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G-ICYMI™: Improving teacher quality in West Virginia

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

In a press release issued on February 23, 2017, Governor Jim Justice, after referencing West Virginia as being “50th,” commendably declared that “it’s time to restructure and rebuild our school system from the bottom up.”

I suggest the two foremost foundations upon which an exemplary public-school system should be restructured and rebuilt are teacher quality, and the learning/teaching model employed inside and outside the classroom.

By far the most important source of variation in student achievement is teacher quality.

The book “Surpassing Shanghai, An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems,” by a number of contributing authors edited by Marc S. Tucker, undertakes to answer this single question:

“How would we redesign the American education system if the aim were to take advantage of everything that has been learned by the countries with the best education systems in order to build a system better than any that now exists anywhere?”

The World’s Leading Education Systems reviewed were those of Shanghai (the head of the class); Finland (superb teachers — how to get them, how to use them); Japan (perennial league leader); Singapore (a journey to the top, step by step); and Canada (looks a lot like us but gets better results).

Obviously, everyone interested in improving student academic achievements would agree that public schools should attract educators with the highest level of general intelligence as can be achieved.

The achievability of that statement depends, in large part, upon the quality of the pool of young adults from which prospective teachers are recruited. As Marc Tucker noted in the cited book, “No private firm, much less than an entire industry, would prefer to recruit its professional staff from the least-able college graduates if it could do better than that.”

And yet, the College Board reported in 2008 that when high school graduates going on to college were asked what their intended major was, those who decided on education scored in the bottom third on their SATs. Their combined scores in mathematics and reading came in at 57 points below the national average.

According to Surpassing Shanghai, “Three things directly affect the quality of the pool from which a nation recruits its teachers: (1) the status of teaching in the eyes of the potential recruit relative to the status of other occupations to which he or she aspires, (2) the compensation offered relative to other possible choices, and (3) the conditions of work, or the degree to which the way the work is organized, makes it look more like professional work or like blue-collar work.”

Tucker observes that of these five top-performing countries, most have moved teacher education out of their lower-tier institutions and into their top-tier institutions, in contrast to what Tucker describes as “teacher education in the United State [is] generally done in second- and third-tier, relatively low-status institutions, many of which were formerly normal schools.”

Relevant to the discussion of where teacher prospects should be educated is that West Virginia now has some 19 private and public colleges and universities authorized by the West Virginia Department of Education to offer one or more approved programs leading to educator licensure in the public schools of the state.

Compensation and other emoluments provided to teachers is such an important incentive to attracting top-flight students to the teaching profession and educating them in top-tier institutions that the very subject should be off the table as a consideration when able young people are making career decisions, so observed Singapore’s minister of education.

Being off the table does not mean, however, the adjustments that will have to be made to pay scale for such prospective teachers will not shock citizens who are complacent with business as usual in the state’s public school system.

Teaching is now the most popular profession among Finnish young people, attracting the top quartile of high school graduates into its highly competitive teacher training programs.

Cultural factors, such as respect for teaching as a profession, are also an important part of the Finnish success story, which add to the complexity of replicating the Finnish experience in the United States, and especially in West Virginia.

Considering that (1) by far, the most important source of variation in student achievement is teacher quality; (2) the character of the pool of young adults from which teacher-college applicants are recruited is highly relevant to the ultimate quality of the teachers graduating therefrom; (3) the quality of the teacher colleges themselves are highly pertinent to the quality of the graduating future teachers; and (4) that some of the factors that have contributed to the five high performing education systems are cultural in nature, the time is now for West Virginia to start addressing and changing its complacency in improving teacher quality in its public schools.

The Free Press WV      Charles McElwee is a Charleston lawyer and a GSC grad


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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

We keep hearing exciting news about GSC’s opportunity for starting a new teacher education academy to train WV’s teachers.

The unique program would provide state-of-the-art preparation for classroom challenges WV’s teachers face.

Based on reported information the prestigious program would be designed to be a WV show piece and graduates would earn a master degrees after five years.

The program would be an Appalachian trend setter to benefit the College, Gilmer County, Central WV, the State, gifted students selected for the program, and most of all the State’s children.

What do you say GSC’s Board of Governors? Citizens want to hear from you. What does the College have to lose?

By GSC Teacher Ed. Academy Needed  on  03.18.2019

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GILMER LIBRARY DIRECTOR RECEIVES CERTIFICATION, HAS WORKS PUBLISHED

Gilmer Public Library Director Lisa Hayes-Minney was recently awarded her Basic Library Certification from the West Virginia Library Commission. Her coursework included 26 training sessions in the following core areas: Fundamentals of Librarianship, Collection Development, Organization of Materials, Management, Programming & Services, and Technology.

West Virginia State Code requires that all library directors in the state complete eight continuing education hours a year, but in a little over two years, Minney has completed more than fifty continuing education hours to achieve this certification.

The Free Press WV


Minney was hired as an Assistant Librarian at Gilmer Public Library in November 2016 and was promoted to Library Director in September 2018. In addition to her studies related to Library Science, Minney has an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts, a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a minor in Journalism, and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing.

Also, Minney has three essays appearing in upcoming publications. Her essay “Shaken Foundations” will be appearing in the anthology Mountains Piled upon Mountains: Appalachian Nature Writing in the Anthropocene, to be released in April 2019 by Bartram Publishing. Her essay “Mental-pause” is included in Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility, due out in June 2019 from Cynren Press. Her essay “Little One” was a finalist in the Recovery Contest by Memoir Magazine, and will be appearing in a special online edition to be released within the next few weeks.

Minney is the facilitator of Gilmer Public Library’s “Creative Play for Adults” sessions, which encourage adults to re-connect with and nurture their creative side, held at the library every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  She also leads the library Writer’s Group, which meets the first Thursday of every month at 6 p.m.

For more information about these or other programs and services available from Gilmer Public Library, visit their facebook page, their web site at gilmerpublib.org, stop in the library, or call 304.462.5620. For more information about Lisa, visit www.LHayesMinney.net.

