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Confusion Surrounding Virtual School Discussed

By Staff | Aug 12, 2020

The Tyler County Board of Education met on Monday, August 3 for a regular meeting. All members were present.

The meeting began with the approval of the previous minutes, followed by the Superintendent’s Report. Mr. Highley reported they have updated the students and parents regarding the reentry plans. Highley stated a miscommunication had led him to believe the parents were responsible for the cost of the virtual school. However, Highley says this is not the case. The cost will actually be picked up by the county Board of Education at no cost to Tyler County Students.

Highley continued by saying he understands health and safety concerns of parents and students. However, he feels nothing can replace classroom instruction. According to Highley, virtual school is very hard and requires discipline and dedication. The courses will not be taught by Tyler County employees, but rather by teachers throughout the country. “Virtual school is very hard for students. Not because the curriculum is any different, but there’s no price that you can put on having teacher’s feedback,”

Highley said, pointing out it closely resembles an online college course.

“We have the best teachers in the state, as far as I’m concerned, in Tyler County, and you’re not going to get a better education than if you had those teachers,” Highley stated.

“I understand parents have safety concerns and safety issues so we are going to work with those parents just like we work with the parents of the kids who come to school,” he continued. “I feel horrible because I put that information out there but it truly was a…miscommunication…between the state department and superintendent.”

Highley reported Tyler County Schools are staffed to facilitate all students returning to school. He has reached out to several in-state colleges in hopes of facilitating student teachers as extra help, as well. “We’re trying to look at all the avenues we can possibly to get some additional teachers in here,” he said.

It was also stressed the remote learning that took place last year is not home schooling and is not virtual. When students are homeschooled, it was stated the parent is responsible for planning and teaching their child, and they do not receive packets from the school.

The remote learning will take place with students on Wednesday’s while the students are off, according to the Board.

Under project updates, Highley talked about the new bus garage under construction beside the Board Office. He reported they have hit a snag with the soft ground, and it may not be able to be asphaulted. The plan at this time, he says, is to do a ten foot apron around the bus garage with blacktop and then use gravel in the parking area. He reported they were hoping in a few years they could get the compaction to blacktop it, however, it would cost millions of dollars if they were to try to fill and compact the whole area at this time.

At the Stadium, Highley says they have begun to lay the track surface and work on the scoreboard. He reported they are working to finalize the purchase of a concrete building that will house a concession stand, as well as a men’s and women’s restroom, to be placed near the softball field.

Highley also mentioned the playground at Boreman is being redone and will soon be turf. He reported the playground will be covered in ForeverLawn, a type of turf that is antimicrobial and static free. One positive aspect of this, he says, is it will cut down on the students ruining their new shoes on the playground and coming home dirty after recess. According to Highley, the plan is to do the same to Sistersville Elementary’s playground next year.

Moving forward, the board approved the 2020-2021 TCMS Golf Schedule.

The following resignations were approved: Bessie Billings as substitute custodian and Shirley Miller as substitute cook effective immediately.

The following employments were also approved: Sara Conner as LPN/Aide at TCMS; Myra Boggs as SPED Aide/Transportation Aide/Autism mentor aat SES; Tiffany Hayes as ECCAT/Transportation and Special Education Aide/Autism Mentor at SES; Linda Kile, Jennifer Morris, Sarah Tallman, Chris Weekley, Cheyenne Weekley, and Melissa West as substitute cooks; Kennedy Cain as Substitute Teacher; and Emily Knowlton and Samantha Moore as Substitute Teachers.

Following the authorization of the paying of the bills, the meeting was adjourned.