Brooke board hands out honors

WELLSBURG – The pupils and staff at Colliers Primary School have worked hard to earn high scores in reading and math and their efforts have paid off twice this year.

The school was one of 12 schools to be named a Distinguished Title I School by the West Virginia Department of Education.

Title I schools receive federal funds for instructors who provide additional reading or math instruction; professional development for their staffs and additional materials because at least 40 percent of their enrollment can be classified as at risk of under performing for various reasons but often because they are from households with low to moderate incomes.

Rhonda Combs, grades kindergarten through fifth curriculum director for Brooke County Schools, said to be named a Distinguished Title I School, a school must have at least 60 percent of their pupils demonstrate proficiency in reading/language arts and math on the state achievement test and have achieved, for three consecutive years, adequate yearly progress.

Adequate yearly progress is a standard set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act also based on state test scores in math and reading/language arts as well as pupil attendance and the number of pupils completing a grade level.

Jo-Ellen Goodall, principal, said while Colliers and other Brooke County schools have been named Distinguished Title I Schools in years past, the standards have been raised and it has become more challenging to achieve that status.

Goodall said the school’s pupils and their teachers and parents can share credit for the school’s success.

“My teachers go above and beyond and they all contribute,” she said, adding teachers and Samantha McCoy, a specialist hired with Title I funds, have tutored pupils after school.

The staff also has held an after-school “boot camp” to prepare children for the state achievement test.

“The kids don’t mind attending because the teachers make it fun,” she said.

Goodall said to help chart pupils’ progress, teachers at the school develop student learning plans for each pupil that include his or her academic strengths and weaknesses as well as personal interests that are shared with the child’s next teacher.

The school’s staff includes Title I instructor Elaine Merriner; teachers Jennifer Perloski, Jessica Yarter, Penny Foose, Arah Barker, Merrilou Inman, Becky Hagwood, Dianna Cornett, Cheryl Kelly, Holly Yarter, Dana Stoll, Kim Rager, Susan Cullinan, Jason Williamson, Lori Robey and Angela Powell; and aides Della Means and Amy Gerrard.

Goodall said Dolly Kidd, reading specialist for Brooke County Schools, also has been an asset to the school.

Also recognized Monday was the Brooke High School career technical program, formerly known as the vocational department, which was among four programs to be named exemplary by the state Department of Education.

To receive exemplary status, West Virginia schools must have an attendance rate of at least 94 percent and a graduation rate of at least 85 percent.

Joe Starcher, the school district’s career technical director, said the department’s students and teachers deserve praise for their efforts.

Special recognition also went to Tim Turner, a music instructor at Wellsburg Middle School for 10 years, who attained certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

While state teaching certificates involve entry-level standards required of those just entering the field, the national board sets advanced standards for experienced teachers. Eligibility is determined through an exam testing a teacher’s knowledge of his subject, videotape of his instruction, his professional accomplishments and other criteria.

Turner said attaining it also was a learning experience, in which he experienced “a great transformation not only in my teaching but also in my rapport with students and parents, as well as a deeper understanding of my subject. I highly recommend it to all teachers.”

He added the state Department of Education encourages West Virginia teachers to attain the certification by reimbursing part of the cost.