Penny, a female Yellow Labrador, will be arriving this fall at Pendleton County Middle/High School. Penny is one of the next seven therapy dogs that will be placed in schools across West Virginia as a part of the First Lady’s Friends With Paws initiative.
The official announcement of PCM/HS receiving a therapy dog was presented at the Pendleton County Board of Education meeting last week. Board members, Katie Hott, Betty Kimble and Sonny O’Neil. J.D. Wilkins, were in attendance.
First announced in March 2022, the Friends With Paws program places certified therapy dogs in various Communities In School schools across the state, providing companionship and comfort for students in need of a boost. Therapy dogs are placed in schools within CIS counties where students are disproportionately affected by poverty, substance misuse, or other at-risk situations, and are in the greatest need of a support animal. The dogs serve as a healthy and friendly outlet for these students to address trauma and other social-emotional issues.
Richard Lough, Danny Wilburn, June Padgett, Richard Gardner, Vicki Hammer, Jodie Gardner, Amanda Rexrode, Rena Vance, Robin Alt, Amanda Smith and Charlie Padgett addressed the board regarding the high school girls’ softball program. Letters from Dr. Greg Bowers, Kinzley Hartman and Keira Gardner were read.
Sept. 22 has been proclaimed West Virginia School Personnel Day. Charles Hedrick, superintendent, praised the county’s service personnel for all the work they do within the school system.
The board approved the TeamTutor agreement as presented by Nicole Hevener. Under the agreement, tutors will be assigned to help students, either in person or online, with academic needs.
Carrie Nesselrodt presented 10 attendance waivers for board approval. The attendance waivers are for students who leave school early or come to school late due to employment. Students must be on track to graduate in order to apply for a waiver, and the waiver can be revoked if they start falling behind in their classes.
The board approved the special education camera letter as requested by Nesselrodt. Senate Bill 261 requires cameras to be placed in self-contained special education classrooms (classroom where special education students spend the majority of their day). These cameras record both video and audio. This year, there was an addition to the bill that requires audio recording of bathrooms that are attached to those classrooms. The special education camera letter is provided to the board of education, staff within the classroom, and parents of students within the classroom notifying them that recordings are taking place.
Hedrick stated that work is being done by Barbara Whitecotton and the leadership team on academic improvements and improving instruction for kindergarten through third grade, especially for students with a substantial reading or mathematics deficiency. He also reported that he has discussed with school principals about academic improvements.
The resignations of Manda Teter, substitute teacher, Wes Judy, substitute bus driver, and Lori Johnson, substitute secretary, were approved by the board.
Personnel employed by the board were Latasha Martin, long-term substitute fifth-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, Robert Bennett, long-term substitute custodian at the central office, Kim Keplinger, extra-curricular kindergarten instruction coach, Natasha Bowers, extra-curricular middle school girls assistant softball coach, Travis Rader, and Karen Propst, substitute teachers, Lucas Moreland and Katelyn Keckley, restricted substitute teachers, and Anissa Worthy and Alaina See, substitute aides.
Contracts for duty free lunch for Keely Smith, Kimberly Davis, Jennifer Willis, Kenna Hedrick-Champ, Cindy Rexrode, Sheila Evick, Sherry Howard, Marlene Simmons, Amy Gardiner and Corrie Wagoner were approved.
The board approved the following non-paid coaches: football – Ryan Boggs, Kent Gardiner, Chris Roberson and Gary Smith; volleyball – Natasha Bowers; and boys’ basketball – Matt Sites.
A leave of absence was approved for John Connor.
Volunteers/chaperones were approved for the county’s schools.
The next board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the board office on Main Street in Franklin.