Sigman. For the county, Joel Sigman placed first, James Johnson was second, and Savannah Singleton was third.
Superintendent Hypes provided an update on covid guidance since things have changed again since the last meeting. She noted the “test to stay” plan will no longer be needed. The state issued the guidance that if a county has a universal masking policy, contract tracing will no longer be in effect.
The school screening program previous discussed will still be put in place to allow for the “test to play” program. Testing kits will be coming in and nurses will be trained in the administration of the testing. Dr. Seal asked what test will be accepted. Superintendent Hypes stated that the tests performed by the schools, rapid tests, or home tests will all be accepted to allow students to participate in extra-curricular activities.
She ended her update discussing the upcoming “Portrait of a Graduate” program on February 8 at 6:00 pm at Flatwoods Community Building. “Portrait of a Graduate” is a new program for working collaboratively with the school system and the community in building the educational system to prepare students to become lifelong learners and contributing members of society.
The board approved the following consent agenda items: approval of January 18 meeting minutes; transportation requests; payment of bills; budget transfers and supplements; and treasurer’s report. Evelyn Post questioned the purchase of a smart TV. She was informed the TV was for the CTE Tech room at the middle school and was purchased out of CTE funds. Post went on to ask about the transfer of $5000 to BCMS and $10,000 to BCHS athletic programs. Superintendent Hypes stated those transfers were for supplies and the armory rental for the high school basketball game. Post asked if new wrestling mats were included in those funds. Superintendent Hypes stated it was not but she had a meeting scheduled with Finance Director Ginger Altizer and BCHS wrestling coach Sterling Beane for the following day to discuss the purchase of new mats.
The following professional, service and extra-curricular recommendations were approved by the board: employment of Cody Dobbins, substitute teacher, Charles McCumbers, substitute bus operator, Jeremy Cantrell, bus operator, bus #41A, and James Huffman, special education supervisory/instructional/transportation aide (itinerant), Sutton; resignations for Catricia Martin, other employment, teacher, BCHS, Martha Wine, substitute teacher, Kelly Morrison, other employment, executive secretary, special education/preschool/head start, and Larry Blake Baldwin, baseball coach, BCMS; and leave of absence for Patrick Facemire, extended unpaid medical leave, teacher, BCMS.
Fundraisers were approved as presented.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:22 pm. The next regular meeting is scheduled for February 15 at 6:00 pm. As always, members of the Braxton County community are encouraged to attend regular board meetings. Anyone wishing to speak as a delegate or with public concerns may do so by signing in up to 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.