By Ammie Ruddle
Pendleton County Middle/High School was the talk of the latest Pendleton County Board of Education meeting.
Attending the meeting were the PCMHS principal and assistant principal, Tim Johnson and Carrie Nesselrodt, respectively.
Nesselrodt represented the Local School Improvement Council, LCIS, and gave board members a presentation illustrating what the LCIS has been doing with the PCMHS students and staff, in addition to speaking about what goals the LCIS has planned for the 2022/2023 school year.
The presentation began with discussion of goals surrounding attendance. LCIS will be working closely with students and families on chronic attendance issues. One way the staff plans to improve absences is to create more student engagements. This includes listening to what the students want or need to improve absenteeism.
This involves rebuilding programs such as band and theater “allowing students to have a place they feel they belong,” according to LCIS member Liz Warner.
Following attendance, the middle school staff will be working on improving the grades for English/language arts and math for students who have an Individual Education Program or IEP.
Both LCIS and board members agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on students’ grades, not only in the county, but in the state as well. Many students have fallen below average in English and math. However, PCS did rank 10th in the state for eighth-grade math.
Nesselrodt explained to the school board members that by improving attendance, grades will follow. She went on to tell them, part of addressing school attendance is finding a way to meet the students’ basic needs.
One of the ways PCMHS and LCIS are working to meet students’ needs is providing a weekend food backpack program. If students are hungry, they may not have the ability to concentrate in class or they may display some behavioral problems. Another way PCMHS and LCIS is meeting student needs is to provide school supplies and hygiene products for students with racks in the hallways, in addition to a clothing closet where clothes and shoes are made available for students who may find themselves in need of these products. Finally, most recently, PCMHS and LCIS provided homecoming apparel to those students who needed it for the homecoming dance.
As Nesselrodt completed her presentation and the board went about normal business, Nicole Hevener, associate superintendent of schools, announced there were no resignations or retirements to announce and two new hires were Charlie Heavener as the new janitor and Lori Johnson as a substitute teacher.
J.P. Mowery, director of finance and BOE treasurer, went over the 2021 audit review in detail, following the previous BOE meeting announcement that the audit review did not find any marks against PCS for the 2021 fiscal year.
Travis Heavner, director of curriculum and facilities, told the board members about the progress being made at the Lovegrove building, as well as mulch has been placed on all the playgrounds at the elementary schools.
The next PCBOE meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the annex building.