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Contest, Competition

First Lady Cathy Justice Seeks Entries in Valentines to West Virginia Contest

The Free Press WV

First Lady Cathy Justice and her Student Artist Series announced the new “Valentines to West Virginia” contest Friday. All students in the 6th grade are invited to submit a Valentine to West Virginia that shows or tells what they love most about the Mountain State.

“I look forward to seeing all the creative entries and learning more about what makes our state so special to the students,” First Lady Cathy Justice said.

Students may use writing, photography, painting, drawing, and other art mediums to describe a favorite place, memory, or moment in West Virginia. Valentines must be at least two-dimensional and no larger than 5x7 inches.

They can be created using a variety of materials. Students are encouraged to take their time and be creative!

This contest is the third installment of the First Lady’s Student Artist Series initiative.

On special holidays, she will host different art competitions or projects for students to participate in, encouraging creativity and promoting the importance of the arts within schools throughout West Virginia.  

Students may mail their Valentines to West Virginia to:
The Governor’s Mansion
1716 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25305.

With each submission, students MUST include their name, phone, email, county, school name, teacher name, and teacher email. Valentines will not be returned. Valentines must be received by February 1, 2019. Winners will be announced by Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019.

Prizes will be awarded to winning valentines.

For questions, please contact the First Lady’s Special Assistant Katie Speece at 304.558.3588 or ‘kate.e.speece@wv.gov’.

Second Annual Commissioner of Agriculture for a Day Contest

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has announced the start of the second annual Commissioner of Agriculture for a Day competition.

Students ages 9-18 are eligible to enter.

Those selected will serve as honorary Commissioners of Agriculture during the State Fair of West Virginia.

The contest will run from May 1st through July 18th.

“We have lost half our farmers in the last twenty years. At the same time, the average age of the farmer continues to increase,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We hope to inspire the next generation of producers that our country desperately needs.”

To enter the contest, students can submit their presentations to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture website or to ‘jensmith@wvda.us’.

The theme for this year’s contest is “The Future of Agriculture: Ideas for Feeding the World”.

Acceptable forms for entry include: audio visual presentations such as photography or videos and written essays and poems, short stories and academic papers. All submissions must be received by July 18th.

“The hope is, if students see all the aspects of agriculture first hand, it may open up their eyes to careers they never knew existed,” stated Department of Education Agriculture, Science and Natural Resources Cluster Assistant Director Jason Hughes. “This is a great opportunity and I hope our students, especially FFA and 4-H members, take advantage of it.”

Those students who are chosen to serve as an Honorary Commissioner of Agriculture, will be given an encompassing tour of the State Fair of West Virginia, meet with Commissioner Kent Leonhardt, take part in events during the fair and meet various staff from every division of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Additionally, any winning submissions will be showcased in the September edition of the Market Bulletin.

For more information or to submit an entry, contact Jennifer Smith ‘jensmith@wvda.us’ or 304.558.3708

Burnsville Lake Spoocktacular Pumpkin Decorating Contest Winners

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GCHS Land Judging Team Qualified for National Competition

The Gilmer County High School land judging team secured a 4th place finish at the State FFA Convention and has qualified to compete at the national land judging competition in Oklahoma City, OK in May 2018. 

The team has been working since early May perfecting their land judging skills. On May 11, the team went to a practice competition in Jane Lew where they placed second in home site evaluation and third in land judging with a combination score that put them in first place for the two contests. Individually, in home site, students placed third through sixth, which gave them a starting point to improve upon. 

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Members of the GCHS land judging team are (L to R):
Jaccob Klapka, son of Jeanette Klapka and John Klapka; Evan Jedamski, son of Melissa and Bert Jedamski; Ashlee White, daughter of Tina and Nelson White; Zane Cogar, son of Sherry and Thomas Cogar; and Marshall Cottrill, son of Dendra Miller and Steve Cottrill; Mr. Nick Cox, GCHS Vo-Ag teacher.


At the regional contest held on June 15 in Flatwoods, the team won both land judging and home site contests.  In land judging, the team had individuals place first, third, fourth and seventh with a total score of 1062 of 1200 possible points. In the home site competition, individuals placed first, second, third and seventh for a total score of 1270 of 1344 possible points.  Winning both of these contests qualified the GCHS team for the state contest.

At the state level held on July 14 in Ripley, WV, the team placed fourth in the home site and land judging contests. With a score of 1016 of 1200 possible points in land judging, and a score of 1198 of 1344 possible points in home site, GCHS team took fourth place and qualified them to compete at the national competition. Ashlee White placed tenth individually in home site and Zane Cogar placed seventh individually in land judging at the state competition.

“I am extremely proud of the effort this team put forth,“ said GCHS teach Mr. Nick Cox.  “The students set high expectations for themselves, and have worked diligently to achieve their goals.  I knew from the first day that this team was special, and that they could qualify for national competition.  They are right where I wanted them to be in their preparation for regional and state competitions.  Now, the real work begins to prepare to compete against hundred of other teams from across the nation.“

Broadside Writing Contest

The Free Press WV

HeartWood Literary Magazine & West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program seek to honor the writing practice with an annual broadside series and contest. The winning entry will be printed on a limited-edition letterpress broadside designed by West Virginia letterpress company Base Camp Printing.  The contest began April 1 and will run through midnight on June 01, 2017.

Those interested must anonymously submit one poem of any form or flash prose piece in fiction or nonfiction of 200 or fewer words to www.heartwoodlitmag.com/submit, along with a $15 entry fee.  Mail or email submissions will not be accepted.  Previously published entries cannot be submitted for this contest, however simultaneously submitted work is accepted as long as the MFA program is notified if the work is accepted elsewhere before the close of the contest.  There is no limit on the number of entries.

The first round of judging will be performed by HeartWood editors, and approximately twenty poems and/or flash prose pieces will be chosen as finalists and forwarded to author Maggie Anderson, contest judge, for the final round of judging.

A $500 cash prize and 25 copies of the limited-edition letterpress broadside will be awarded to the winner, and all entrants will receive a copy of the winning print.  The winner and honorable mentions will be publicly announced in the October 2017 issue of HeartWood. All entries will also be considered for publication in HeartWood.  The winner’s broadside will be printed and mailed in October, as well.

Maggie Anderson is the author of five books of poems, most recently Dear All, (Four Way Books, 2017) and five edited or co-edited volumes of poetry. She was the founding director of the Wick Poetry Center and founder and editor of the Wick Poetry Series of the Kent State University Press. Anderson was also the Director of the Northeast Ohio MFA in creative writing from 2006-2009 and is the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as grants from the Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts. She is Professor Emerita in English of Kent State University and currently lives in Asheville, NC.

Additional questions may be directed at Jessie van Eerden, MFA director, at .

Pearl S. Buck Writing Contest Open To High School, College Students

The Free Press WV

All students attending a West Virginia high school or college are invited to compete in the annual Pearl S. Buck writing contest.

Dr. Melanie Page, West Virginia University’s Vice President for Creative Programs, announced the contest. Awards of $1,000 each will be given to an undergraduate and graduate student winner, and a high school winner will receive $250 and a scholarship to the WVU English Department’s Summer Scholars program, which has a $600 value.

Applicants must submit an original writing in any literary genre (e.g., fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essay, children’s literature, playwriting, blog, etc.) no later than April 15, 2017. Word maximum is 10,000.

Contest details and submission portal can be found HERE .

