Barbour BOE hears LSIC reports

PHILIPPI – Local School Improvement Councils from Volga-Century and Junior elementary schools made their yearly presentations Monday to members of the Barbour County Board of Education.

Andy Sigmon, principal at both schools, led the presentations, and thanked the BOE for voting the keep Volga-Century School open.

In mid-August, the board proposed closing Volga-Century and Mt. Vernon elementary schools in order to save about $700,000 annually and avoid major renovation costs.

After listening to resident comments in open meetings at each school, members of the Barbour Board of Education voted unanimously Sept. 30 to keep Volga-Century and Mt. Vernon open.

“Volga-Century Elementary School currently serves 44 students in grades one through five,” Sigmon said. “We have three professional educators, a pair of teacher aides and we share a special education instructor with Mt. Vernon Elementary School. We offer music, physical education or media everyday.”

Sigmon said Volga-Century has been named a transition school by the West Virginia Department of Education.

“Our focus is to continually improve the instruction and services we offer our students by using modern and relevant technology, up-to-date resources and professional collaboration,” Sigmon said. “We continually monitor student achievement through lesson plan checks, walk-throughs, observation, professional learning communities, technological tools and assessments.”

Sigmon said attendance at Volga-Century Elementary is currently at 96.3 percent. He said the LSIC focus this year is to maintain and improve the current emergency plan, the school’s relationship with the community and to continue and improve on sound student instruction.

“We will be working with the local volunteer fire department, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department, the board office and other county officials to develop a positive working relationship in the event we will ever need their services,” Sigmon said. “Community members will have the opportunity in our meetings to discuss community perceptions and concerns and to give their input on student instruction.”

Volga-Century Elementary teachers shared a power point presentation featuring students in the school.

Sigmon said Junior Elementary School currently serves 135 students in grades pre-k through five. He said Junior Elementary has been labeled a priority school through the state Department of Education.

“This has begun a new focus in our school to work and collaborate more effectively as a staff,” Sigmon said. “With the Barbour County Central Office, RESA VII, the state Department of Education and the stake-holders of our school, we hope to better identify and develop and form educational partnerships that better serve our students.”

Fifth-grade students in the Step Up program at the school talked about their role in the program. Students involved in the presentation include Travis Schoonover, Payton Gregory, Andrew Kittle, Alex Wilson, Katie Fox, Hanna Corley, Christian Shomo, Portia Weaver and Mercedes Weaver. The Step Up program was developed to bring responsibility to the school’s fifth-grade students.

In other business, Jeff Davis, a member of the new Small Schools Coalition, Volga-Century Chapter, presented BOE members with a punch-list of items he hoped to help complete to improve the school. The list included upgrading the lighting with new ballasts and switching to more efficient light bulbs and adding motion-sensing switches. Davis feels these improvements would cut the lighting costs.

Davis also suggested installing timers on the hot water tanks to save money.

“To get the funding for the upgrades, I would like to solicit businesses to adopt a classroom,” Davis said. “I am a licensed electrician and would be doing the work. Donors and sponsors of the project would be recognized with a plaque outside the classroom door. This would be on a year-by-year basis.”

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Super asked Glen Sweet, maintenance director, to look into the liability of Davis making the improvements.

The next Barbour County Board of Education meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Nov. 12. The meeting will feature LSIC presentations from Belington Elementary and Belington Middle School.