ICYMI™: WV’s own border wall needs to tumble down

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Only hours after the state’s teachers and school service personnel unions called a strike last week, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten flew in to rally striking teachers and preach the evils of school choice and charter schools.

Why would the state’s three school worker unions listen to her? She is from out of state.

That’s a ridiculous argument, but from listening to the strikers chants, comments in the news media and on social media, it appears powerful out-of-state groups are trying to ruin West Virginia’s monopolistic and bureaucratic education system with student-hurting ideas like school choice, charter schools and every other evil idea the state Senate concocted in Senate Bill 451.

But doesn’t Randi Weingarten represent a powerful monied out-of-state interest? Why didn’t the strikers run her out on a rail?

The lack of quality answers to that question goes hand in hand with the lack of quality answers for the other questions that in-state and out-of-state education reformers keep asking those who oppose education reform.

Why are education reforms that are being adopted and readily accepted in so many other states — strong Democrat and strong union states included — so “bad” for students in West Virginia? Why wouldn’t concepts that work well above the Mason-Dixon Line, west of the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers, and east of the Alleghenies not work in the Mountain State?

A Daily Mail columnist, formerly a Charleston resident, tweeted actively during the strike in favor of reforms. Those opposed to SB 451 on Twitter asked in many variations: “Why should anyone listen to her? She’s from out of state.”

But it’s not just in education-related issues that there appears to be a strong bias against people and ideas from outside West Virginia.

Publicly traded corporations with headquarters located outside the state — those that actually provide secure, high-paying jobs to many in West Virginia — are often the target of hostility, even when they have significant offices and operations in West Virginia.

The critics make it sound as if out-of-staters are coming in and “taking our jobs,” yet West Virginia has the lowest rate of entrepreneurial job creation and the lowest workforce participation rate. Anyone providing jobs in the state aren’t taking jobs, they are providing them to West Virginians willing to work.

As we all know, our state naturally ranks No. 1 in the hearts of West Virginians. Unfortunately, it ranks low in too many economic, education and cultural measures to count.

In the marketplace, companies that succeed aren’t the ones that reject what their competitors are doing. The companies that perform best watch their competitors, listen, learn, improve and become better.

Like it or not, West Virginia is competing with other states in many areas. But West Virginia won’t become better by rejecting ideas and concepts that succeed elsewhere. We need to listen and learn from smart people, wherever they are from.

Generous Donation Benefits Glenville State Art and Design Students

The Free Press WV

Glenville State College Art and Design students can let their creativity to flow thanks to a generous donation from an award-winning artist.

The Applied Learning Art and Design Computer Lab, located in the Fine Arts Center, was completed in part by Arlinka Worl, a silver and gold Grumbacher medal award-winning artist from Detroit, Michigan. Worl donated funds, art books, and supplies to the lab.

Outfitted with all of the modern capabilities, the Applied Learning Art and Design Computer Lab brings together the traditional art program and the digital design program.

Available to students are: workstation class computers equipped with the full Adobe suite and Autodesk 3D modeling software, a large-format printer, framing and matting equipment, photography lights and backdrops, an art library with a student break room, Wacom digital tablets, a full audio recording studio, and a large projection screen for visual instructions.

“We’re very excited about the enhanced learning and additional capabilities the new design lab brings to our students.  They will be much better prepared for new and exciting careers in the growing creative industry,” said Associate Professor of Art, Christopher Cosner.

The Free Press WV
Glenville State College students utilizing the Applied Learning Art and Design Computer Lab


The lab is only one part of several significant changes that have taken place in the Department of Fine Arts.

In fall 2018, an integrated Bachelor of Arts degree with six unique career pathways was introduced.

Each pathway is designed to meet student needs, as well as industry trends.

Students can choose from paths in Graphic Design, Digital Illustration, Digital Media, Strategic Design, Drawing and Painting, and Ceramics.

The lab is open to all students and holds extended hours.

For more information, contact Cosner at ‘Christopher.Cosner@glenville.edu’ or at 304.462.6349.

Glenville State College Honors Bluegrass Pioneers with Honorary Degrees

On Friday, February 01, 2019, six legendary figures in bluegrass music were presented with honorary doctoral degrees by Glenville State College at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

The ceremony began with a rendition of Bill Monroe’s “Evening Prayer Blues” performed by Luke Shamblin, a former West Virginia mandolin champion and Glenville State College alumni, followed by an introduction given by Glenville State College Bluegrass Music Program Director, Dr. Megan Darby. “It’s an incredible honor to be gathered here and to be working alongside all of the folks that made today possible. Thank you all for sharing this memory with Glenville State College today,” said Darby. “I grew up going to bluegrass festivals and, as my dad always said, this music is in my blood.”

Those recognized included Buddy Griffin, Bobby Osborne, Sonny Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman (accepted on his behalf by Ronnie Reno), and Jim McReynolds (accepted posthumously by his daughter, Jeanine McReynolds Reynolds, and grandson, James). Each received a diploma signifying their status as honorary degree recipients.

The Free Press WV
(seated, l-r) Buddy Griffin, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne, Sonny Osborne, Ronnie Reno accepting on behalf of Mac Wiseman,
and Jeanine McReynolds Reynolds and James Reynolds accepting on behalf of Jim McReynolds
(standing, l-r) GSC Board of Governors Vice Chair Tim Butcher, GSC Board of Governors Member Mike Rust, GSC President Dr. Tracy Pellett,
GSC Provost Dr. Victor Vega, GSC Bluegrass Music Program Director Dr. Megan Darby,
GSC Board of Governors Member Dr. Bill Deel, and GSC Board of Governors Chair Greg Smith


The Glenville State College bluegrass band entertained the audience with their renditions of “Dear Old Dixie” and “Can’t You Hear Me Calling,” featuring Rebekah Long on bass, Derek Vaden of The Larry Stephenson band on banjo, Luke Shamblin on mandolin, Buddy Griffin on fiddle, and Megan Darby on guitar and lead vocals.