The late Miss Buck is one of only two American women to win both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes for Literature. In 1892, she was born in her mother’s ancestral home, now a museum complex, in Hillsboro in Pocahontas County. Later, she wrote over 100 books dealing with both the Eastern and Western cultures and their peoples, and have been translated into 60 foreign languages.

This contest and other related Pearl Buck activities are a joint project of the West Virginia University Libraries-Pearl Buck Manuscripts Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the Pearl Buck Birthplace Foundation and WV Wesleyan College.

High School Students Win State Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Competition

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV – ProStart teams from James Rumsey Technical Institute and Carver Career Center placed first at the 2016 Hospitality Cup - West Virginia’s State ProStart Competition - in culinary arts and restaurant management, respectively. Students competed March 2-3, in Morgantown, WV, to win scholarships, honors and the opportunity to compete against the best teams from other states at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s National ProStart Invitational, April 29 – May 1, 2016, in Grapevine, Texas.

Fifteen ProStart teams gathered from throughout West Virginia to compete in either the culinary arts or restaurant management divisions. Culinary teams prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, without access to running water or electricity using only two butane burners, and management teams present a business proposal for an original restaurant concept to a panel of industry judges.

“These students practice all year for this competition,” said Tami Maynard, Hospitality, Education and Training Coordinator, WVDE Office of Career & Technical Instruction. “They come in early, after school and on weekends, because this is what they’re passionate about and they want to do their very best.”

Ten post-secondary institutions and organizations presented the top three teams in each category with scholarships and tuition waivers that totaled almost one million dollars.

The 2016 West Virginia ProStart Competition team winners are:

First Place Management: Carver Career Center
First Place Culinary: James Rumsey Technical Institute

Second Place Management: Buckhannon Upshur High School
Second Place Culinary: Putnam Career & Technical Center

Third Place Management: Wheeling Park High School
Third Place Culinary: Wheeling Park High School

ProStart is a high school career and technical education program focused on teaching culinary skills and restaurant management fundamentals. Administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, ProStart is available in all 50 states, Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and Asia. Nearly 120,000 students are enrolled in the industry-driven program that offers a hands-on and group-learning based curriculum as a platform where students also learn employability skills such as teamwork, workplace communication, professionalism and time management.

“The students who compete here are determined,” said Michael Martirano, West Virginia state Superintendent of Schools. “Determined to win, determined to succeed – and not just here in this moment, but for the rest of their lives. ProStart reinforces the relationship between industry and the classroom, resulting in a workforce who understands what the industry is about and all of the opportunities it has to offer.”

West Virginia State Bar Video Contest Winners Announced

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV - West Virginia students have used their creativity and knowledge to win a video contest about the Magna Carta and how that document influenced the writing of the U.S. Constitution.

With the support of the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia State Bar sponsored a contest that rewards students for the best creation of a video with the theme, “The Magna Carta: What It Means Today.” First place winners received $500 and second place finishers received $250.

“This contest allowed students to understand the underpinnings of our government and the underlying conflicts which existed around the execution of the first Magna Carta,” said Burton Hunter, a member of the West Virginia State Bar.

Students in grades 6-12 applied to compete in the annual competition. Videos were required to meet certain guidelines, such as adherence to this year’s theme and a less-than-three-minute length requirement.

“I am extremely proud of the effort each student who competed in the competition put forth,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano. “I believe it is necessary to have an understanding of the history of our nation’s founding principles, and these students have demonstrated the highest levels of learning and creativity. I’m very pleased that the State Bar continues to hold this competition in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education.”

Judging for the competition was broken into high school and middle school levels.

Jill Goben, a 12th-grader attending Washington High School in Jefferson County, took home the first place prize while ninth-grader Lhasa Peak, a homeschool student in Morgan County, finished in second place in the high school division.

In the middle school division, seventh-grader Mychal Boggs from Ravenswood Middle School in Jackson County won first place, and Asa Hammer, a sixth grade student from Shepherdstown Middle School in Jefferson County, was second.

The first place winners have also been invited to attend the annual State Bar meeting being held this year at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where they will be recognized for the originality, creativity and quality of their videos.

To view all winning videos, visit wvde.state.wv.us/wvstatebar/.

2016 Video Competition

The WV State Bar and the WV Department of Education are proud to announce the results of their collaborative 2016 Video Competition. This year, there were 23 entries (12 middle school and 11 high school). The topic was “Magna Carta, Its Significance in its 800th Anniversary Year.” The winners in each category will attend the State Bar’s 2016 Annual Meeting, where their winning videos will be shown. The videos of the two winners and the two runners-up in each category are below. Special thanks to J. Burton Hunter III, who coordinated the competition for the State Bar and to Brad Mills, of the Department of Education.

High School



Middle School

Petty Wins Culinary Contest

The 3rd Annual Gingerbread House Contest sponsored by First Neighborhood Bank was held at the Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg on December 12, 2015.

Sixty houses were entered and displayed in the contest.

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There were seven divisions and $7,000 in awards.

Analysse “Annie” Petty placed first in the school division.

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Gabriel Devono (Gilmer County Schools Superintendent),
Analysse Petty, Chef Annette Benson (instructor)


A $200 check was awarded to Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center and her class will receive a pizza party to celebrate her accomplishment.

Annie attends the ProStart/Culinary Arts and Health Occupations programs at the Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center.

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She is a TASC completer through the Option Pathway and will be a 2016 graduate of Gilmer County High School in May.

Annie is the niece of Danielle Cottrill of Rosedale Road, Normantown, WV.

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2015 Marching Band Invitational Winners Announced

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV –  Thirty-five high school bands from around the state showcased their talents in the 4th annual West Virginia Marching Band Invitational at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field on Saturday, October 24. The Hurricane Middle School Band and the Bethany College Percussion Ensemble also performed. A complete list of winners is included.

Cabell Midland High School won the Overall “Honor Band” Award as well as the State Champion Award for Division AAA schools, Philip Barbour High School won the State Champion Award for Division AA schools and Gilmer County High School won the State Champion Award for Division A schools.

Bands were judged on general effect, marching and maneuvering, music, music effect,  percussion, drum major, color guard, majorettes and feature twirler.

Participating bands were Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Buckhannon, Upshur County; Buffalo High School, Buffalo, Putnam County; Cabell Midland High School, Ona, Cabell County; Calhoun Middle/High School, Mt. Zion, Calhoun County; Chapmanville Regional High School, Chapmanville, Logan County; Doddridge County High School,  West Union, Doddridge County; Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Fayette County;  Gilmer County High School, Glenville, Gilmer County; Greenbrier East High School, Lewisburg, Greenbrier County; Huntington High School, Huntington,  Cabell County; Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Putnam County; Lewis County High School, Weston, Lewis County; Lincoln County High School, Hamlin, Lincoln County; Magnolia High School, New Martinsville, Wetzel County; Martinsburg High School, Martinsburg, Berkeley County; Nitro High School, Nitro, Kanawha County;  Oak Hill High School, Oak Hill, Fayette County; Paden City High School, Paden City, Wetzel County; Petersburg High School, Petersburg, Grant County; Philip Barbour High School, Philippi, Barbour County; Pikeview High School, Princeton,  Mercer County; Poca High School, Poca, Putnam County; Richwood High School,  Richwood, Nicholas County; Ripley High School, Ripley, Jackson County; Ritchie County High School, Ellenboro, Ritchie County; Shady Spring High School, Shady Spring, Raleigh County; Sissonville High School, Sissonville, Kanawha County;  St. Albans High School, St. Albans, Kanawha County; St. Marys High School, St.  Marys, Pleasant County; Tug Valley High School, Williamson, Mingo County; Tyler Consolidated High School, Sistersville, Tyler County; Wahama Junior/Senior High School, Mason, Mason County; Wayne High School, Wayne, Wayne County; Webster County High School, Upperglade, Webster County; and Wirt County High School, Elizabeth, Wirt County.

