BOE Mulls Social Worker Position
The Tyler County Board of Education meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7. After getting approval of the minutes from the Dec. 3 meeting, the board moved on to the first order of business, which was presented by Melinda Walton and Cami Williamson. The topic of discussion was the new social worker position in Tyler County Schools and the effect it was having on students. Williamson, a licensed social worker with 20 of experience, has been filling this position with overwhelmingly positive results. Although she isn’t able to occupy a full-time position due to funds, Williamson has been faithful to her job and has accomplished much. It was reported she was able to assist in the process to get a family running water, and she helped two other families obtain indoor heat.
To do these things, Williamson was required to reach out to different organizations and link the resources to the people in need. It was said that having a social worker is important for this reason: to be able to link families to the required services in order for the student to achieve. Both Walton and Williamson are of the belief that this position fills a need where someone is required to delve deeper into particular issues than counselors can. While it was acknowledged that the counselors for the Tyler County schools are exceeding all expectations, they still maintain that the position of a social worker is beneficial to students as they can go beyond where others are required to stop. Williamson is able to form relationships with students that foster improvement, and she is also able to watch attendance and discipline records in order to fix it.
Her position allows her to go into homes and assess the needs of students and families as to better help, and she is in direct contact with parents and guardians. All of this stems from the belief that student’s school lives reflect their home lives.
“We don’t have problems with our students; we have problems with what’s going on in the homes of the students. We need to help these students by digging a little deeper,” Walton explained. With a position such as this, it is an anticipation for needs to be met in the community for the benefit of students. Williamson described the position as continuously working to solve issues as opposed to putting a “band-aid” on it. Superintendent Robin Daquilante added that solving issues in the home will have a positive effect on school life as it helps children want to go to school.
Walton says the bottom line is that they are in desperate need of social workers, and stated that it is her opinion that they have a social worker for the elementary school and one for the middle and high school.
The next order of business was the Superintendent’s Report. Daquilante began with an update on the football field. She reported that they had hired Rob Haught to conduct a survey and has yet to receive it. Daquilante also told board members that she received an email from Shawnray Huffman, outlining Antero’s requests in regards to their grant proposal. In the outline it states that all requests must be met by Feb. 1, 2019, and although another meeting has yet to be held on this subject, the superintendent does not believe the requirements would be met. Daquilante said that the company wants a firm commitment to a budget while the project proceeds, but because of a need to fix drainage issues and work on the baseball and softball fields, they aren’t able to do that at this time. It was determined another meeting will be held to discuss this topic.
In regards to the upcoming Board Retreat, Daquilante provided members with a sample agenda and expressed that they would have two hours of training at the conclusion of the meeting. It was said that the retreat will be run like a regular board meeting, and she gave each member a chance to request items to be discussed during that time. One board member questioned how it’s decided who gets stipends in relation to co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. It was decided that Tricia Feldmeier, Director of Personnel, would bring a list of this for them to look over and discuss.
In other business, Daquilante reported that in the construction meeting she had previously attended that same week, it was said that the HVAC project is moving on schedule. It is anticipated that workers will be out of the high school by the end of April. She also told board members that, in two weeks, an Opening Bid Meeting will be held for the roofing projects at Boreman and Sistersville Elementary, and the projects should commence this summer.
A monthly attendance report was provided by Melinda Walton, and it was noted that they were down five students. However, Daquilante said she was not discouraged or worried as numbers always go down during the holidays due to travel.
The board then began to review six policies, all of which were approved after the vote. One policy – JAJ Student Automobile Use – was put on a two week comment. Following this vote, the 2019-20 TCHS Football schedule was reviewed and subsequently approved.
The next order of business required the board to look over trip requests for the TCMS and TCHS TSA, the Tyler Consolidated band, and the 2019 Regional Math Field Day Competition. Daquilante recommended approval for all requests, but a question was raised in regards to the Math Field Day trip. One board member noticed that only 28 students were participating in this event, and yet there were eight chaperones. It was his opinion that this number was excessive and unnecessary as those chaperones must be paid, as well as the substitute teachers taking their place. However, Daquilante explained each chaperone is required to assist in issuing and the grading of tests as they are paid math coaches. After a vote, the motion to approve these requests was carried. The board also reviewed requests for student transfers and two Leaves of Education Value, all of which were approved.
Following this, the resignations for one substitute cook, Shawna Staley, and TCHS head boys’ track coach Jacob Myer were approved, effective immediately. The board also voted on and approved employment for Angie Baker, Erin Cooper, and Ellen Stewart as substitute instructional aides, and the employment of Ryan Miglino as biology teacher at TCHS. Miglino has been employed with Tyler County schools, but was required to go through a recertification process. After completion of that, it was their wish to make him a full-time teacher after approval from the board.
The last order of business covered was the approval of payment on the bills. The motion to approve this was voted on and quickly carried. In the last statements, one board member questioned whether the government shut-down affects the schools’ meals, which Daquilante assured them it has no ill affects on them. At the conclusion of the discussion, the board went into a private Executive Session.
The board is to convene again on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Tyler County Board of Education Office.