GilmerFreePress.net

Op-Ed: I Just Saw Something Special

The Free Press WV

If you’ve ever seen a truly world-class performance, you know it. The extraordinary talent, the physical capital expended, and the dedication to perfection stands out so clearly that you know you’ve witnessed something special. I just had such an experience, and it’s worth sharing.

Think of this as the Olympics of the U.S. Military, but with a sharp distinction. Olympics are world-wide competitions held for pure sport and personal glory. The “Best Sapper Competition” is a world-wide competition, but held for military competence by competitors dedicated to defending our American way of life. Every competitor volunteered to serve our country, writing a blank check payable to the people of America, for an amount up to and including his or her life.

A Sapper is an Engineer on the cutting edge of the military sword that defends our country. Best known for employing explosives in combat, they do much more. On the offense they are called upon first - to blow holes in enemy defenses, to clear paths for infantry to follow, to clear landing strips for aircraft, to breach doors, and to clear mines. On defense, they are the last to leave the battlefield, blowing bridges, creating tank barriers, and hindering the advance of enemy attackers. Sappers have proven their worth from Yorktown to Omaha Beach to the mountains of Afghanistan.

The U.S. Army’s Best Sapper Competition was held recently at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri - the home of the U.S. Army Engineers, Military Police, and Chemical Corps. Teams from around the globe (two people per team) earned the right to participate in the competition first by individually completing the grueling Sapper Leader Course to earn the coveted “Sapper” tab, then teaming up to win regional or unit competitions. The final Army-wide competition showcases the best-of-the-best and is hailed as “50 Teams, 50 Miles, 50 Hours” - a tagline that doesn’t do justice to what I saw. In reality, the event pushed these warriors to the very edge of human endurance demanding physical, mental, and spiritual fortitude rarely seen. And, this year’s event covered 60 miles, not 50.

The competition began at dusk with a three-mile run and obstacle course - rope climbs, pull-ups, wall climbs, balance beams, etc. - while wearing gas masks. Competitors then executed a “Helocast,“ an airlift via Chinook helicopter where they jumped without parachutes into icy water, at night, wearing combat fatigues and boots. After the several-hundred meter swim to shore, they then “rucked up” (70 pound backpack), and, as a squad, carried a 600-pound Zodiac boat overhead for a mile, still sporting their soaking fatigues in freezing weather. After a half mile swim across an icy lake in the dead of night, the hiking began.

For the next two days, the teams marched 60 miles carrying their 70 pound rucks, encountering 20-some “lanes” that tested their technical and physical proficiency as Sappers.

Technically, they measured a bridge and calculated the proper explosives to demolish it; they were tested on the proper explosives and techniques to breach doors, walls, and buildings; they built - then detonated - C4 charges to sever steel beams; they engaged targets with M320 grenade launchers; they used line explosives to breach barbed wire and concertina wire obstacles; and they calculated charges to destroy enemy artillery and mortar pieces.

Physically, they were pushed to exhaustion with road marches, cliff climbing, rappelling from mountainsides, more river-crossings, and a variety of stress tests. At one station, they performed a “stress shoot” - a combination of punishing exercises and rifle shooting to simulate marksmanship during combat conditions. At another station, instead of brawn, they had to use dexterity and concentration at night to tie knots taught in the Sapper Leader Course while wearing gloves and only under the light of a flashing strobe. And in a third location, they had to use robots, mine detectors, and ground-penetrating radar to simulate clearing an airfield of potential hazards.

Several teams met their physical limitations and had to stop due to medical conditions. Every team experienced blisters and hot spots from the heavy equipment, and were treated by medics along the way. I saw open wounds where backpacks wore bloody lesions deep into the flesh on Soldiers’ backs. Sleep was at a premium, coming only during scheduled downtime for safety, or during strategic pauses on the course - one Soldier would quickly eat or change socks while the other napped, then switched. Speed was always a factor despite the extreme toll being taken on each Soldier’s body.

On the third day, the teams gathered in a medical shed for a quick health evaluation before the final and most demanding event of the competition, the X-Mile Run.  The “X” in “X-Mile” is a variable - no competitor knew the distance to be traveled or physical tests to be completed along the way. Thousands of Soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood gathered along the trail and at the physical challenges to cheer the contestants through the X-Mile Run.

