Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

Board of Ed hears updates

The most recent regular meeting of the Braxton County Board of Education was held on November 28.

The meeting opened with a presentation from Sutton Elementary School. Susan Schiefer, Community In Schools Coordinator for SES, spoke first. She had recently returned from a CIS Conference in Charleston where it was announced that the nationwide CIS program has officially granted a license to the WV Department of Education and the state is the first in the nation to receive this licensing.

SES Principal Flora Cox started her update by recognizing staff for the success of the school. The school has been ranked as 64 out of 368 elementary schools in the state. The theme this year is “Greatness Happens Here” and that is what the staff and students are working towards. The goals for the school include decreasing absenteeism, increasing ELA and math scores, and having more parental engagement activities.

Superintendent Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick updated the board briefly. She stated she was still working on facilities and visiting the schools. She is pleased with the engagement she has seen with the staff and their students. Dr. Burge-Tetrick also noted several teachers have been observing at Sutton Elementary to get ideas for use in their classrooms.

Dr. Leatha Williams, Technology Director, presented the board with an update on safety and security. Over $400,000 has been spent so far updating the cabling, access, and cameras throughout the county’s schools. She demonstrated the camera systems at various schools for board members to see the ease of access for staff and the clarity of the cameras. 

Next to speak to board members was Head Start Director Christina Bailey. Once a year she must perform a Head Start Orientation to all the board members. She gave a quick overview of the program to the board. The county has eight head start classrooms, one at each elementary school with two in Sutton and Flatwoods. Currently 111 students are enrolled in the program. 

Superintendent Dr. Burge-Tetrick informed the board that a generous anonymous donor had agreed to donate $25,000 towards the purchase of a food truck to be used at the high school as part of the new tourism/hospitality CTE program. She requested permission from board members to travel with BCHS Principal Lori Stover-Williams, and CTE instructor Amanda Gum as well as students in the program, to visit the Ohio Custom Food Truck Company November 30 to design a food truck to be purchased with that donation. The company has also offered to add an additional $10,000 to the donation. Her request was approved on a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal. 

She also asked the board to approve increasing the BCHS gymnasium renovation allotment for up to an additional $50,000. Changes need to be made to the plan for the floor replacement for the safety of the players and students. The wood floor will need to go from wall to wall instead of going from a wood floor to concrete with a metal strip at the transition. 

In regular action, the following consent agenda items were approved by the board on a motion by Larry Hardway: minutes of the November 7 regular meeting; budget transfers and supplements; treasurer’s report; and payment of bills.

Before acting on personnel items, the board went into executive session from 6:23 pm to 6:33 pm. Upon reconvening, the board ratified the unpaid suspension of Robin James pending outcome of criminal investigation on a motion by Kevin Gregory. 

On a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal, the following personnel recommendations were approved by the board: resignation for Stephen Parker and Joseph Cowling, substitute teachers, Lisa Payne, substitute cook, Richard King, mechanic/bus operator, and Addison Woods, technology coordinator, Frametown;  and employment of Nancy Long, PE teacher, Little Birch, substitute teachers-Taylor Spence, Kaaleigh McLaughlin, Michael Jackson, Quincy Potasnik, and Aspen Handy, Nolan Freeman, custodian, BCHS, Jessica Squires, secretary II, Flatwoods, Terri Tyo, substitute secretary, Nicole Brooks, special education supervisory/instructional/transportation aide, from Flatwoods to Davis, Lisa Chenoweth, half time cook, Little Birch, Wesley Spence, baseball coach, BCMS, Kaleb Davis, assistant wrestling coach, BCMS, Tyler Cunningham, esports coach, BCHS and special education mentor teachers-Megan Facemire and Katrina Dennison.

Other action approved by the board on separate motions included approval for Corrine Lynch, Jessica Porto, and Patricia Nicholas to attend the Head Start Health and Safety Institute January 29-February 2 in Charleston, SC to be paid for with Head Start funds, approval for enrollment of student E.B. in Burnsville from another county, approval to post and hire up to five special education teacher mentors for long term substitute teachers to be paid for with Step 7d funds, approval to implement an esports program and to post and hire one esports coach at BCMS, approval of the MOU with TL Consulting for Professional Development and Mentorship for CTE staff, and approval of the MOU with Inspiring Dreams Network for Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences and School Bullying Prevention at BCMS and any other school(s) selected.

The board approved to award the base bid and alternate bids #1 and #2 from Nitro Construction Services in the amount of $630,964 for replacement of the HVAC rooftop units for BCHS on a motion by Larry Hardway. The funding is part of the ESSER funds released during the pandemic. Hardway also discussed the need to get the bids for the roof replacement so that the project can be done at the same time when the crane is already been leased and in place.

The board placed Policy 2403 Third Grade Success out for public comment after the first reading. The policy is based on the template released by the WVDE and is a required policy for the literacy program.

Policy 1651 Non-Traditional Instructional Days, Policy 3210 Substitute Professionals in Areas of Critical Need and Shortage, and Policy 3211 Critical Need and Shortage: Substitute Bus Operators moved on from the second reading with no comments to be approved at the next meeting.

On a motion by Kevin Gregory, the board approved the third and final reading of Policy 4201 Student Freedom of Expression. The only comment on the policy was from a teacher concerning media advisors at schools. According to Melissa Adkins, Director of Legal Services, that information has been clarified.

The meeting ended with a few remarks from board members. Lisa Ratliff reminded individuals of the upcoming bingo games for Sutton and Frametown. Dr. Kenna Seal stated it was good to have the school updates given at each meeting. Larry Hardway noted a lot was accomplished during the meeting and he feels the school system is going in the right direction.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:52 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for December 5 at 6:00 pm.