G-ICYMI™: Harrison BOE sets yearly superintendent goals

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

Dr. Manchin asked to focus on technical education expansion, rainy day fund

Harrison Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin has his marching orders for the 2018-19 school year.

The members of the Harrison County Board of Education have asked Manchin to focus on prioritizing technical education, establishing a countywide rainy day fund, hiring a county media specialist and several other educational goals.

These goals were written with the input of the board’s five members during a special meeting held Monday morning at the BOE offices.

According to board President Frank Devono Jr., the goals are:

— To update the processes and policies for evaluations and disciplinary actions for county employees.

— To establish a rainy day fund for the county.

— To establish a program curriculum that details CTE (community and technical education) classes, that does not compete with courses offered at United Technical Center, to be expanded into the six high schools and middle schools, specifically focused on the needs of Harrison County and the needs of West Virginia.

— Establish an overview newsletter to detail “happenings and goings on” in education.

— To look at ways to increase the number of maintenance personnel employed by the county.

— To establish a “media specialist” position for the county.

The list of goals was crafted during a closed-door executive session, Devono said.

“We all came to a consensus; everyone had input,” he said. “We started out with some previous goals, some goals that we wanted to get some more information on or that we don’t think are finalized at this point, and we want him to bring us information as to what’s going on with those goals.”

After some discussion and clarifications, board members whittled a larger list down to the six goals presented, Devono said.

The goals are not prioritized and were not read in a specific order, Devono said.

“We basically started with one individual and went left, round robin-style,” he said.

The establishment of a rainy fund would ensure financing is available if an emergency were to occur, Devono said.

“We would use it for potential problems, potential issues that we wouldn’t have a resource budgeted for that would come out of the blue,” he said. “For instance, a few years back we had a mold issue with Johnson Elementary and the previous board had a $100,000 check that they had to write immediately to remediate some of the mold issues. So it’s those types of issues that we’re looking at.”

The community and technical education program curriculum would allow students in middle school and high school to take classes not currently offered at United Technical Center, Devono said.

“For example, let’s say that woodworking and carpentry is not offered over at United Technical Center,” he said. “Then what we would like to see is to take part of a woodworking and carpentry class and put it into the schools. Because we feel that some students will go forward with programs, but because of other scheduling issues or conflicts, don’t necessarily want to go over to UTC.”

The newsletter, which would be distributed quarterly, would increase interdepartmental communication and allow county employees to know what their colleagues have going on, Devono said.

“We could hear from the safety department or the finance department. We could hear about things that are going on from the local school level from different principals,” he said. “We want to get some kind of publication out to just be more visible and allow everybody to see what’s going on.”

The media specialist position, which would likely be part-time, would be designated to handle the county’s social media presence, its website and coordinate news releases and media inquiries, Devono said.

Manchin, who participated in part of the executive session, said he looks forward to tackling the diverse list of goals over the coming months.

“I’m very pleased that this board has taken such a proactive position on continuing to expand the programs that we offer in the county and let people know the good things that are happening in this county,” he said.

The increased emphasis on community and technical education will allow students to have the skills and knowledge needed to begin a sustainable career when they graduate, Manchin said.

“The future is not necessarily four-year institutions,” he said. “Many good-paying jobs are out there right now that only take one year additional post-secondary education where people can make $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 per year. I was very pleased with that direction.”

Establishing a rainy day fund is an investment that will make sure the school system is prepared for unforeseen circumstances, Manchin said.

“I know that several of our board members feel very strongly about that,” he said. “We want to continue to look at that and be able to put away some money, just in case an incident happened. It’s a way to make sure that the finances are available.”

~~  Charles Young ~~

Why doesn’t Gilmer County do the same? Dr. Manchin has a long standing reputation for working closely with his boards and they function together as effective teams.

In Harrison County the public is kept fully informed of the goals and progress in attaining them.

When school systems lack well defined goals that eliminates objectiveness for evaluating performances of superintendents and boards too. The result is the elimination of accountability.

A major negative result of a lack of fully disclosed goals is lost opportunities for citizens, including business leaders, teachers, and parents, to do their maximum to contribute to improved schools.

Comment by Opportunity For Gilmer's School System  on  08.21.2018

The “Opportunity” comment should be addressed by Mr. Cottrill. He is the new board president and it is his responsibility to set an example of effective leadership.

Comment by Mr. Cottrill Asked to Lead  on  08.21.2018

It was apparent to citizens that under intervention the State practiced Machiavellian divide and conquer with the previous board and it never recovered from that type of treatment.

With a new board the county has a fresh start. Let us hope that it will function in a highly effective manner to include openness to keep the public fully informed.

Comment by New Start  on  08.22.2018

Accountability, you say?

When is the last time your heard that word used with any GC elected?

Comment by accountability?  on  08.25.2018

We know that there were problems with accurate tracking of BOE finances, but nothing has been heard about what was found, who was responsible, and corrective measures to be taken. Board is requested to get a report out to the public. Nothing unreasonable about this good government request.

Comment by Gilmer BOE Finances  on  08.25.2018

Could the Board get Mrs. Mason’s report summarized and put on the GFP? This should be some of the most important information in years all citizens have a right to know.

Comment by Gilmer County School Watch  on  08.29.2018

If the board wanted you to have the info—you would get it.

Otherwise you are likely wasting time thinking about it?

Remember how loud actions speak?

Comment by no info flow  on  09.02.2018

The expectation is that the new board will provide a “tell it as it is”  status report on current student achievement with a comprehensive plan for improvements.

The plan should include a firm commitment for accurate progress reports at scheduled intervals.

If nothing is done by the board that would be a way to skirt accountability for the County’s school system.

Comment by Need Measurable Results  on  09.04.2018

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.

Comment by Waiting To See  on  09.09.2018

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’??

Comment by Transparency matters  on  09.12.2018

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?

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