Following the performance, Glenville State College President, Dr. Tracy Pellett, addressed the audience. “We are here to recognize six distinguished legends of bluegrass music,” said Pellett. “The confirmation of these honorary doctorates is about the recognition of the lifelong contributions to traditional bluegrass music and the seen and unseen influence on Glenville State College and one of the only bluegrass education programs in the county. These gentlemen are known and respected by so many across the nation and they are living testaments to the tradition of bluegrass music.”

Pellett detailed the influence that the honorees have had on the bluegrass industry and the time that they have dedicated to advancing and enhancing bluegrass education for generations to come. “[Bluegrass music] is the creation of something special that speaks to us – that shared experience – that strengthens the thread of human connection itself,” said Pellett.

The Larry Stephenson Band was welcomed to the stage to perform an Osborne Brothers classic, “Give This Message to Your Heart” and “Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes,” a big hit for honorees, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, as a tribute to the honorees. In a final number, all performers returned to the stage for a moving performance of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”

Glenville State College is proud to honor these legendary figures who have acted as pioneers in bluegrass music and inspired countless individuals along the way. Their contributions to bluegrass music are deeply appreciated and will continue to inspire future students in Glenville State College’s four-year bachelor’s degree in bluegrass, available both in-person and online.

For more information about the bluegrass program at Glenville State College, contact Darby at 304.462.6347.

GSC Alumnus Joseph Pettit to Display Exhibit in Fine Arts Gallery

The Free Press WV

Artist and Glenville State College graduate Joseph Pettit will feature his work in an upcoming exhibit at the College’s Fine Arts Center Gallery.

The exhibit will be open February 04 until February 21.

An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, February 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Pettit is a 1976 graduate of Glenville State College. He spent two years in the United States Army, taught school for 10 years, worked for 25 years in the saw mill industry, and is now retired.

He is a Braxton County, West Virginia native and currently resides in Sutton.

Pettit has displayed his works at Glenville State College several times at the Robert F. Kidd Library prior to this exhibit, usually during Homecoming week.

The opening reception is free to attend and open to the public.

The Fine Arts Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and one hour before all GSC musical performances held in the Fine Arts Center.

For more information about the GSC Fine Arts Gallery, call 304.462.6340.

Glenville State College to Present Honorary Degrees to Bluegrass Pioneers

Officials at Glenville State College are planning a special recognition ceremony to honor several outstanding bluegrass music masters.

On Friday, February 10 GSC will present honorary doctorates to Mac Wiseman, Bobby and Sonny Osborne, Buddy Griffin, Jesse McReynolds, and Jim McReynolds who will be recognized posthumously.

The hooding ceremony will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Free Press WV
Mac Wiseman


The Free Press WV
Bobby and Sonny Osborne


The Free Press WV
Buddy Griffin


The Free Press WV
Jesse and Jim McReynolds


In late 2018, GSC Assistant Professor of Music and Bluegrass Music Program Director Dr. Megan Darby traveled to Nashville to hand-deliver letters announcing the honor to several of the musicians and their families.

“The first generation of bluegrass masters have left such a legacy for us to study, and it was an honor to be given the opportunity to hand deliver the invitations to participate,” said Darby. “The most powerful thing for me about bluegrass music is that I have memories of watching and sharing the stage with many of these pioneers. Our students still have an opportunity to meet and learn from this amazing generation.”

“Honorary doctorates are among the highest accolades that an institution can bestow upon individuals. We need to take the time to properly honor those who have done outstanding things for society and the greater good. These degree presentations are Glenville State’s way of showing our gratitude to these bluegrass masters for all they’ve done for the genre and, by extension, our former and current bluegrass students,” said Glenville State College President Dr. Tracy Pellett.

The event will take place at the Ford Theater inside the Country Music Hall of Fame beginning at noon on February 01.

For more information, contact Darby at 304.462.6355.

New History Channel series features West Virginia

The Free Press WV

The History Channel will premiere its new mini-series, Project Blue Book, on January 8th at 10 PM.

Based on previews, the series appears to kick-off with the story of the Flatwoods Monster sighting which took place in Braxton County, West Virginia in 1952.

Though some story details seem to have been shifted or combined in order to move the story along, the over-all series of events are true to life.

The Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) was contacted in July of 2018 by a writer for the History Channel’s website who was writing an article for History.com.

The article was on the Flatwoods Monster and acts as a companion piece to the new series.

At the time it was published it was the first companion piece written which was featured on the website.

Now it is one of many which suggests the series will cover a wide scope of incidences and subjects concerning the real-life Project Blue Book investigations which that took place in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Find those articles at history.com/shows/project-blue-book. Previews for the new series are available there as well.

The new series is produced and presented in a similar manner as History’s 2012 series, the Hatfields and McCoys.

In contrast to the documentary and reality style shows that History Channel has become known for, Project Blue Book is produced more like a high-budget film with a cinematic production and cast.

To learn more about the Flatwoods Monster stop by the Flatwoods Monster Museum located at 208 Main Street in Sutton, West Virginia.

Be sure to tune in to the premiere of Project Blue Book on the History Channel on January 8th at 10 PM.

Piano Recital Featuring Anita White Planned at GSC Tonight

The Free Press WV

Anita White, Glenville State College Adjunct Instructor of Piano and Department Accompanist will hold a piano recital in the GSC Fine Arts Center Auditorium on Monday, December 03 at 7:00 p.m. The recital, featuring Christmas music and hymns, is free and open to the public.

“I’ll be playing favorites such as Carol of the Bells, Joy to the World, Angels from the Realms of Glory, and a few songs that some people won’t know, such as the beautiful Austrian carol Still, Still, Still. There are so many wonderful Christmas tunes to choose from and I love them all,” said White.