The winners of the Marching Band Invitational are as follows:


Overall Awards (Honor Band)
  West Virginia State Honor Band: Cabell Midland High School
  1st Runner-up: Hurricane High School
  2nd Runner-up: Ripley High School
  3rd Runner-up: Philip Barbour High School
  4th Runner-up: Martinsburg High School


Division AAA
  State Champion: Cabell Midland High School
  1st Runner-Up: Hurricane High School
  2nd Runner-Up: RipleyHigh School


Division AA
  State Champion: Philip Barbour High School
  1st Runner-Up: Wayne High School
  2nd Runner-Up: Poca High School


Division A
  State Champion: Gilmer County High School
  1st Runner-Up: Tyler Consolidated High School
  2nd Runner-Up: Richwood High School


Miss Majorette
  1st Place:Kendra Amick,  Richwood High School
  2nd Place: Cassidy Myers, Webster County High School


Division 1A Band Awards
  1st Place: Gilmer County High School
  2nd Place: Paden City High School
  3rd Place: Wahama Junior/Senior High School


Division 2A Band Awards
  1st Place: Tyler Consolidated High School
  2nd Place: Richwood High School
  3rd Place: Magnolia High School


Division 1AA Band Awards
  1st Place: Poca High School
  2nd Place: Sissonville High School
  3rd Place: Petersburg High School


Division 2AA Band Awards
  1st Place: Philip Barbour High School
  2nd Place: Wayne High School
  3rd Place: Webster County High School


Division 1AAA Band Awards
  1st Place: Nitro High School
  2nd Place: Lincoln County High School
  3rd Place: Lewis County High School


Division 2AAA Band Awards
  1st Place: Ripley High School
  2nd Place: Saint Albans High School
  3rd Place: Huntington High School


Division 3AAA Band Awards
  1st Place: Cabell Midland High School
  2nd Place: Hurricane High School
  3rd Place: Martinsburg High School


Division 1A Percussion Awards
  1st Place: Buffalo High School
  2nd Place: Gilmer County High School
  3rd Place: Wirt County High School


Division 2A Percussion Awards
  1st Place: Magnolia High School
  2nd Place: Tyler Consolidated High School
  3rd Place: Saint Marys High School


Division 1AA Percussion Awards
  1st Place: Poca High School
  2nd Place: Sissonville High School
  3rd Place: Ritchie County High School


Division 2AA Percussion Awards
  1st Place (Tie): Wayne High School/Philip Barbour High School
  3rd Place: Pikeview High School


Division 1AAA Percussion Awards
  1st Place: Nitro High School
  2nd Place: Lincoln County High School
  3rd Place: Lewis County High School


Division 2AAA Percussion Awards
  1st Place: Ripley High School
  2nd Place: Huntington High School
  3rd Place: Saint Albans High School


Division 3AAA Percussion Awards
  1st Place: Hurricane High School
  2nd Place: Cabell Midland High School
  3rd Place: Martinsburg High School


Division 1A Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Buffalo High School
  2nd Place: Gilmer County High School
  3rd Place: Paden City High School


Division 2A Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Tyler Consolidated High School
  2nd Place: Magnolia High School
  3rd Place: Saint Marys High School


Division 1AA Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Poca High School
  2nd Place: Petersburg High School
  3rd Place: Sissonville High School


Division 2AA Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Wayne High School
  2nd Place: Philip Barbour High School
  3rd Place: Pikeview High School


Division 1AAA Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Lincoln County High School
  2nd Place: Nitro High School
  3rd Place: Lewis County High School


Division 2AAA Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Ripley High School
  2nd Place: Saint Albans High School
  3rd Place: Huntington High School


Division 3AAA Drum Major Awards
  1st Place: Cabell Midland High School
  2nd Place: Hurricane High School
  3rd Place: Greenbrier East High School


Division 1A Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Wahama Junior/Senior High School
  2nd Place: Wirt County High School
  3rd Place: Paden City High School


Division 2A Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Magnolia High School
  2nd Place: Fayetteville High School
  3rd Place: Richwood High School


Division 1AA Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Petersburg High School
  2nd Place: Sissonville High School
  3rd Place: Poca High School


Division 2AA Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Wayne High School
  2nd Place: Philip Barbour High School
  3rd Place: Pikeview High School


Division 1AAA Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Shady Spring High School
  2nd Place: Nitro High School
  3rd Place: Lincoln County High School


Division 2AAA Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Ripley High School
  2nd Place: Buckhannon-Upshur High School
  3rd Place: Saint Albans High School


Division 3AAA Color Guard Awards
  1st Place: Cabell Midland High School
  2nd Place: Hurricane High School
  3rd Place: Martinsburg High School


Division 1A Soloist Award
  1st Place: Gilmer County High School


Division 2A Soloist Award
  1st Place: Tyler Consolidated High School


Division 1AA Soloist Award
  1st Place: Poca High School


Division 2AA Soloist Award
  1st Place: Philip Barbour High School


Division 1AAA Soloist Award
  1st Place: Lincoln County High School


Division 2AAA Soloist Award
  1st Place: Ripley High School (Duet)


Division 3AAA Soloist Award
  1st Place: Cabell Midland High School


Twirler Awards
  1st Place: Lincoln County High School
  2nd Place: Richwood High School
  3rd Place: Cabell Midland High School


Majorette Awards
  1st Place: Richwood High School
  2nd Place: Philip Barbour High School
  3rd Place: Webster County High School


Best Dressed Director
  Brian Dunfee, Wayne High School


The West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) also inducted two band directors into the Marching Band Directors Hall of Fame. Honorees included Greg James of Richwood High School, Nicholas County and Timothy James of Cabell Midland High School, Cabell County. Together they have spent more than 70 years inspiring young students with a love of music and teaching spectacular performance skills that the audience can celebrate and enjoy. The inductees were selected from a list of nominations submitted to the WVDCH.

The West Virginia Marching Band Invitational was sponsored by the WVDCH in participation with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Department of Education and The Arts.  The Marching Band Invitational helps to promote, encourage and celebrate arts education throughout West Virginia.

For more information about the Marching Band Invitational, contact Caryn Gresham,  deputy commissioner of the division, at 304.558.0220 or at “caryn.s.gresham@wv.gov” .

GCHS Marching Band Titans, THE CLASS A STATE MARCHING BAND CHAMPIONS

The Free Press WV

The Gilmer County High School Marching Titans competed Saturday October 24, 2015 in Charleston WV and brought home the Class A State Champ win.

WAY TO GO MARCHING TITANS!!!

They also placed in other areas as well.

2nd Place Class 1A Percussion

2nd Place Class 1A Field Commander

Class 1A Most Outstanding Soloist

Class 1A FIRST PLACE Band


And…..


CLASS A STATE MARCHING BAND CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!

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First Lady Encouragrs Student Participation In Annual Children’s Ornament Competition

Kindergarten through 12th grade art students urged to
create “candy” themed ornaments for Capitol Christmas Tree

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV -  First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin is encouraging all students - kindergarten through 12th grade - to create a “candy” themed ornament to be displayed on the State Capitol Christmas Tree, which will be located in the Capitol Rotunda.

