At the Sept. 16 Tyler County Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Curriculum Director Susan Boyles was present to discuss steps toward undertaking the Next Generation Content Standards (Next Gen.). According to Boyles, Next Gen. is an educational standard based on Common Core and derived by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE).
"What the state's looking at is a way that we can present information to students so that, if they go from one state to another, the situation is pretty much the same," said Boyles.
After presenting the board with information she had compiled, Boyles navigated the WVDE's website (wvde.state.wv.us/next-generation) in order to explain the new standards. Information found on the site includes curriculums, content standards, instructional plans, and strategies for all grade levels. She went on to describe the Common Core standards in English, Math, and Social Studies.
When Board Member P.J. Wells mentioned the possible confusion these standards may cause for those who are used to old methods, Boyles said that understanding it may take some time and explanation. She also stated that the full implementation of Next Gen. will be a slow process that takes years.
"How's this different from what we've been doing?" asked BOE President Linda Hoover.
"It's more focused," said Boyles. "It's not as open ended. It tells you exactly what they want you to be able to do."
She also stated that, with Next Gen., teachers will be able to see what students have already covered.
"If we cover what we're supposed to cover, we can move ahead," she said.
Boyles said that, over the summer, teachers in certain grade levels participated in a three-day training on how to use the new material.
"We had eight of our own teachers on that team," she said. "They were asked to be presenters. They did a really nice job, but we need to have a lot more training. It's not just something you can step into."
One Tyler County teacher who is a trainer for Next Gen. is Judi Hamrick, who teaches Gifted Education and Title I Math. Hamrick said that rather than going through a textbook chapter by chapter, the program emphasizes more reasoning skills and focuses less on memorization.
In related news, the group called Constitutional Advocates, which appeared at the last regular meeting and asked to be placed on the Sept. 30 agenda to further discuss issues they have with Common Core, will instead be placed on the Oct. 7 or Oct. 21 agenda. BOE President Hoover said that Superintendent Robin Daquilante will not be at the Sept. 30 meeting, and she would like her to be there to answer any questions the Constitutional Advocates may have.
Under financial reports, Treasurer Jeff Davis shared figures on the Committed Fund Balance and the Annual Financial Statement for Tyler County Schools.
"We're $1.66 million in the black," he said. "But the board has committed $1.5 million of it."
Davis clarified that, although there are necessary commitments, the board has discretion over those funds at any time.
Personnel Director Duane Dober welcomed two new employees to Tyler County Schools.
Abram "Brice" Negie is the new music teacher at Tyler Consolidated Middle and High schools. A graduate of TCHS and West Liberty University, he is filling the position of his recently retired mother, Clara Negie.
"We are happy to know that the students she (Clara) cares so deeply for are now in the very capable hands of the next generation," said Dober.
Amanda Spencer, who has been acting as a substitute bus driver for the past two years, is now entering a full-time position driving Bus #14. She is also a graduate of TCHS.
"We're glad to have you aboard," said Dober.
After reviewing the Monthly Attendance Report by Attendance Director Melinda Walton, the board noted that attendance and enrollment were down. However, they cited the importance of enrollment numbers in early October, because those numbers are used to determine funding per child for the rest of the school year.
Under personnel requests, the board approved the week of Sept. 30 through Oct. 4 as professional leave for Superintendent Daquilante, who will use that time to attend the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendents' Summit in Naples, Fla. All expenses, including travel, will be paid for by the institute.
Under resignations, Joe Semple stepped down from his duties as an After School Activities Supervisor. Personnel Director Dober stated that, rather than immediately filling the role, other supervisors will be taking over additional responsibilities.
Approved transfers and employments included: Judy Thoburn from Special Education Teacher at A.I. Boreman to Third Grade Teacher at A.I. Boreman, effective Sept. 17; Stefanie Suter as First Grade Teacher at A.I. Boreman, effective Sept. 17; Robert Schupbach as Fourth Grade Teacher at A.I. Boreman, effective Sept. 17; Allyson Bree Lough as Countywide Substitute Teacher, effective Sept. 17; Molly Dennison as Countywide Substitute Teacher, effective Sept. 17; Claudia Philp as Countywide Substitute Teacher, effective Sept. 17; and Rebecca Burnside as Countywide Substitute Cook for the 2013-14 school year.
The board approved: a request from Jill Ash for Girl Scout Daisy Troop #1040 to use the SES cafeteria and gym for their monthly after school meetings; a request from A.I. Boreman Music Specialist Matthew Jennings to have Daphne Nash, Kelly Cecil, Tammy Conrad, Brian Ebert, Amanda Ebert, Kelly Fletcher, Kandace Glasscock, Tarina Morris, Kelly Smith, Tara Templeton, and Tammy Shepherd serve as 2013-14 chaperones for the Bobcat Choir; a request from Tyler FFA Advisor Leon Ammons to have Steve McAnarney, Eugene Friend, James Crumrine, Howard Flesher, Harry Huff, Nick Cox, Annie Hall, Scott Ash, Samantha Richardson, Casey Miner, Dawn Flesher, Charlene VanCamp, Donnie Seckman, Deanna Ammons, Jennifer Kile, Mike Wells, Shannon Boswell, and Lucy Greathouse serve as chaperones for the 2013-14 school year.
They also approved multiple trip requests for Ammons and FFA participants, as well as a trip request by SES Principal Krista DeVaughn, to take the student body, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, to the Middle Island Harvest Festival at the Tyler County Fairgrounds on Oct. 4; buses will be provided for transportation.
Other approved items included: minutes of the Sept. 3 regular meeting and the payment of bills.
The next regular meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Tyler County BOE Office located at TCHS.