White earned her bachelor’s degree from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. She has many years of experience as a piano recitalist, organ recitalist, and a teacher of music theory, voice, piano, organ, and related subjects. White has taught, directed, and been accompanist at numerous churches and public schools. The Gassaway, West Virginia native also has been involved in the planning and performing of many community and church cantatas and oratorios.

For more information, contact the GSC Department of Fine Arts at 304.462.6340.

Jessica Lilly to Present at GSC

The Free Press WV

On Thursday, November 15 Jessica Lilly will visit Glenville State College as a part of the ongoing “We, too, are Appalachia” project. The series of performances and presentations, made possible by Glenville State College and the West Virginia Humanities Council, are an exploration of identity and place regarding rural West Virginia.

Lilly covers southern West Virginia for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and is the host and co-producer of Inside Appalachia. She can also be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, WVPB’s daily radio news program. Lilly graduated from Concord University in 2007, where she was named Concord University’s Reporter of the Year and Producer of the Year. Concord chose her as their Alumnus of the Year in 2015. She was instrumental in launching Concord’s first FM radio station, WVCU-LP FM in 2015. Born in Bluefield, West Virginia, she grew up in the coalfields of Wyoming County.

The event is free and open to the public and will take place beginning at 1:30 p.m. at The Pioneer Stage, GSC’s Bluegrass Music Education Center located at 10 East Main Street in Downtown Glenville.

The “We, too, are Appalachia” project is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about the presentation or the “We, too, are Appalachia” project, call 304.462.6328.

WV House Speaker’s race is on again

The Free Press WV

This week’s election has reopened debate over who should be the Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Last summer, Kanawha County Delegate Tim Armstead resigned his seat in the Legislature to run for the State Supreme Court, opening up the Speaker’s position.  After some jockeying and a closed-door caucus, Republicans chose Roger Hanshaw from Clay County.

However, the caucus vote was close.  Hanshaw bested Kanawha County Delegate and House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Nelson by just two votes.

Republicans lost five seats in Tuesday’s election, and there are 17 new faces on the GOP side that could change the dynamic in another Speaker’s race.

Hanshaw wants to hold on to the position, while Nelson would like to try again to ascend to the Speaker’s office.  The two have a friendly relationship and they are expected to meet to try to resolve the leadership question without dividing the caucus again.

The election cost Hanshaw his wing man.  Jefferson County Republican Riley Moore lost his bid for re-election Tuesday.  Moore rounded up votes for Hanshaw in the Speaker’s race last August and was rewarded with the position of Majority Leader in the House.

Hanshaw, if he retains the Speakership, will have to choose a new Majority Leader. I’m told that Nelson is not interested in that position, but there will be no shortage of House Republicans who covet the post.

Meanwhile, some House Republicans are still stewing over outside efforts to influence the Speaker’s race the last time.  The 1863 PAC ran advertisements on broadcast media (including West Virginia Corporation stations) and on social media supporting Hanshaw for the position.

Veteran Republican Delegate John Overington said at the time, “In all my years, I cannot recall any time we had radio ads or newspaper ads in favor of one candidate over another.”

MetroNews’ Brad McElhinny reported that Bob Murray, CEO of the coal company Murray Energy, hosted a fundraiser for the 1863 PAC.  Murray is no fan of Nelson because the House Finance Committee chairman opposed a plan by Governor Jim Justice (and supported by Murray) for a sliding scale of severance taxes—lowering the tax during a soft market, but raising it during boom times.

The stakes are high in this post election scrum over the House leadership.  The Speaker appoints committee chairs and has final say on the legislative agenda. A Speakers race may be the ultimate in political inside baseball, but the outcome is significant in public policy for the state.

Glenville State College Professor Releases Poetry Book

Glenville State College Associate Professor of English Dr. Jonathan Minton has released a book of poetry entitled Technical Notes for Bird Government. The October 2018 release consists of poems written over the past decade.

“All of these poems had been previously published individually in various journals, so I decided to see how they would work as a book. It meant doing extensive revisions to make them fit together, and culling it all down the standard 75 page length for a single volume of poetry. While revising I noticed my recurring obsession with birds, as well as the idea of the absurdity of controlling the world around us, so I came up with the title. I didn’t intend to nod to Chaucer, but when someone pointed out that it was similar to “Parliament of Fouls,” I wrote a poem in direct response to that,” Minton explained.

The Free Press WV


Several fellow writers praised the book in an announcement from the publisher. “Testing the language of myth, the naturalist, and the historian, Jonathan Minton’s Technical Notes for Bird Government taps into a vast, skeletal architecture underpinning ‘the hugeness of the world, and its wounded places where we vanish.’ Mapping its rifts and junctures, these poetic sequences emerge in surprising ways, at times coiling into themselves and at times unfurling fast to the edge of ‘another sentence full of horizons and strange creatures.’ It’s a remarkable book. Reading it, one is in the presence of an electric, relentless intelligence,” said James Capozzi, author of Country Album and Devious Sentiments.

In addition to teaching literature at Glenville State, Minton also serves as advisor for GSC’s literary journal Trillium. His chapbooks include Lost Languages (Long Leaf Press) and In Gesture (Dyad Press). He also edits the journal Word For/Word (www.wordforword.info). In 2015 he received GSC’s prestigious Faculty Award of Excellence.

Minton and fellow GSC professors Dr. Fred Walborn and Dr. Marjorie Stewart will all be featured at an upcoming campus event, A Celebration of Words. The event is scheduled for Thursday, November 8 at 4:00 p.m. in the Robert F. Kidd Library. The event is free and open to the public. Minton will read from Technical Notes for Bird Government, Walborn will read from his recent book, Two Days at the Asylum, and Stewart will recite poetry. Guests are also invited to participate in an open stage following their readings.

For more information about Minton’s poetry book, which is available on Amazon, contact him at or call 304.462.6322.

One Book One West Virginia returns for 2018-19

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Library Commission and the West Virginia Center for the Book has announced the One Book One West Virginia selection for 2018-19. 