“I look forward to continuing this wonderful tradition and hope to increase participation to make this year’s contest the biggest one yet,“ First Lady Tomblin said. “The Governor and I invite all kindergarten through 12th grade art classes to join in the holiday festivities and submit ornaments to help us decorate our Capitol Christmas tree.“

In order to give sufficient time for the winning class to be notified, each decorated ornament must be received no later than Friday, November 06, 2015. For submission information, contact Beth Hughes at 304.558.2440 or by email at .

First Lady Tomblin added, “This competition has become a winter tradition and a huge part of Joyful Night, the state’s annual holiday celebration. It gives us the chance to showcase the talent of students from all across the Mountain State.“

During the past ten years, students have been asked to create decorations representing everything from snowflakes and stockings to natural resources and teachers.

Every art class in the state is invited to submit an ornament that reflects or represents “candy” in some way.  The ornaments will be classified in four divisions according to grade: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  Each ornament will be individually judged, and four winners will be selected, one from each division.

The ornaments and Christmas tree will be unveiled in conjunction with Joyful Night, the annual holiday celebration at the State Capitol, which will be held on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. The winning classes will receive a $125 gift certificate for art supplies and will be recognized by the Governor and First Lady during Joyful Night festivities.

The winning ornaments will be displayed in the Capitol Rotunda throughout the holiday season, and in January 2016, they will be donated to the West Virginia State Museum for their permanent collection.

4th Annual High School Marching Band Invitational

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON,  WV – On Saturday, October 24, 35 high school marching bands from across the state will compete in Charleston at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field for the 4th annual West Virginia Marching Band Invitational.

The West Virginia Marching Band Invitational is sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) in participation with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Department of Education and The Arts. The Marching Band Invitational helps to promote, encourage and celebrate arts education throughout West Virginia.

The day’s activities begin at 10:30 a.m. with the Hurricane Middle School Band’s performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” and Sissonville High School’s JROTC posting of the colors. The competition begins at 10:45 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.

Bands will be judged on general effect, marching and maneuvering, music, music effect, percussion, drum major, color guard, majorettes and feature twirler.

Tickets are $7 for adults and children 12 years of age and older; $5 for children under 12 years of age. Programs will be sold for $4.

The complete performance schedule:

10:30 a.m.    Hurricane Middle School Band and Sissonville High School JROTC
National Anthem and Posting of Colors

10:45 a.m.    Wirt County High School (1A)
Elizabeth, Wirt County

11 a.m.        St. Marys High School (2A)
St. Marys, Pleasants County

11:15 a.m.    Lincoln County High School (1AAA)
Hamlin, Lincoln County

11:30 a.m.    Calhoun County Middle/High School (1A)
Mt. Zion, Calhoun County

11:45 a.m.    Fayetteville High School (2A)
Fayetteville, Fayette County

Noon           Poca High School (1AA)
Poca, Putnam County

12:15 p.m.    Pikeview High School (2AA)
Princeton, Mercer County

12:30 p.m.    St. Albans High School (2AAA)
St. Albans, Kanawha County

12:45 p.m.    LUNCH

1:30 p.m.      Lewis County High School (1AAA)
Weston, Lewis County

1:45 p.m.      Buffalo High School (1A)
Buffalo, Putnam County

2 p.m.          Tyler Consolidated High School (2A)
Sistersville, Tyler County

2:15 p.m.      Sissonville High School, (1AA)
Sissonville, Kanawha County

2:30 p.m.      Chapmanville Regional High School (1AA)
Chapmanville, Logan County

2:45 p.m.      Doddridge County High School (2A)
West Union, Doddridge County

3 p.m.          Martinsburg High School (3AAA)
Martinsburg, Berkeley County

3:15 p.m.      Percussion Exhibition    
Bethany College Percussion Ensemble
Bethany, Brooke County

3:30 p.m.      Paden City High School (1A)
Paden City, Wetzel County

3:45 p.m.      Ritchie County High School (1AA)
Ellenboro, Ritchie County
               
4 p.m.          Tug Valley High School (2A)
Williamson, Mingo County

4:15 p.m.      Webster County High School (2AA)
Upper Glade, Webster County

4:30 p.m.      Oak Hill High School (1AAA)
Oak Hill, Fayette County

4:45 p.m.      Buckhannon-Upshur High School (2AAA)
Buckhannon, Upshur County

5 p.m.        Shady Spring High School (1AAA)
Shady Spring, Raleigh County

5:15 p.m.      Majorette Competition
Miss Majorette

5:45 p.m.      Wahama Junior/Senior High School (1A)
Mason, Mason County

6 p.m.          Magnolia High School (2A)
New Martinsville, Wetzel County
               
6:15 p.m.      Petersburg High School (1AA)
Petersburg, Grant County

6:30 p.m.      Philip Barbour High School (2AA)
Philippi, Barbour County
               
6:45 p.m.      Nitro High School (1AAA)
Nitro, Kanawha County

7 p.m.          Hurricane High School (3AAA)
Hurricane, Putnam County
       
7:15 p.m.      Gilmer County High School (1A)
                  Glenville, Gilmer County

7:30 p.m.      Richwood High School (2A)
Richwood, Nicholas County
       
7:45 p.m.      Wayne High School (2AA)
Wayne, Wayne County
               
8 p.m.          Huntington High School (2AAA)
Huntington, Cabell County

8:15 p.m.      Greenbrier East High School (3AAA)
Lewisburg, Greenbrier County

8:30 p.m.      Ripley High School (2AAA)
Ripley, Jackson County

8:45 p.m.      Cabell Midland High School (3AAA)
Ona, Cabell County

9 p.m.        Awards              
Awards Presentations

Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center Business Class Students Attend the FBLA National Leadership Conference

C-GCC Game Design Team made it to Chicago for the FBLA NLC June 29-July 02, 2015 and participated in the national competition.

It was a very stiff competition with competitors from all over the country, but Alec Richards and Thomas Eakle worked hard and did a very good job.

The boys also got a chance to visit several places while in Chicago and received valuable knowledge about the area.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in any of our fund raisers and/or donated funds for our trip, we couldn’t have done this without you.

Next years national conference will be in Atlanta, GA and hopefully our students will be able to attend it as well.

The Gilmer Free Press
NLC Opening Ceremonies in Chicago, Illinois
(L-R) Thomas Eakle and Alec Richards




The Gilmer Free Press
WV FBLA students getting pumped up for the conference



The Gilmer Free Press
Practicing for their Game Design Competition
The Gilmer Free Press

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Readers' Recent Comments

During intervention the State had dictatorial control of our school system to include all decisions related to the GCES.

One result is that the GCES was built too small.

An investigation is needed to determine who was responsible for the bad decision, and what role the no-bid architectural firm had in designing and constructing the school.

Something major happened to cause the GCES to be built too small. Was something dropped at the expense of adequate class room space as a result of having to spend extra money because a poor site was selected?

Minimally, gross incompetency on the State’s part is the explanation for the disaster foisted onto the County.

A question pertains to the new gym. Lots of effort was taken by the State to try to convince the public that a competition gym instead of a regular gym was needed.

Did the competition gym cost extra money at the expense of needed classroom space? If the answer is affirmative who was responsible for deciding on the more expensive gym?

What about the enormous pit at the GCES? Was money spent on it at the expense of classrooms because something was wrong with the school’s site that was selected by the State?

Nothing similar to the pit has been seen at other sites where new WV schools were built.

Why has there been a failure for a thorough investigation to have occurred to expose the facts?

The obvious explanation is that powerful elitists in control do not want tracks leading to them, and they have veto power over a meaningful investigation including one done by a leading newspaper.

