The Raleigh County Board of Education on Tuesday approved the county’s School Access Safety Plan.

Assistant director for pupil services Jeff McClung presented the plan, which has been worked on by a committee for several months with the purpose of securing the county’s schools by limiting access to only students, teachers, administrators and those with legitimate business.

Also, director of pupil services Miller Hall said the plan calls for a safe environment inside the school.

The plan will now be submitted for approval to the School Building Authority in Charleston. With a six-month extension, the project, which is mandated by the state, has a completion deadline of January 2009.

The state allotted Raleigh County approximately $490,000 to complete the project.

Also Tuesday, the board honored 14 schools recognized as Distinguished Title I Schools.

Federal programs director Nelson Spencer and board member Pat Waddell presented plaques to representatives from Stratton, Cranberry-Prosperity, Marsh Fork, Sophia-Soak Creek, Coal City, Mabscott, Stanaford, Fairdale, Clear Fork District, Bradley, Lester, Ghent, Crescent and Crab Orchard elementary schools.

Spencer said every eligible Title I school from Raleigh County received the recognition given to schools which, for three consecutive years, achieve Adequate Yearly Progress. Beckley Elementary School, the county’s only other Title I school, achieved AYP, Spencer said, but was not eligible because it has not been open long enough.

“All of our schools made it,” Spencer said. “Don’t take that for granted. It is a big deal ... You make me very proud.”

Woodrow Wilson High School principal Bob Maynard updated board members on the school’s first-year progress as one of 16 pilot programs for the state Department of Education’s 21st Century High Schools That Work program.

The initiative is a five-year effort to provide targeted assistance to schools committed to implementing practices to improve student performance and school effectiveness.

Maynard said the Eagle Academy, which separates freshman from the rest of the school population in order to help them better adjust, has been successful.

Woodrow’s seniors are “the most informed they’ve been in years,” Maynard said in regard to receiving testing information.

Maynard told board members the majority of the school’s teachers have laptops and projectors and are trained in Intel. In January, some students will receive technology training and will, in turn, train other teachers.

“We’re working hard to become a high-performance high school that works,” he said.

Stanaford Elementary School teachers Kristi Clay and Linda Fama Biggs updated the board regarding DIBELS, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills.

The program consists of assessment tools that help measure students’ reading levels.

Through the program, which uses technology, teachers are able to pinpoint exactly what a child’s weakness is “before it is too late.”

When a student is determined to be struggling, the program allows teachers to adjust instruction, tailoring it to benefit the problem area.

Students in need receive additional instruction.

Benchmark testing is conducted at the beginning, middle and end of the year, and students’ progress is monitored every two weeks.

Clay and Biggs praised the program, saying it helps teachers identify specific needs of each and every student.

“It’s wonderful,” Clay said.

In other business:

- Bob Morgenstern with the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia asked that the county use next year’s funding provided by Senate Bill 541 to increase the salaries of teachers and service personnel alike.

- The board, by a vote of 2-2, did not approve the request from the faculty senate at Independence High School to name the school’s new addition in honor of principal Bob Meadows. Board president Richard Snuffer and member Judi Almond voted against the request and Waddell and Larry Ford voted in favor. Board member Cindy Jafary was not at the meeting.

- A special meeting to conduct a work session for the discussion of an excess levy and bond issues was scheduled for noon Jan. 31.

— E-mail: mjames@register-herald.coma

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