Each year, one book by an Appalachian author is selected for this prestigious honor, and this year’s honoree is Water Street by Crystal Wilkinson. 

A Long List Finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and a Short List Finalist for The Hurston-Wright Legacy Award,  Water Street examines the lives of neighbors and friends who live on Water Street in the small town of Stanford, Kentucky.  On Water Street, every person has at least two stories to tell, and the book is comprised of 13 short stories that tell those tales.  A native of Indian Creek, KY, Wilkinson offers a glimpse into small town Appalachia in a book dealing with love, loss and tragedy.

The Free Press WV


One Book One West Virginia is West Virginia’s most important statewide book discussion group, and it allows readers across the state to read the same book and take part in detailed group conversations about the book’s unfolding storyline.  Now in its 14th year, this literary project helps support the Appalachian Heritage Writer-In-Residence Project developed by Shepherd University.  West Virginia readers are urged to join book discussion groups and attend related events, such as meeting the author, character portrayals, movies, and workshops.

To join a book group discussion, readers may contact their local library, or they can connect with others through the WVLC statewide Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1763136937263032/).For more information on Crystal Wilkinson and the One Book One West Virginia program, visit the WVLC website (https://librarycommission.wv.gov/What/wcftb/Pages/One-Book,-One-West-Virginia.aspx).

West Virginians share a proud literary history, and it is the goal of the One Book One West Virginiaproject to share not only a story, but a story that promotes our rich Appalachian heritage.

The Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project is made possible with financial support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, in partnership with the Shepherd University Foundation, the West Virginia Center for the Book, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the Shepherdstown Public Library, the Scarborough Society, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

West Virginia Library Commission encourages lifelong learning, individual empowerment, civic engagement and an enriched quality of life by enhancing library and information services for all West Virginians. The WVLC sponsors the WV Center for the Book and urges state residents to explore, discover, and create in West Virginia libraries.

To learn more about the WVLC, please visit www.librarycommission.wv.gov or call us at 304.558.2041.

GSC Senior to Hold Art Show Opening

The Free Press WV

Glenville State College senior Graphics and Digital Media major Christopher Cunningham invites the public to attend the opening reception for his senior art show on Monday, November 12 at 6:00 p.m. The show will run through Friday, December 7 and will be on display in GSC’s Fine Arts Center Gallery.

The exhibit, titled “Bureaucracies of Charming Dysfunction,” will contain various sculptures, digital illustrations, photography, oil paintings, pyrography (woodburning), and charcoal drawings. He also hopes to include some written works on his thoughts of art, history, culture, and the industry in general.

“I draw inspiration from the concepts touched on in the vast amount of work I see and some of the concepts I have taken from thought to paper. Sometimes I simply let the canvas guide me, allowing for the foundation concept to grow according to its own recurrent pattern. I form a relationship with the works I produce, over the hundreds of hours poured into some of the various projects they can go smoothly, violently, brilliantly, poorly, not at all as planned, accidental, and rife with muddied communication. It’s important to take something away from these, regardless of how the process came along,” Cunningham said.

After graduation he plans to relocate to Colorado to work as a Junior Art Director in the Denver area, hopefully with an industrial commercial corporation or a public relations firm.

He says he’s appreciated his time in the classroom with his professors. “My takeaway from Professor [Chris] Cosner has been the requirement to stay current and at the forefront of trends in the industry; to always be looking and willing to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. My take away from Professor [Duane] Chapman is how to present my works and communicate concepts more effectively; this leads to a greater impact and competitive edge in today’s fast-paced industry,” he said.

Cunningham, who hails from Grantsville, West Virginia, also thanks his parents for supporting him through the worst of times and the best.

The Fine Arts Center Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and one hour before all GSC musical performances in the Fine Arts Center.

For more information call 304.462.6340.

Paine: Plan to improve math scores to focus on algebra where a third of teachers aren’t certified

The Free Press WV

The state Department of Education has finalized a plan to address the poor scores in math and student attendance issues that showed up against on the first-ever Balanced Scorecard released earlier this school year.

Mathematics performance, particularly at the middle school and high school levels, is low system wide. Only 37 percent of students tested proficient in math, 45 percent in English/Language Arts.

“The math plan is done,” state School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine said Wednesday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

The plan has been vetted by national experts on math student achievement, according to Paine.

Its emphasis is on addressing the classrooms where algebra and geometry are taught. Paine said up to 30 percent of those algebra classrooms in West Virginia are taught by non-certified teachers.

“They have not received the formal math content training to be able to teach the subject of algebra. It’s no fault of their own,” Paine said. “We try to support them but they don’t have the formal training.”

It’s all connected to the qualified teacher shortage issue in several subjects that numbers approximately 700 statewide.

According to Paine, the plan to improve math scores includes Memorandums of Understanding signed with all 55 school districts.

“For all of those folks that are not certified (in algebra or geometry), we want to get them formal training immediately, as soon as we possibly can,” Paine said. “We’re going to do that in a combination of face-to-face training or virtual training or both so immediately we can give them the support that they need.”

Paine said the additional professional development, which could also include additional training classes for non-certified teachers, will be paid for by the state.

A second part of the plan will be to contract with what Paine called “exceptional master teachers” to teach children algebra by video stream.

“I hope that we can create a network so that we find and identify these masterful teachers of algebra and we can figure out a network where we can stream the live instruction to remote areas and a I would like to do it in every non-certified classroom,” Paine said.

A separate certification for algebra and geometry is also under consideration. Currently, math teachers are certified all the way through calculus. According to Paine, 92 percent of employers say all they need is for workers to know algebraic concepts.


Attendance

The plan to address poor attendance remains in its early stages, Paine said.

It’s starting out with a survey of parents, guardians and teachers to find out why kids aren’t in school and why they are tardy.

Paine said the southern coalfields area shows the most attendance problems. He said a lot has to do with the opioid crisis. He said it’s a complex issue. A Blue Ribbon panel is working to identify the problem and propose solutions.