By GCES Built Too Small Scandal on 01.15.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Pat McGroyne is spot on.
High speed internet is simply another failure of WV state government.

If the elected in our state, were doing the job expected by voters….we should have very few problems or issues?

By Gilmer resident on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Muddling has another distinct symptom. It is the tendency for administrators in control to emphasize processes and procedures while avoiding disclosure of progress, or the lack thereof, in achieving learning results.

The purpose is another way to avoid personal accountability for school system failures.

By Muddling Epidemic In WV School Systems on 01.14.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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West Virginia is number one!
Our politicians are the best that can be had.
They are also the lobbyers dream come true.
No one—-can out-muddle our elected reps !

By we know it on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Suggestion after reading strategic plans for the GCHS and the GCES.

How about the school board requiring that for each school an informative executive summary be written to include——where each school stands on reading, math, and science proficiency, what the term proficiency means to eliminate the confusion, student proficiency goals for the two school, target time to expect goals to be achieved, and a statement to commit to keeping the public informed of progress in achieving the goals at designated intervals (e.g. quarterly) during a school year.

Omit confusing abbreviations and technical terms understood only by a select few in the education field, and written for comprehension by reasonable persons.

Leave it up to the County’s professional educators to determine how to get the job done with continual laser-like focus on getting results.

By Student Learning at GCHS and GCES on 01.13.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Muddling infects federal, state, and local government entities where personal accountability for top officials to get measurable results rarely exists.

Muddling practitioners are famous for passing off information unrelated to measurable proof that effective problem-solving has occurred. A common example is emphasizing how much public money is being spent to attempt to convince tax payers that magnitudes of expenditures are always directly correlated to levels of problem-solving successes.

Muddling by an organization is characterized by the existence of thick planning documents replete with vagueness and lack of clarity, undefined technical terms, and mysterious acronyms.

Muddling thrives on intentional ambiguity and confusion designed to protect muddlers and their organizations.

By Muddling 101 on 01.11.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Gilmer County is not the only place in the USA that has been faced with its students failing to meet proficiency standards for science, reading, and math.

The difference here is that evidence is lacking to conclusively demonstrate that Gilmer County’s officials in control have exerted proper efforts to profit form powerful lessons learned elsewhere to use that knowledge to help solve learning deficiencies in our schools.

In fact, a convincing argument could be made that the approach in the County has been the one professional planners designate as muddling through.

Classic symptoms of muddling through include failure to thoroughly analyze categories of causes contributing to problems followed up by using the information to develop a comprehensive plan to do the most good in getting better results by treating key causes instead of symptoms.

Muddling typically involves officials assigning blame for lack of progress to outside forces e.g., the “culture”, the State did it to us, and poverty. Haven’t we heard plenty of that?

Muddling must be eliminated if we want progress in solving non-performance problems within the County’s school system. Does anyone disagree?

By End School System Muddling on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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It is unclear after reading school board meeting minutes what progress if any is being made by GCHS and GCES principals in improving student proficiency in reading, math and science.

Why not allocate a few sentences in the minutes to summarize what the two principals reported to the school board?

All it would take to get the critical information out to citizens would be for the new school board to act on this.

Does anyone have a problem with the suggested change to keep Gilmer’s bill paying public informed?

By Need Specifics For Principal's Reports on 01.09.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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“High speed broadband – a necessity for today’s homes, businesses and other institutions – remains a huge unmet need for rural residents, despite promises by a succession of Governors from both parties (a contributing factor in why we’re losing population at a rate higher than any other state).“

I disagree with much of what Mr.Boggs believes.  That said, high-speed broadband is the single most important step the State of WV could take to improve the business climate and provide more opportunities for its citizens.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Conversation at local eatery.
Shortly after election.
Individuals were educators.

‘You think we have school problems now, wait until these new folks take the steering wheel’.

‘Students, parents, staff are all going to be in the soup’.

Sounds as if Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving vacation-deer season times have all taken a big hit.  If that is true, the union teachers need to come together, stand their ground, along with parents, and hold this new board accountable.

Have a local strike if need be.
Request resignations.
Vote of no confidence.

Schools employees can win.
You have done it before.
Just stick together.

By overheard conversation on 01.08.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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Scholarship must be the most important focus in Gilmer County’s schools.

Brought up the ZOOMWV Data Dashboard site to review the most recent State achievement test results for GCHS’s 11th grade.

Folks, Gilmer is in serious trouble. Proficiency for math=24%, reading=41%, and science=24%.

On an A through F grading scales the GCHS gets an F for all three subject areas.

What does the new school board have to show for inroads it has made since last July to make critically needed proficiency improvements at the HS? Citizens deserve answers to the question.

By ZOOMWV Data Dashboard on 01.07.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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A thorough accounting for where all the public money went could be easily achieved by a competent accountant.

Isn’t there a special account at the County’s school board office for expenditures related to all bills paid and who got the money?

Following the money trail always gets results along with verification of means, motives, and access.

By Let An Accountant Dig It Out on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If central office financial records for all public money paid out for everything from site planning, site studies and development, and everything else to get to completion of the GCES and the LES—- what is the reason?

It is known that money was spent on the Arbuckle site and Cedar Creek, and public money was paid out for the LES too.

Were County records for the spending purged and if that happened who ordered the action? The records are either in the County’s central office or they aren’t.

By End Financial Secrecy on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Hasn’t the time come to finally start naming names and making people accountable?

By Get It Done on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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How about the “BIG WV WINDFALL”....?

For 3 or 4 months now we keep hearing about the millions of dollars of tax revenue collected.

Millions and millions above ‘estimates’.  Were those ‘estimates’ honest, or fudged to begin with, so as to request higher tax rates?

Well, Justice and the Legislature now have our dollars, what will become of this windfall? Will we see tax rates lowered?  Doubt full, but we should.

Likely this windfall, created by “over-taxation”, will simply create a “party atmosphere” of legislative spending. Watch the Charleston ‘gangsters’ get their wish lists ready this coming session.

By taxpayers always lose on 11.21.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Yes.  The blame Does seem to fall to ‘local’ people. In small places like Gilmer County, it’s just a poker game, boys, and the deep pockets win.  Money speaks volumes where ‘officials’ stay silent.  Go ask for the records, see what they’ve got.

By CheatersNeverWin on 11.20.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Teachers and staff knew from the beginning that the GCES was going to be too small. They were ordered by the State to keep quiet about the shortfall and other serious concerns too.

A sixth grader could understood how many rooms were needed by dividing total student numbers to attend the school by how many students should be in a classroom.

Under sizing was the State’s fault and it cannot be rationalized any other way including to assign the blame to local people. Same applies to the over sized LCES.

By Corrupt State Intervention on 11.19.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There will never be a full, public accounting of the gross mishandling of tax dollars during WVDOE intervention.
Too many local jobs and too many embarrassments of both elected and appointed bureaucrats.
These types cover dirt for each other.

Any local whistle blowers?  Doubtful.

One school built short 4 classrooms and another built with 5 too many.  Can it get more stupid than that?
Mr. Degree and Ms. Common Sense seldom travel together.

By Full accounting will never be revealed. Never. on 11.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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GCBOE when the two principals give reports at board meeting could the gist of what they said be summarized in minutes to keep the County informed?

It was a welcomed development by the Board to require principals to give reports particularly if there are required updates on progress designed to improve student learning for reading, math, and other subjects.

We still have not been informed about the status of science proficiency at the GCHS based on the latest testing. Why has the State failed to release the data? Were results too dismal?

