Julia Roberts Goad
DELBARTON - The Mingo County Board of Education met at Burch Middle School to see presentations from the Local School Improvement Councils (LSIC) from Burch Middle and Burch Elementary Schools Tuesday.
The West Virginia legislature mandated the public schools establish LSICs to bring together administrators and faculty to promote innovations and improvements in the teaching and learning environment in the schools.
The LSIC in each school consists of the principal, three faculty members, service personnel, parents, and at-large members appointed by the principal.
Levi Smith and Molly Ferguson, representatives to Burch Middle School’s LSIC, gave a powerpoint presentation to the Board featuring BMS’s clubs, people and activities that make the school a part of the community.
The students highlighted the involvement of different people and groups in the community, including their business partners, Premier Coal and Hannah Lumber, along with Southern West Virginia Community College, the Appalachian Service Project and the STOP Coalition.
They also named student organizations and activities active in the school such as BETA, RAZE, before and after school tutoring, Spelling and Social Studies Bees and the Delbarton Little League.
“At Burch Middle School, academics is a priority,” Ferguson said. “Our philosophy is to provide an opportunity for all students to gain the skills necessary to become independent and flexible adults.”
The LSIC also brought some needs of the school to the attention of Board members: the school needs a new sign on U.S. 52, the gym floor needs refinished, lights are needed outside the entrance to the school and technology upgrades such as iPods, iPads and e-readers would enhance student learning, the students told the Board. They also said the football field needed its scoreboard repaired or replaced and soccer goals and volleyball nets were needed as well
Burch Elementary School’s LSIC was represented by its chairperson, Joy Hunt, President of the school’s PTO.
Hunt said students at Burch Elementary were truly 21st century learners, and had been Skyping with classes from California, Indiana, Maryland and Virginia, as well as connecting with a class in Australia.
After giving thanks to parent volunteers and business partners such as Coal Mac, Hunt brought some concerns to the attention of the BOE.
She said the cafeteria walls were in need of paint, trees and weeds on school grounds needed landscaping, basketball goals were needed and a new sign, as the sign at the school still read Burch Middle School.
She also brought up a personnel issue. During student lunch periods, the school’s secretary is in the cafeteria, leaving the office unattended, Hunt said. Parents have come to pick up their children, etc., she said, and there was no one to help them. She suggested hiring a part-time worker to help at the school.
Hunt also explained that the parking lot of the school was in very poor condition. She said there were potholes on the playground area deep enough for children to fall in. She said that while no students had been seriously injured, some had in fact fallen in the holes. She said the school’s parking lot was in such bad condition she had personally donated gravel to the school, and asked the Board to look into repairing or repaving the area.
The highlight of the evening was courtesy of Burch Elementary music teacher Mr. Workman.
Workman said he had been asked to write a song for the occasion, and performed his song “Getting Better,” a song about the people and programs at the school.
After the song, Workman passed out musical instruments to everyone at the meeting, including Board members, who played a rousing version of “Peas Porridge Hot” as a group.
“I am amazed and excited,” BOE President Bill Duty said. “LSIC meetings are the only time you have people from the central office, teachers, parents and students together in one common setting.”
Mingo Superintendent Randy Keathley said LSIC meetings were a highlight for the Board.
“This is what we enjoy most,” Keathley said. “We get the opportunity to hear about your school, and to learn your needs. Without needs, our job would be done, and in education, our job is never done.”