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National certification for Brooke teacher

NATIONALLY CERTIFIED — Jeffrey Crook, superintendent of Brooke County Schools; and the Brooke County Board of Education recognized Jessica Malinky, a social studies teacher at Brooke High School, for her hard work in attaining certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. -- Contributed

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Board of Education recognized a Brooke High School teacher for attaining national certification and all of its schools for the state recognition they received for supporting the families of service members.

At a meeting last week, Superintendent Jeffery Crook noted Jessica Malinky, who teaches advanced placement government and psychology courses for high school and middle school students, has undergone several steps to become certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

The not-for-profit professional organization awards certification to teachers who undergo a lengthy evaluation designed to test their knowledge of their subject and the educational process, use of effective teaching strategies to reach students and engage parents and other community members in their schools.

To be considered for the voluntary distinction, teachers must take a two-to-three-hour test gaging their knowledge, record themselves presenting multiple lessons and submit samples of their students’ work that show progress made over a period of time.

Malinky said it took nearly two years for her to complete such tasks, though that was due in part to the pandemic. For example, plans to record her classroom presentations were disrupted by periods in which her students switched to at home virtual instruction.

But she said her efforts with others to adapt the high school’s prom last year to comply with COVID-19 spurred restrictions earned her points for community engagement.

Malinky said public health orders in Pittsburgh, where the prom was to be held, led to it being moved to one of the high school’s cafeterias.

Because dancing would violate recommendations for social distancing, she arranged for a dueling piano act to provide live entertainment and organized drawings for gift baskets containing many items donated by local businesses while the students enjoyed a meal prepared by a local caterer.

Malinky said while it wasn’t the prom students had envisioned, it was welcomed because there was no prom the previous year and many students seemed to enjoy themselves.

A graduate of West Liberty University, Malinky is in her 15th year of teaching at Brooke High School, which also is her alma mater.

Malinky said she felt “very lucky” to have been educated in Brooke County schools and is happy to be able to give back to the community where she was raised.

“I’m also very lucky to work with the people I do,” she added.

The board also recognized the staffs of all Brooke County schools for enabling the school district to be named a Purple Star District by the West Virginia Department of Education and Common Ground Partnership.

The latter is a collaboration of state school officials, U.S. military groups and other organizations aimed at increasing schools’ ability to ensure success for all students, including those in military families.

Stephanie Zimmer, the district’s communications director, noted the Purple Star Award goes to schools with a contact through which the families of service members may seek assistance and a plan for supporting such families.

While 130 schools have been presented the award, Brooke County is one of just three school districts that demonstrated participation by all schools, she noted.

Earlier this year, State Superintendent Clayton Burch visited the school board’s office to present Purple Star Award banners that will be displayed at each school for the next three years.

In other business, Crook told the board the state Department of Education has adopted the STOPit Out of Hours service that Brooke County Schools implemented in 2019. He said that means the school district will no longer need to pay to make it available to students.

The service involves a computer application that may be downloaded with many devices and a 24-hour hotline through which students may report incidents of bullying or concerns about threats.

Crook said when bullying is reported, he and other school officials are notified immediately so he, the affected school’s principal and a school resource officer can act promptly.

The board also:

– Was advised of the award of a $10,000 Project Lead the Way grant for materials to be used at Brooke Middle School for instruction in science, technology, engineering and math.

– Approved the installation of a new boiler for the swimming pool at the Wellness Center by Johnson Boiler Works at a cost of $62,300.

It also approved a year-long maintenance agreement for the pool with Doran Precision Systems Inc. for $2,604.

– Agreed to replace 200 Chromebooks used by students for $35,998 and Google management licenses for them for $5,998. Both expenses will be paid with state technology funds.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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