Summer school expansion discussed at board meeting

Suzette Lowe
Pam Cunningham (Cottageville Elementary)
Angela Southall (Ripley High)
Sierra Bever (Ravenswood High)
Kristy Riggs (Ravenswood Middle)
Chris Fulk (Ripley Elementary)
Dreama Pursley (Kenna Elementary)
Brenton Miller (HJK Elementary)
Nancy Shamblin (Gilmore Elementary)
Debbie Good (Fairplain Elementary)

Jackson County students will get an opportunity to address their educational needs this summer.

Elementary students will be offered the chance to take classes that will help them catch up academically. Enrichment classes will also be available. Courses will be offered for middle and high school students as well, but those plans are not finalized.

Classes will take place at each elementary school from June 28-July 23 and will last from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. each day.

“We surveyed our elementary school families to find the interest level,” said Superintendent Blaine Hess. “So far we’ve had 363 [that] have indicated they want their students to participate.”

Hess said the day will be divided into half-day intense academics, half-day physical activity focusing on physical education, the arts and science and technology.

“We will be hiring 34 academic teachers, 12 activity teachers and two administrative coordinators,” he said. “If students who are in danger of retention make satisfactory progress in this summer school, then they will proceed to the next grade.”

Details regarding bus transportation and meals are still being discussed.

Hess also said that additional tutoring hours have been added this school year to assist students who are struggling. An additional extracurricular bus run at Fairplain Elementary was approved to provide transportation.

Federal stimulus dollars are being used for both the tutoring and expanded summer school.

Both proms and graduation ceremonies are looking hopeful for this school year as well.

Unless the county is red on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services map, all three events are expected to occur following any required guidelines.

Graduation for both high schools will be May 28 with Ravenswood at 6 p.m. and Ripley at 8 p.m.

The foster grandparent program is expected to begin again as well. Hess said as soon as participants complete their training and have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, they will begin to work with students.

“They have been sorely missed,” Hess said. “They fill a vital palace in the lives of our students and are a great help to our teachers.”

School service personnel were recognized at the Thursday meeting. Each county school selected a service employee of the year, with one receiving the county award.

The 2020 School Service Employee of the Year is Pam Cunningham, secretary at Cottageville Elementary. Other honorees were Angela Southall (Ripley High), Sierra Bever (Ravenswood High), Kristy Riggs (Ravenswood Middle), Chris Fulk (Ripley Elementary), Dreama Pursley (Kenna Elementary), Brenton Miller (HJK Elementary), Nancy Shamblin (Gilmore Elementary) and Debbie Good (Fairplain Elementary).

Unable to attend were Maria Hannah (Evans Elementary), Tamala Hunter (Ripley Middle) and Debbie Young (Ravenswood Grade).

The board went into closed-door executive session for 36 minutes to consider the suspension without pay from March 9-March 22 of a Cottageville Elementary teacher. The board reconvened into regular session and voted to postpone action until the April 1 meeting. At that time, the board may choose to approve the action or make changes including, but not limited to, reinstating pay and nullifying the suspension.

In other business, board members Bobbi Ferrell, Steve Chancey, Jim Frazier, Dan Barnette, with Ben Mize absent:

  • Approved contracts with CAS Communications for $119,160 and Suddenlink for $30,000 for data lines for segments of Jackson County Schools' wide area network. A federal E-Rate program will provide funds to pay 80 percent of this cost.
  • Approved a contract with YCM Solution for the purchase of 21 switches and licenses for Ripley High School in the amount of $230,220.52.
  • Approved purchase of MacBook Air devices for middle and high school students at a cost of $635,680.

In personnel:

Retirements: Tara Anderson, county office executive assistant; Stanley Lewis, bus operator, both effective July 1.

Transfers: Kirby Whited, bus operator from Route 55 to Route 19.

Employment: Brenda Miller, substitute secretary; Heather Holmes, substitute school nurse; Cara William, assistant boys track coach, Ravenswood High.

Other: Authorized certified coaches: Aaron Bennett (baseball, Ravenswood High), Caleb Banton, Bryant Phalen (track, Ripley High); Bryant Phalen (baseball, Ripley Middle); Ben Nessleroad (track, Ravenswood High and Ravenswood Middle).

A closed-door executive session to consider a student issue ended the Mach 18 meeting. No action was taken.

Prior to the regular session, a special session was conducted by the board to approve the rates for the excess levy approved by the voters.

The next meeting of the board will be April 1 at 7 p.m. at the administrative building.