Paine said student achievement must improve.

“Governor Justice has placed his confidence in educators and those in the system (proposing another 5 percent pay raise). Now it’s up to us to give him something back. We have to improve results,” Paine said.

~~  Jeff Jenkins ~~

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Readers' Recent Comments

Progress is being made with writing up school board meeting minutes to keep citizens better informed.

For too long the State’s information embargo kept citizens in the dark because information releases of all types were sketchy by design to prevent accountability for officials in charge.

Because more information is being released to citizens there will be enhanced community support for activities in the County’s schools to get our kids career and college ready.

Thank you Gilmer County School Board members. Keep up your good work with making information access improvements.

By Kudos To School Board on 03.21.2019

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

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Thanks Mr. Boggs for bringing attention to the Rt 5 roller-coaster just west of Burnsville.
At least someone finally made an attempt to smooth it up a bit!  Good job that time.

By Gilmer on 03.21.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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Big In-Justice Jim and his “roads to prosperity” program is high grade bs.
You all stole our money.  Fed us bs and lies.

Now Injustice Jim wants to repeat the deal he got away with once all ready!!??  That takes a lot of gall.

And the best is…..30% of road repair funds were not spent last year!!  Shame on the legislature for not being a watchdog.

Shame on Whopper Teller Jim too…for wanting more money!
Shame, shame, shame on Charleston inept management and politics.

By WV are tired of having the wool pulled over our ey on 03.21.2019

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

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“All of the research tells us that the formerly incarcerated do not commit violent crimes, or more workplace-related crimes, than people who have no criminal background,” he said.“

This is a patently false statement.  Heyman does this frequently.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 03.19.2019

From the entry: 'In Tight Labor Market, Some Major Companies to Drop Criminal Check'.

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So sorry Jerry. Would love to see you.  I am now at family farm.  Please stop by

By Phyllis Grove on 03.18.2019

From the entry: 'Doris “Geneva” Case'.

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We keep hearing exciting news about GSC’s opportunity for starting a new teacher education academy to train WV’s teachers.

The unique program would provide state-of-the-art preparation for classroom challenges WV’s teachers face.

Based on reported information the prestigious program would be designed to be a WV show piece and graduates would earn a master degrees after five years.

The program would be an Appalachian trend setter to benefit the College, Gilmer County, Central WV, the State, gifted students selected for the program, and most of all the State’s children.

What do you say GSC’s Board of Governors? Citizens want to hear from you. What does the College have to lose?

By GSC Teacher Ed. Academy Needed on 03.18.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: Improving teacher quality in West Virginia'.

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After the ipads were purchased what measurable benefits resulted from having them at the GCHS to improve student learning? Does anyone know?

Was a formal plan followed to maximize benefits from the equipment to include provisions for measuring before-and-after results to evaluate if the equipment did any good?

Another case of throwing money at a problem and after spending it taxpayers have no idea if there were any meaningful benefits for students?

More than likely competitive bidding was not used to purchase the ipads to add another wrinkle.

By Did The ipads Improve Learning Results? on 03.13.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Where oh where did the 200 Gilmer County I-pads go?
Were they bought with federal money?
Attorney General Morrisey are you looking into this?
Someone should get the ball rolling?

By where oh where? on 03.12.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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They is not no flood plane there the water dont get up there i know i catch musk rats in the river

By THE TRUTH WATCHER on 03.08.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Gilmer County’s school board has full authority to demand a comprehensive accounting for every dime spent on everything leading up to site selection and construction of the LCES and the GCES.

Where did the money go and who got it to include naming names and companies on the receiving end?

Stop hiding behind the excuse that the State “did it to us” and assemble the true facts for taxpayers!

What is the defensible rational for failure of the school board to follow up on this?

By Disclose Financial Facts on 03.07.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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What was in the school board’s 451 resolution? As important as education is more effort should be taken to flesh out what actually happens at school board meeting. Bare minimum information and lack of transparency skirt accountability. Who is responsible for writing up the minutes?

By Transparency and Accountability Needed on 03.07.2019

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

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The new Gilmer County Elementary school was built
in a flood plane.  Education fail.

By YOU FORGET on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Roads are a mess.
Population continues the 50+ year decrease.

But for deep gas, no new employment.

Education system total failure.
Legislature impotent.

Grand finale in Charleston.
We have a brawl in the Capitol Building.

That out-of-control delegate needs to resign!

By WV continues the slow death on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

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Broadband coming?  Think we heard this before?
How many times?  I’ve lost count.  You remember?

This will be like JimmyBoys “roads to prosperity” program?
Take the citizens money?  Give ‘em nothing.

Republicans. Democrats. All the same political bs from both.
Voters believe them.  Keep bringing back the old mules so they can give us a repeat performance.

By Just More Dog n Pony Show 4 U on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Major Broadband Investment in West Virginia'.

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Jimmy D, Gilmer County needs a full accounting for every dime spent on school site planning and studies, site preparation, all school construction work, and purchases while the State had us intervened.

For one example of many we do not have an itemized accounting for how our funds were spent on the botched LCES project.

How much more was wasted on the auction barn site, the dropped Cedar Creek site, and the GCES in comparison to what could have been done with our money with full transparency, competent planning, competitive bidding, and proper project oversight?

The fact that the GCES was built too small and the LCES was built too large is one facet of the waste and mismanagement that occurred.

Do not expect valid investigations because WV’s standard approach is cover up when the State is involved.

By Jimmy D--Don't Expect Sunshine on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Saw the GFP video (citizens refer to it as the ambush video) at the school board meeting at which the pitch was made for the new computers.

The GCHS principal and staff talked about wonders to expect if the 200 computers would be purchased.

Promises were made that if the kids got them they would learn to do advanced math and to make other marvelous learning advances. Any evidence of the promises being kept?

Were the computers purchased through competitive biding? Wanna bet that they were not?