By More Specifics For Principal's Reports on 11.17.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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If it is going to cost extra money to eliminate over crowding at the GCES the financial information referenced by Do It Ourselves should be presented to Charleston and the press too.

That would help frame a solid case that crowding problems were not caused by Gilmer County because all decisions related to facilities were dictated by officials over whom the County had no oversight authority during the State’s intervention.

By Follow The Money on 11.16.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is assumed that all records for spending to include money paid out for the LCES, dropped Arbuckle site, dropped Cedar Creek site, and all bills for the GCES are in the Gilmer Schools central office.

The new GCBOE has authority to get to the truth by demanding a thorough accounting for all the spending.

Afterwards the financial officer in the central office could easily access existing computerized records and to use the information for a report to the GCBOE and the public.

By Do It Ourselves on 11.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Notice that most of the ‘officials’ in Gilmer County also hold regular day jobs - sometimes working on more than one paying ‘job’ at a time in the same office space. This common practice is concerning for many reasons, and it needs to be talked about when so many go without.

By QuestionablePractice on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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There are two views in the County related to the under built GCES. Although the State built the school with inadequate classrooms one group believes that we should move on to let go of the past.

Isn’t this a form of advocacy for a coverup to prevent accountability for the State’s incompetence and mismanagement?

The other group believes that there should be a full accounting for all public money spent up to the time the GCES was completed to include disclosure of recipients of the public money. 

The accounting should be done for all public money spent at the LCES, the Arbuckle site, Cedar Creek, and finally the GCES.

Reasons for the under built GCES should be fully disclosed too. When the State was in control this information was kept secret from the public with loud claims that there was adequate space at the GCES.

Now it is known that there is inadequate space at the GCES and the problem is left to Gilmer County to fix. Only in WV!

By Citizens For Financial Disclosure on 11.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Unprofessional issues,rude commentsand rolling eyes at the high school has become an issue. Being on cell phone talking to boyfriends,when parents etc.going into the office. Since the teachers were ask not to be on them while students in the classroom. The one in the office should not be allowed to talk personal to her boyfriend, or whoever. Also, I hope this is corrected, the personal days, etc that the board provides to staff shouldn’t be allowed to use to work or operate a second job. Let’s get the priorities straight.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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GULMER COUNTY BOE. It is time for me to let you know some issues that is going on at the High school.  I’m hoping this will be addressed at the next board meeting. 1. It should not matter if an employee has a second job or run a business. The priority job is for the board. One should not be allowed to use any time from the board to run your business. There is going on
If they want to run your business than go but not on the boards time. I would like for all employees be treated the equal. They should not be allowed to use the time the board gives them for other jobs.

By Jo Ann conrad on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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While at it there should be an investigation of why the LES was build with too many classrooms and the GCES was built with too few. At the very least what happened is a WV horror story example of the State’s waste and mismanagement.

By Where Is The Investigation? on 11.11.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It is obvious that the GCES has a major space problem.

What options for dealing with the State’s mismanagement to cause the serious blunder are being considered by the Board of Education?

Could the original architectural design for the dropped Cedar Creek site be compared to what resulted at the GCES to accurately determine the extent of classroom space alterations?

If the architectural design at the GCES is different than the original plan for Cedar Creek the next step should be to determine reasons for the changes and where the money originally planned for needed classrooms went.

By INFO REQUEST TO GCBOE on 11.09.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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It’s long been known that Justice doesn’t happen in Gilmer County “because it all comes down to money”. And for those in charge of handling it and making decisions, it comes down to being competent to do the job,  keep accurate books and accounts and I’m sorry to say, that is seriously lacking in Gilmer County.

By Follow the Paycheck(s) on 11.06.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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What is GSC’s BOG’s plan for getting money for the next payment on the $38,000,000 bond loan the Gilmer County Commission approved?

Will the State pay or will the money come from private donations?

Money will have to come from somewhere to avoid a default.

By Where Is The Money? on 11.05.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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So sorry to hear of Kendall’s passing. I have fond memories of him at Uncle Paul’s store and the family reunions. I’m sure he will be missed greatly by those closest to him.
Please accept condolences from me and my family.

By Steve Lewis on 11.04.2018

From the entry: 'Kendall Goodwin'.

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GSC’s present plight is no secret and its future existence is in question.

Instead of expressing attitudes that GSC is being picked on could the Blue Ribbon Commission reveal why the College “tested out” as it did to fail to get more State money?

Was the “grading system” based on student enrollment trends, retention, time taken to get a degree, academic reputation, inept governance and administration, and other factors to block more funding? Informative specifics were not disclosed.

Teachers know that concerned students who want to do better always seek advice on what needs to be done to get better grades.

Similar to concerned students GSC’s supporters should be informed of what needs to be done to position the College for improved chances for survival to include eligibility for more State funding.

Saying that GSC is being picked on does nothing to help solve its nagging problems.

By What Was The Grading System? on 10.30.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Well thank you, Details Please,  for asking!  So many problems in Gilmer and education is just one.  Look at the town, take a good look around.  Remember who runs unopposed at election time.  Vote.  Make a difference.  Hold authority figures responsible.  Allow videos, minutes and more to be shared on GFP again, for transparency.  Know your neighbors, help a friend.  Be good to each other. Amen.

By Reader7 on 10.29.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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I will truly miss my Uncle Stephen.  Telling me so much information about from gardening to canning. Just to listening to him talk with such passion for everything that he does… he had a sense of humor that always warms my heart.. listening to him play the banjo sometimes even when he didn’t feel good. he is always willing to share his recipes and his ways of doing things… his solar information he was always studying something ... I’m remember one time we asked him where he got his blackberries when it wasn’t Blackberry season and he go there’s a store down the road it’s called Walmart they have everything… He was so funny.  I love you.. xoxo.

By Robin Nunez on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Sorry for your loss. He sure did look like his father.

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

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Reader 7, please give details for your suggested solutions to the County’s concerns you addressed.

The information would be helpful for consideration by school system administrators and the general public.

By Details Please on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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There is speculation that the plan is for GSC to convert to an education center for low risk federal inmates. Is this something the County and central WV needs?

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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Dr. Pellett’s commentary in the 10/26/2018 issue of the Gazette includes a statement that GSC is responsible for injecting $28,000,000 into the local economy.

If GSC were to close loss of the money would cause the County to have more severe poverty than it has now.

The pressing challenge is for GSC’s administrators including its Board of Governors to exercise effective leadership to prevent closure.

Why can’t GSC take action on the long standing suggestion for it to be an innovator by establishing a five year teacher education program to enable students to earn a masters degree by graduation time?

Something must be done in WV to deal with the 700 positions for which certified teachers including those for math, science and special education are not in the classrooms.

Dr. Pellett and GSC’s Board of Governors why is a new teacher education program at the College not a viable option? Nothing else seems to be working.

The need exists, a similar program of excellence does not exist anywhere in the State, and GSC’s status would be elevated by having a masters degree program.

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

From the entry: 'Paine: Plan to improve math scores to focus on algebra where a third of teachers aren’t certified'.

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GSC could make a valuable contribution to WV by doing a study to report on how grade and elementary schools with excellent results in math and reading did it.

Then, other schools could use the information as guidance instead of going it alone to reinvent the wheel.

With the Ed.D. expertise at GSC it would be a natural to take on the assignment. Dr. Pellett, would you back the initiative?

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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There is reference to signing an agreement with the State for math4life for all WV school districts. What has Gilmer County agreed to do to fix our problems?

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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This important news has potential for making significant progress in improving math and reading outcomes in WV.

