PARKERSBURG — High school principals and teachers spoke to the Wood County Schools Board of Education on Monday, outlining their curriculum and what they offer students at their schools.
The principals of Parkersburg and Parkersburg South High Schools, and Williamstown Middle/High School gave presentations, with some teachers, including several from Parkersburg South, discussing their programs for each department.
The first was Ken DeMoss from PHS, accompanied by school counselor Maggie Ohneck.
DeMoss talked about having a counseling period during the week, where some teachers will have classes and some won’t. Teachers who do not physically have students in class will be taught remotely. The idea, according to DeMoss, is to keep those who don’t want to come to class engaged in the learning process.
Another thing DeMoss and Ohneck discussed was the nature of dual-credit classes, where a student can receive both high school and college credits.
Ohneck then said it would cost a student $25 to do dual credit through West Virginia University, compared to $50 through WVU at Parkersburg.
An example of dual-credit courses through WVU, Ohneck said, was Sports in American Culture in the fall and the Olympics in the spring.
She also said that there are funds available for those who cannot afford the courses.
DeMoss then said a new course being offered would be financial algebra. He said it would be a great class, but adding the word algebra to a class name would make it fall on deaf ears.
Ohneck then discussed class offerings for the next year, including cabinetmaking classes.
Betsy Patterson, the principal of PSHS, spoke about which students maintain the math course and how many credits to take.
She said those who wouldn’t go on to math shouldn’t take as many credits as those who want to go on to math. She said if someone who is interested takes a math class, they are likely to take more.
“We try to capture as many children as possible in several programs”, said Patterson. “We have teachers who are willing to work together, even within the school, to make sure we capture as many activities as possible.”
One of the activities mentioned by Patterson was clubs that students could join depending on what interested them.
PSHS Mathematics Department Chair and Professor of Mathematics Jason Evans said: “We’re doing something different at South. We try to find the best place to meet the children. We then visualize what we can do for them. So we provide a math recommendation for every student where we believe every student can succeed. »
He also said that they create these recommendations to find out where a student is in their math knowledge and then determine the next step for them in the learning process.
Evans said, “I want to emphasize that math is the least grade-oriented class.”
West Virginia requires four math credits to graduate, Evans said, and that might be the right number for a college-bound student, but for one who isn’t, that amount of math could be overwhelming.
Next, Jamie Moss and Susan Smith, co-chairs of the PSHS science department.
Moss said science offerings include earth and space science for ninth graders, biology for 10th graders and a variety of courses for 11th and 12th graders can take courses. electives such as General Chemistry with Honors, General Physics with Honors and General and Virtual Physical Science. to name a few.
There are general, honors, inclusion, and virtual sections for 9th and 10th graders.
Smith said, “We are also in the process of adopting new science textbooks for the next calendar year, so that is very exciting. And five of our staff teachers are part of this textbook selection committee. We are therefore actively involved in the purchase of new textbooks and the implementation of this new content. »
They were attended by BJ Hess, professor of social sciences at PSHS.
Hess said there have been class changes, with ninth grade starting with ancient American history and 10th graders with contemporary studies, world history for 11th graders and civics for old people.
Electives offered by his department include psychology, sociology, West Virginia travel, geography, minority economic studies, current affairs, and cultural studies.
He also said there was a problem with the way Apple iPads worked on Blackboard and that he had to send students to work on a PC.
Kim Braun, Chair of World Languages at PSHS, said: “We are currently teaching Spanish 1, 2, 3 and 4 and French 1, 2, 3 and 4. We have French 1 and 2, and Spanish 1 and 2 taught virtually as part of the learning program away from Wood County.”
Braun also said, “We would very much like our spring focus to investigate the offering of dual credit courses in Spanish and French.
“French is now the fastest growing language in the world, and they expect French to overtake China by 2050 or Mandarin Chinese. English and French are the two global languages to know.
Maria Becker and Harry Johnson, Co-Chairs of the Department of Special Education at PSHS, also gave a presentation.
Becker said, “We are providing additional support for our students remotely and working with organizations such as the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) to help support our students even after graduation.”
Additionally, Becker said her department offers inclusion classes, where special education students are integrated with general education students, and stand-alone classes, all of which have special education students.
“We’re working on things like improving attendance, reducing failure rates, and just improving their academic achievement,” Becker said.
She said they provide tutoring for students who are struggling in their classes, offering extra help with homework and reading tests for them.
“We can meet with students on Microsoft Teams to provide them with additional support,” Becker said.
LT. Col. Alex Cantu, Senior Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor at PSHS, said: “Our program is a civic and aerospace leadership program. And the heart of the program is the simulated workplace in which they work. »
He said the program is associated with the Air Force, but is not part of the Air Force as a military unit.
An example of logistics responsibilities, Cantu said, involves a young second-year logistics flight commander who oversees about $120,000, mostly uniforms, and $15,000 of other program-funded supplies.
“There is nowhere else on campus where you will find a student with this level of responsibility except at ROTC,” Cantou said.
He said, “The most frequent community service we do is as color guards. We present the flag at football, basketball, wrestling and car shows. »
They made 58 color guards last year.
Abbie Burge, art teacher at PSHS, said: “With our study programs, we had art 1, 2, 3, 4 and the last year they choose between an advanced portfolio and an advanced investment portfolio.”
She said her department had no way of moving advanced students into more advanced classes until now.
Burge also said they normally start freshmen in Advanced Art 1, but if they identify someone more advanced and those looking to transition into professional art, they can jump into Advanced Art 4, a class for seniors in the second year and not having to take the first three art classes.
Some of the classes offered by Burge’s department include advanced placement, advanced placement design, and advanced placement drawing. Art 4 is a portfolio class, where students develop a portfolio and exhibit their work.
Lorita Carr is a professor of business and head of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department at PSHS.
She said there are three comprehensive CTE programs, Commerce, Accounting and Finance, Information Management (such as Information Technology and the use of Microsoft Word and Office), Administrative Management (Introduction to Business) and personal finances.
In the programs, a student can take four designated courses and become a graduating CTE within the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDOE).
PSHS physical education teacher Bryan Youngblood could not be reached by the deadline.
“For every CTE graduate, the school receives money from WVDOE to PSHS,” Carr said.
All of their programs are done in a simulated workplace, similar to the Air Force ROTC program. They have a school store and students are treated as employees. Additionally, they use two printers to print on items such as cups, mugs, shirts, blankets, towels, and socks.
Jason Ward, principal of Williamstown Middle/High School, has other course offerings and opportunities to work with other organizations.
Ward said they were involved with Marietta-based Building Bridges to Careers. They develop relationships with schools, businesses, and civic groups to help students make career choices through Mid-Ohio Valley experience, entrepreneurship, and education.
Ward also said they are looking to develop a partnership with Washington State Community College in Marietta to offer courses that are not offered by WVU-Parkersburg or the Wood County Technical Center.
“We were lucky enough to set up a meeting with the WSCC to see if we had something that would work for our kids,” said Ward.
Ward said there are no details on the program yet.
Larry Launstein Jr. can be reached at [email protected]