Is this another example of throwing money at technology with no meaningful plan for how to use the equipment to maximize learning benefits without evidence of any before-and-after testing to accurately determine if they did any good?

Could the 200 computers be located and what condition are they in if they could be found?

The new school board is encouraged to check on the issues and to report on the findings.

By Accountability For New GCHS Computers on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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Since the local prosecutor is good for nothing, why doesn’t the federal prosecutors look into all the theft by Gabe DeVano and his buddies during the time Gilmer county was under state control? They stole money, equipment from schools which closed, as well as technology equipment. for example where did the 200 iPads go which gilmer county paid for?

By Jimmy D on 03.04.2019

From the entry: 'Former West Virginia school superintendent going to prison'.

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A major cause of WV’s dismal record with K-12 education is the lack of choice regarding a parent’s right to decide on the school for a child to attend.

The elite get around that by using private schools for their kids.

Under existing conditions what chance do the rest of us have? The answer is none!

Our kids are victimized because competition and accountability do not exist and that is exactly what WV’s entrenched education establishment and the unions want.

By Save WV's School Children on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Pennybaker is correct.
WV educators keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Whats the definition of insanity?

By Gilmer on 03.02.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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An off grid system works great if you want to live like a hippie. One can cover their entire roof and it will barely power your lighting and a few electronics, let alone our transportation and industrial needs. The humaniacs now complain that the giant windmill blades kill the little birdies, and they have never solved the overpass problem in putting windmills on out autos.

By Vern Windsong on 03.01.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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It amazes me that the so-called “experts” think more and more centralization will improve anything.  Public school education is in terrible condition and doing more consolidation will only make it worse and more expensive.  With all the technology today, there is NO reason for busing children for miles and miles, spending more and more hours under the control of public schools.  The idea that parents are not capable of deciding how to educate their children is insulting.  There was never any good reason for governments to get involved in education.

By Karen Pennebaker on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Pat, your information is outdated. Solar and wind are increasingly outcompeting fossil fuels, despite the heavy subsidies fossil fuels (and nuclear power) get. They also are getting steadily cheaper, while fossil fuels can be expected to rise as supply diminishes—the pipelines are going in so fast because of the NEED of the gas companies to get their product out to where they HOPE to find better prices—the drillers have been steadily losing money for the whole decade of the fracking “miracle.“ Wall Street is becoming skeptical. The thing about solar and wind is that once they’re built, the fuel keeps arriving, free. Of course, there isn’t much of a wind resource in our area. But there is in the mountain heights, and off the Virginia coast. And solar works fine here—I’ve had an off-grid system for ten years, works great.

By Mary Wildfire on 02.28.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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Yes, West Virginia spends a LOT of money on education.
But where does it go?  Is it wasted?  Down the drain hole of bureaucracy?

We spend 7th highest per student and what to show for it?
Being 49th or 50th in ratings?

By where does the money go? on 02.27.2019

From the entry: 'G-ICYMI™: iTeam Investigation: West Virginia's 55-county education system'.

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Seeing the president of the WV AFT shaking his raised clinched fist in disrespect for the WV legislature tells it all.

WV’s teacher unions are allowed to function as separate branches of government with veto power over WV’s elected officials and their only role is to get more benefits for their members.

Where is the evidence that unions have done anything recently in any WV school system to help create an educational show piece? Can anyone cite an example?

Furthermore what have unions done to develop innovative plans for moving the State’s k-12 education system forward to pry us off our bottom rung rankings? The answer is—nothing exists. 

Conditions will not change for the better until the day our legislators quit pandering to unions to end k-12 decision-making driven by mob rule and raw emotions.

By Unions Failed WV's Children on 02.26.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

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The principal reason for opposition to 451 is fear by union chiefs that public charter schools could outshine performances of non-participating schools to embarrass WV’s entrenched K-12 education establishment.

To attempt to scare the public, there were claims that the underlying motive for opposition to charter schools is the sinister plan to privatize them to permit the rich and powerful to make money off education at the expense of WV’s children.

It is alarming that unions failed to propose comprehensive plans, inclusive of meaningful accountability mechanisms, designed to improve WV’s schools.

Their objective seems to be to protect the status quo instead of being effective partners in improving education for the State’s children.

There are examples in the USA where charter schools resulted in significant K-12 education improvements. Of course some failed.

Why is it irrational to establish a limited few charter schools in WV as demonstration projects to incorporate approaches applied in highly successful charter schools while avoiding mistakes of the schools that failed?

Nothing else has worked in getting WV out of being near the bottom with K-12 education quality—-so why continue with business as usual while expecting better outcomes?

By Unions Failed WV Education on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'In West Virginia, the Politicians Fail, and the Teachers Rise'.

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If passed when will this take effect? I’m a single mother who has a drug felony from another state. I can’t get food stamps to help me because I a drug felon. I work so my income is to much for one person. I have a son whom him and I barley survive. Cause of my record. I’ve held the job I am at now for 5 years. But since they can’t use me. They use my income. But not me and doing it that way I make to much money.

By Kayla on 02.21.2019

From the entry: 'Bill to Let Drug Felons Get Food Stamps Passes WV Senate'.

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John & Family,  Sorry to hear of Nyla’s passing!  GOD will take care of you!!  GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU IN THIS SAD TIME !!!  RIP Nyla !

By Anita L. Adams - New Concord, Ohio on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Nyla Leah Frymier Poole'.

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“But Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said utility filings in those states now show the outlook has changed dramatically - in part because of competition from cheap, renewable energy.“

That is utter rubbish.  There is no “cheap, renewable energy.“  Solar and wind are more expensive, even taking subsidies into consideration.  Hydro is more expensive, nuclear is more expensive.

Claiming otherwise is at best fake news, and at worst deliberate misdirection and lying.  Merely claiming renewable energy is less expensive doesn’t make it so.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pat McGroyne on 02.15.2019

From the entry: 'Need for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Falls'.

