The Times West Virginian

Opinion

January 22, 2014

Commitment to high performance leads five county schools to ‘reward’

With an ever-expanding focus on education and learning, it’s nice when a school is recognized as a “high-performing reward school.”

In Marion County, five schools can lay claim to that title.

The West Virginia Department of Education recently named several schools throughout the state that have been recognized under the department’s new “reward schools” program, which is based on achievement in math and English/language arts. In addition, the department of education designated schools in the top 10 percent of all West Virginia schools as “high-performing reward schools.”

In Marion County, East Fairmont High School, Fairview Middle School, Monongah Middle School, Pleasant Valley Elementary School and White Hall Elementary School earned that distinction. The only county with more was Kanawha County, which had six.

It’s an achievement Marion County Superintendent Gary Price said the schools can be proud of.

“It’s very difficult to make it under either condition, especially to be under the highest percentage in the state, and some counties did not have any (reward schools), or only had one or two,” Price said. “I think the achievement speaks for itself.”

But the recognition didn’t stop there.

White Hall Elementary and Pleasant Valley Elementary were also recognized as “high-progress reward schools” for falling within the top 10 percent in the state for growth and progress in those academic areas. WESTEST scores are used to determine schools’ progress.

As Kim Middlemas, principal at Pleasant Valley Elementary, pointed out, this recognition is one that can be celebrated not only by the teachers and students at the individual schools, but by parents and the community as a whole.

And while the recognition is nice, leaders at the schools know it takes real effort to achieve such heights — and stay there.

That means using test scores to bolster instruction and motivation. It means setting a goal each year to improve, and embracing each student’s learning needs.

It also means working hard every day, as Monongah Middle School principal Steve Malnick explained.

“We demand the highest performance day in and day out,” Malnick said. “We take time in the school day, with a period set aside just to work on any deficiencies in our math, English and language arts, and to enrich those students that are achieving at the highest levels.”

Those efforts not only help guarantee success on the current project or goal, but can pave the way toward more success in the future.

Regardless of the type of accolades, achievement by any school deserves recognition.

Fortunately, Marion County has five reasons to celebrate.

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Opinion
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    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

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    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

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    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
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    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

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    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

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    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

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