It hinges on how quickly advantage can be taken from lessons learned in schools that excelled.

The WVBE could do an analysis of reasons for excelling and to quickly provide guidance information to other schools.

That is the way the private sector approaches problem-solving because chronic failures have consequences and the unfit are weeded out.

Dr. O’Cull could help if the WVBE is not responsive. There could be panels of individuals from excelling schools to make presentations at WV School Board Association meetings to explain what their schools did to make the achievements.

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

From the entry: 'InMyOpinion™: Balanced Scorecard -- Where do we go from here?'.

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A characteristic of a good strategic plan is to simplify language to enable a clear understanding of all its details.

Regarding the comment about abbreviations, a simple fix for them and terms (e.g. lexile) would be to insert an asterisk or a footnote symbol the first time one of them is used to refer readers to a section at the end of the documents where the entries are defined.

This comment is not intended to be a criticism. All specialty fields have a language of their own including the teaching profession.

Suggested clarity improvements in the plans would not be time consuming for principals at the County’s two schools.

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Looked at the strategic plan for the GCES. It is a major achievement for the new GCBE to provide the information to the public.

Suggestion. Could the GCBOE post a meaning of all abbreviations in the plan? Doing that would make it far easier for readers to understand details in the plan.

By Help Understanding on 10.17.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Thanks Mrs. Lowther and the BOE for providing meeting minutes for the public to read.

Those of us who voted for the levy would appreciate receiving specific information for what is being done at the grade school and the high school to make needed improvements for college and career readiness.

Could a current overview and updates throughout the school year be provided to the public?

Why not put the details on websites of the two schools to give the principals a chance to shine?

By Levy Supporter on 10.16.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting Minutes'.

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“engage in pedantic colloquy?“

No Bill.

By WEKNOWYOU on 10.14.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Correct.  I do not wish to engage in back and forth useless ‘banter’ with big words and no results.  What I AM interested in is Gilmer County, in all it’s ways.  Education, Food, Law and Transparency.  Fancy words are often used to hide, divide, and distract..  Plain words speaking truth for the safety and well being of the people is what I’m looking for..  Gilmer is suffering… I want it to stop. I want to see the citizens healthy, educated and strong. I want to see more jobs instead of food banks.  I want Committee meetings for all to see. I want the law to do what it should, when it should.  Plain english would work fine.  Thanks for asking.

By Reader7 on 10.14.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Lol 7, you do not wish to engage in a pedantic colloquy?

By Smart Feller on 10.13.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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All nice but a small request? Can we simplify some of the language?  Don’t mean to be rude, but fancy works aren’t needed for the Truth.

By Reader7 on 10.12.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Stop living the delusion the state will fix education.
They have caused the problem.
Remember, for them, job one IS job protection.

Rare in history, that the cause of a problem, has come forth with a solution to what they have caused. They keep resetting testing standards so as not have any ‘yardstick’ they can be measured against.  Apparently people just don’t get it?  And the WVBOE is so happy about that.

By it-ain't-a-gonna-happen. period. on 10.12.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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There is a continuum for sophistication regarding what is done with data.

Collecting and compiling it is at the low end of sophistication.

Synthesis is at the high end.

This means using results and other information to make specific recommendations for making improvements.

The State took its typical easy way out by failing to go beyond the data compilation stage.

By Easy Way Out on 10.10.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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The comment about need to find out what was done at high performance schools to determine what we could do in Gilmer County to get the same results merits a comment.

The comment flags what is wrong with the State BOE in failing to provide effective leadership.

Does anyone recall a single instance, after tens of millions of dollars were spent on amassing data, when the State BOE did anything to effectively address lessons learned at high performance schools for application at other schools?

Of course not! It is the easy way out for those in high income brackets in Charleston to collect data instead of using it to the maximum to take full advantage of lessons learned.

Could the WV School Board Association help fill the gap?

By Lost Opportunity on 10.07.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Harry, So sorry to hear of the passing of your wife.  I’m also sorry that I never got to know her because if she was anything like you, I’m sure she was pretty special.  Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.  May God’s love be with you my friend.

By Greg Garvin on 10.04.2018

From the entry: 'Judith “Judy” Carolyn Buckley Rich'.

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What is the BOE’s proficiency goal for English and mathematics and what is the time frame for achieving the goal? That is news citizens want.

Then too, how can citizens at large get involved to honor and to encourage students who improve, and what of a similar nature could be done to give special recognition to outstanding teachers who contribute to improved learning for English and math?

By Positive Changes Made By New BOE on 10.04.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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The BOE and Mrs Lowther deserve high praise for disclosing proficiency information to the public.

It is the first time since 2011 anything like this has happened.

We still do not know about results for science, and it is understood that Charleston is still “working” on it.

Now we know our serious shortcomings in math and English and there is new hope for burrowing out of the mess with everyone in Gilmer working together.

By Thanks Gilmer BOE on 10.03.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released Outlining School Performance In Gilmer County'.

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Well, dear citizen… sometimes the local ‘law’ gets it wrong.  #truth #JusticeForGilmer

By Transparency matters on 09.30.2018

From the entry: '33 charged in methamphetamine distribution operations in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia Counties'.

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Soooo…...why do we never see a big drug bust in Gilmer?
With the college and others, there are plenty sources.
Seems strange?

By citizen 3 on 09.23.2018

From the entry: '33 charged in methamphetamine distribution operations in Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia Counties'.

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If you access http://www.mywvschool.com it is evident that some schools outpace others for math and English.

For examples look at data for Lizemore Elementary in Clay County, Alum Creek Elementary in Kanawha County, Rock Branch Elementary in Putnam county, and Greenmont Elementary in Wood County.

Gilmer BOE why not assign someone to evaluate what is being done at those school and others to make them State standouts and to apply lessons learned to our elementary schools?

The same applies to learning from others regarding how to get high marks at GCHS.

By Learn What Works From Others on 09.23.2018

From the entry: 'WV and Area Counties Balanced Scorecard for School Year 2017-2018'.

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I have not read anyone blaming our teachers.  Quite the contrary.
There have been some well thought out comments submitted too.
I am old enough to remember when we had few issues about quality education.

Forget Charleston? Better not.
Believe we are still in their “probation” period.
You better check out just what that means.

By GC--still on state probation? on 09.22.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Why not go for it on our own and use the tried and widely accepted Iowa Test of Basic Skills to evaluate learning proficiency of our children?

It is the longest running test in America and it goes back to 1936.

One outcome of using the test is that each grade would be evaluated and compared to performances to schools in other parts of America.

We would probably have to go through hoop jumps of the State’s everchanging testing too.

By Iowa Test For Gilmer on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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To compound complexity of the issue, Gilmer is different from McDowell and both are different than Monongahela.

The implication is that getting out of the crisis must be county-specific and there is no one size that will fit all of WV’s 55 school systems.

Each county is on its own and ones with the best planning, local boards of education, and administrators will shine. Forget about Charleston!

By County-Specific on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Similar to most complex problems there are several categories contributing to WV’s dismal failure in improving education results in our grade and high schools.