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It was brought to my attention there was an article published in the Gilmer Free Press under Reader’s Comments dated 2-11-19.
This was written by Tammy White which many think it was me (Tammy Foster).  Twenty years (or more) “White” was my last name.
My son does take daily medication at the high school (which somehow this is quite a coincidence).  I want to clarify that I DID NOT write that article!
Now that I have straighten this out….. please read what I have say about this situation at Gilmer County High School:
The secretary or secretaries that were mentioned have never been rude to me or my son in person or by phone.  It is actually the opposite!  They are kind, caring, professional and thorough with distributing my son’s meds.
Not only do they make sure he gets the correct dosage daily but they keep a close inventory on the meds and call me when I need to restock them.
It broke my heart to read the negative article written last week and I was appalled my (old) name was on it.
My son and I trust and depend on these wonderful ladies.  We would like to take this opportunity to THANK them for taking excellent responsibility and care of our child and other students.

By Tammy Foster (not White) on 02.13.2019

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

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I’m sorry for your loss.

By Danny Nicholson on 02.12.2019

From the entry: 'Vera Marlene Lyons'.

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There is some issues going on at GCHS. I’m starting here in Hope’s that it will be addressed and corrected.  The secretary was rude when I turned in medicine for my son to be taken on a daily basis. Nor is it her business why he takes it, or how often. Anyway, is she certified in giving meds out.  I thought that the school employed a nurse. Maybe she should answer the phone or should I say message on her cell. She had no idea how many I handed in she didnt count them. Talks about her co workers. Then she gets upset nobody talks to her. She is 2 face. Talking about them is very unprofessional.
I hope this is taken care of or my next step is to the state department. Your choice

By Tammy white on 02.11.2019

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

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It is welcomed news as reported in the Democrat that Gilmer’s GCES students are making progress in learning math and English Learning Arts.

The principal, teachers, and all staff deserve high praise for the progress. Let’s not forget efforts of students too plus their parents who encourage them at home.

In addition to rates of increase for learning progress it would be helpful to be informed of percentages of students in the different grades who are at grade level for math and ELA.

Nothing was reported about learning progress at the GCHS and the LCES bi-county school. When are reports for those schools going to be given?

By Positive School News on 02.08.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The lights are up at the Linn school.
Often flashing nights and weekends when NO ONE is on school property.

And you expect lights to work….???
when the WVDE, the WVBE built the school with FIVE TOO MANY CLASSROOMS !!??

*** The WVBE is incapable of meaningful education.
Why do you think the WV Legislature created the current ‘education overhaul’ bill without consulting the WV State Board of Ed? ***

By you are joking I guess? on 02.07.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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“The Environmental Protection Agency issued regular updates for about 100 water pollutants almost four years ago ... “

That would have been the Obama EPA, and the intention wasn’t to provide better water, it was an attempt to control business activity through the use of regulation.

In other words, a power-grab by a politician obsessed with it.

Sincerely

Pat McGroyne

By Pay McGroyne on 02.06.2019

From the entry: 'One Charleston Manufacturer Pressing for Delay of Water Rules'.

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Would the County’s school board take action to help improve safety conditions at the LCES?

The way it is now it can be uncertain if children are present at the school to require a reduction of speed to 15 mph while on Rt. 33.

It would eliminate uncertainty if a flashing lights system were to be installed so the lights could be turned on when children are present.

By LCES Safety Concern on 01.31.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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Why is it that on Gilmer County’s school system web site biographical information including education backgrounds for all school board members and their pictures are not posted?

Other counties have the information. Why not us?

By School Board Member Backgrounds? on 01.23.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The only reason for our not using a version of the goal-driven Kentucky method would be a veto by controlling elitists opposed to establishing meaningful accountability for Gilmer County’s school system.

Without using the method it would be easier to continue to pawn off information that cannot be used to accurately document progress with student proficiencies for reading, math, science, and college and career readiness.

By School System Accountability Needed on 01.20.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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The KY approach would be valuable to Gilmer County for use in disclosing progress of our two schools in contributing to better lives for our children.

For goals for which progress would be off schedule, the tracking approach would be an objective basis for making mid-course adjustments in our school system to get better results.

By using the approach school board members could be more effective with goal-driven governing, and getting results would be the responsibility of the County’s Superintendent of Schools and school principals.

Overall,the approach would establish meaningful accountability which is sorely lacking in WV’s school systems.

By Establish School System Accountability on 01.18.2019

From the entry: 'Building A Path to Brighter Future'.

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Accomplished communicators have a knack for reducing complex information to its simplest form for effectiveness in getting messages across.

WV’s convoluted strategic plans for schools must follow the State’s rigid guidelines. The plans are confusing and inadequately designed for establishing accountability for getting results.

Kentucky is making progress with improving K-12 education outcomes and one reason is the clarity of specific goals for its schools and the job being done with tracking results.

Google—-2018 Prichard Committee Update to glean what is being done in Kentucky. The approach could be used for Gilmer’s two schools with a single sheet of paper for each school.

The beauty of the Prichard approach is that instead of relying on confusing and lengthy written out material with undefined abbreviations, technical jargon, and head scratching generalities, specific goals and annual results in achieving them are presented graphically.

Perfect real world example of a picture being worth a thousand words.

Board of Education members why couldn’t the Prichard approach be used for Gilmer County? It would be inexpensive, it could be updated easily on an annual basis, and everyone in the County would know how the school system is being administered to achieve measurable results.

Perhaps Mr. David Ramezan could post Prichard material on the GFP to show its simplicity.

By Advocate For Clarity on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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The scandal of the too small school?
Don’t forget…
The scandal of the too big school is half of the whole state intervention mess.  FIVE rooms more than needed at the Linn, Lewis County school.

Results are from nepotism, cronyism, and educational stupidity….as well as scoffing at those who attempted to sound the alarm.

Bloated egos was the frosting on the Litter Box Cake Mix.

By School Truth is in the Litter Box on 01.17.2019

From the entry: 'IOGAWV Scholarship Program'.

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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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