Information in referred journal is beginning to show up. Some of the categories include curriculum issues in high schools, block scheduling failures in high schools, inordinate emphasis on sports at the expense of academics, inadequate prep of grade schoolers to ensure that they get firm foundations in math and English Language Arts, failure to instill need for life long learning at early ages, failure for school systems to fund continuing education of teachers to prepare them for newly emerged practices for enhanced student learning, cultural impediments including failure of some families to encourage children and to give them extra learning help at home, dysfunctional families for children to grow up in caused by drug and alcohol abuse and chronic unemployment, grade inflation characterized by too many As and Bs and attitudes that nobody fails so pass them along, failure of school boards to hire the best qualified superintendents and teachers because of local emphasis on favoring “home grow” individuals, failure of school boards to define performance expectations for superintendents to make effective accountability impossible, constantly changing types of State mandated testing to cause chaos and morale problems, poor compensation of teachers necessary to attract and keep the best and the brightest, etc.

To blame all problems on teachers is a cruel travesty.

One of the weakest links contributing to a lack of progress in improving WV schools is that instead of analyzing the full spectrum of contributing problems and focusing on ones with the biggest payoff potential, the trend in Charleston is to constantly apply band aid approaches with hopes that “cures” will be stumbled on accidentally.

By Do Not Blame It All On Our Teachers on 09.21.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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The problem with preK-12 education in WV is that a holistic and and technically defensible evaluation of contributing factors to cause WV’s problems and how to deal with them has not occurred.

Instead, under direction of clueless politicians ineffective muddling prevails while selling what is done at a particular time as the definitive solution.

How many times have we witnessed muddling over the past 20-30 Years? It still goes on in Charleston.

Why not obtain a grant to have qualified experts analyze success stories around the Nation and use findings to craft a demonstration project in Gilmer County to improve our school system?

Regardless of what we do there must be open minds in seeking out what to do in homes, schools,  teacher education programs in our institutions of higher learning, continuing education for classroom teachers, and to involve various factions in our community to achieve acceptable results. Everyone must band together as a unified team to make it work.

One trap is over emphasis of sports. If the same magnitude of attention and importance were to be focused on solving preK-12 education problems in WV, great strides could be made to benefit deserving children.

By Muddling on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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Our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Mr. Ron. I too know this pain of losing a beloved father. Both of these men were taken way too soon. Praying maybe Mr.Ron, my Dad, and all the former Westinghouse employees in heaven are getting together. Love and prayers from, Adrienne and family.

By Adrienne (Trimper) Johnson on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'Ronald J. Vanskiver'.

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West Virginia’s educational failures is NOT because of classroom teachers.

It IS because of the WV Board of Education’s failures of the past 20-30 years.

That 9 member, lopsided governor board is a crime against children and education in WV as a whole.

It needs 3 teachers, 3 general public parent members, and 3 governor appointees.

Until that governors click gang is broken up, you simply see repeats of the past.  NO progress in education.

It will take the legislature to fix it, but they are too busy with the legislature created court system failure, while trying to line pockets with gas and oil money.

By Tell It Like It Is ! on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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What is the plausible rationale for Gilmer not disclosing detailed facts similar to what Superintendent Hosaflook did?

Wood County reported 11,176 students in its 27 schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

In comparison Gilmer had 734 reported students in our two schools for the full FY 2018 school year.

Wood County had 15 times more students than Gilmer and it is reasonable to assume that it was 15 times more demanding to administer with its 27 schools.

If Wood County could get detailed facts out to the public with its significantly higher work load what keeps tiny Gilmer from doing the same?

By Why Gilmer BOE? on 09.18.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Wood County Schools exceeds state test averages'.

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We have not had a responsible, functioning, WVBE for 20 years.
Not one that would accept any responsibility.

They just keep changing ‘score keeping’ so there can be no accurate tracking of student progress.

State ranks 48th or 49th on educational outcomes. Still.
Colleges still have to give remedial classes.

The ONLY thing that changes are the names of the governor appointed players.
And just look at the ‘cost-per-pupil’ spending!
We are about the highest in the nation.

West Virginia State Board of Education = complete failure.  Nothing less.

By just more smoke and mirrors on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Balanced Scorecard Released for Public Schools in West Virginia'.

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Never could figure out why working people, retirees, volunteers are picking up trash left by adults?

Not when we have the numbers of bored prisoners we have locked up doing nothing??

By No solution here- on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Adopt-A-Highway Fall Statewide Cleanup Set for September 29'.

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Go to http://www.mywvschool.org to access more official State information about Gilmer’s schools. There are serious red flags in need of immediate corrective attention.

If you access Lewis County schools on the same web site you can review info for LES. Look at the red flags there. Worse than GES.

Instead of using the info to criticize it can be useful in seeking out opportunities for making immediate improvements.

For those who take apologetic stands that Gilmer is doing as well as some other WV counties and everything is fine, it does not mean that inferior educations for our children are acceptable.

By Look At Red Flags on 09.16.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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Who is responsible for Gilmer’s oversight of the LES?

If you access the State’s website you will learn that math and reading is red flagged for the LCES to be as bad as it can get.

Why is it that nothing is reported in Gilmer County about how that school is doing when we know that our sixth grade finishers from over there will go to the GCHS to finish their educations? 

It is like our students who attend LCES are forgotten about. Someone needs to be watching out for them.

By Who Minds The Store on 09.15.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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The really sad stories are left out.
The students who accrue debt and for whatever reasons, drop out of school after a year or two.

They have little hope of improving incomes, but still have debt.
More of them than you think.

By More sad ones to be told. on 09.14.2018

From the entry: 'Student-Loan Debts a "Loss of Freedom" for Some in WV'.

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Information made ‘public’ forces accountability.
Do not hold your breath lest you turn blue.

‘They’ want elected. Get their place at the trough.
Then discover ‘exposure’ makes their work more difficult.

Informed citizens make informed decisions.
Why do we see the same names being elected over and over and over?

By WHEN we're allowed to see it......? on 09.14.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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Lots of work to be done with schools in Gilmer County. 2017-2018 Summative Assessments out today for student achievement.

Gilmer County High School.

For Math
*Exceed or Meet Standards=40% of Students.
*Fail to Meet Standards=60% of Students

For Reading
*Exceed or Meet Standards=36% of Students
*Fail to Meet Standards=64%

The scores speak volumes. What was done to accurately determine causes of failures and what will be done about it? BOE, the public has a right to know answers.

By Public Demands Answers on 09.13.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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The Founding Fathers screwed up, we should not have to work and pay our bills. Let that man behind the tree work and pay for it all.
Free education should be a right.
Free food should be a right.
Free healthcare should be a right. 
Free transportation should be a right.
Free entertainment should be a right.

By Smart Feller on 09.13.2018

From the entry: 'Student-Loan Debts a "Loss of Freedom" for Some in WV'.

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Thank you BOE members and Mrs. Lowther. Let’s work together at all community levels to make Gilmer County an educational power house in West Virginia. We can do it as an effective team and provision of information will be the key to success.

By Better Times On The Way on 09.12.2018

From the entry: 'Gilmer County Superintendent Set Her Goals for School Year'.

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Accountability - good point - and across Gilmer County.  We’ve seen glimpses and pieces of news WHEN we’re allowed to see it, mere mortals that we are. But never any follow up.  And the information come in bits and pieces (remember when we actually got to SEE what the Gilmer County Commission was up to?)  My question is, why do we never see the accountability or repercussion for actions of current Gilmer ‘elite’??

By Transparency matters on 09.12.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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Encouraging news that the superintendent will present her goals for Gilmer Schools on 9/10.

We assume that there will be a commitment for specific goals to achieve, measurable outcomes, completion dates for different steps and final goal achievement, and a meaningful monitoring program to determine if we are on track or there is need for mid-course fine tuning.

If any of this is missing there will not be meaningful accountability. Excellent business plans have all the components addressed above.

By Waiting To See on 09.09.2018

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals'.

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