The best comparison I can offer is to consider the most challenging cross-training event you’ve ever seen, and then multiply it by four, spread over a timed three-mile course. Again, contestants were tested mentally along the way, with scores dictating the severity of the physical challenge presented. The teams encountered stations that included: 50 box jumps; 100 meters of burpees; 50 squats with a 95-pound barbell; 150 meter tractor-tire flip; 800 meter fireman carry; 100 meter dead-man pull; 100 meter bear crawl dragging an 80-pound bag; 50 sand-bag thrusters; quarter mile 80-pound cratering-charge carry; 40 hanging toe-to bar reps; wall climbing; barbed-wire low crawl; manual door breaching with a battering ram; 300 pound sand bag/ammo box carry for 100 meters; and more (done in the woods, outside my view). Perhaps the most challenging was the “POW crawl,“ a face/chest-down 75-meter worm-crawl through dust and rocks with hands and ankles joined together behind the back as if tied as a prisoner of war.

Considering what these Soldiers and Marines had been through the previous 49 hours - the freezing temperatures, the blisters and open wounds, the strain from carrying 70 pounds for 60 miles, the lack of sleep - spectators cringed to watch them tackle the X-Mile event. Yet, at that point, we saw something special…there was NO QUIT. Contestants muscled their way through station after station, the agony in their faces felt by each and every spectator on the sidelines.

To say that I’m proud of what I saw is an understatement. More accurately, I was in awe.

I was in awe of the preparation that took place to host an event like this: the logistics, lane graders, medics, road guards, helicopter pilots, engineers to construct obstacles, travel agents, and more, all focused on getting contestants there, and putting on this world-wide competition. I was in awe of the cadre who planned, executed, and graded this grueling competition for 50 straight hours. And, I was in awe of the dedicated men - and two women - who volunteered to undergo the series of tests, all to sharpen and showcase their Sapper skills in order to better serve our country. They volunteered to serve in our Armed Forces, they have risen to the top of their profession in technical expertise, and they dedicated the time to condition their bodies and minds to push past the point of exhaustion. Then, they submitted themselves to be tested to complete exhaustion in front of an entire Army post. Everybody present knew they were witnessing something special.

At the ceremony where the winning Best Sappers were announced, the guest speaker, Lt. Gen. (R) Robert Flowers, made an interesting request. Moved like everyone else by the courage, dedication and tenacity of the contestants, General Flowers made an open plea to President Trump. Flowers asked the Commander in Chief to “bring attention to what is being done here, and at every Army post across our nation where we turn young men and women into Soldiers.“ He went on to say, “When the United States has a tough job to do, it calls on the Army. When the Army has a tough job to do, it calls on its Sappers.“

George Orwell is attributed the notion, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.“ At Fort Leonard Wood’s Best Sapper Competition, I saw something world-class, something special - the “rough men” of whom Orwell spoke. You can sleep peaceably tonight knowing we have Sappers standing guard on Freedom’s doorstep.

Mac Warner
West Virginia Secretary of State
Mac Warner is West Virginia’s 30th Secretary of State. His son, 1st Lt. Scott Warner and teammate, 1st Lt. Louis Tobergte, are Combat Engineers assigned to the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) in Vicenza, Italy. They placed third in the 2018 Best Sapper Competition.

Free Press Classified Ads

For YOU...By YOU

West Virginia

National

Politics

International

Arts & Entertainment

Financial|Business

Sports

Living

Opinions

Outdoors

Technology & Science

Events & Announcements

Obituaries

Reader's Comments

Readers' Recent Comments

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Buck Edwards on 10.28.2018

From the entry: 'Stephen Blair Marks'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By GSC's New Mission? on 10.26.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By GSC Alumni on 10.26.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

By Opportunity for GSC on 10.23.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Agreements Matter on 10.22.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

By Why Reinvent The Wheel? on 10.22.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Clarity Is Always Good on 10.18.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

By Help Understanding on 10.17.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Levy Supporter on 10.16.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

“engage in pedantic colloquy?“

No Bill.

By WEKNOWYOU on 10.14.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Reader7 on 10.14.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Smart Feller on 10.13.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Reader7 on 10.12.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

Synthesis is at the high end.

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

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

By Easy Way Out on 10.10.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

Could the WV School Board Association help fill the gap?

By Lost Opportunity on 10.07.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Greg Garvin on 10.04.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

By Positive Changes Made By New BOE on 10.04.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Thanks Gilmer BOE on 10.03.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Transparency matters on 09.30.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By citizen 3 on 09.23.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Learn What Works From Others on 09.23.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

By GC--still on state probation? on 09.22.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Iowa Test For Gilmer on 09.21.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

By County-Specific on 09.21.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

To blame all problems on teachers is a cruel travesty.

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

By Do Not Blame It All On Our Teachers on 09.21.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Muddling on 09.19.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Adrienne (Trimper) Johnson on 09.19.2018

From the entry: 'Ronald J. Vanskiver'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Tell It Like It Is ! on 09.19.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

By Why Gilmer BOE? on 09.18.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

By just more smoke and mirrors on 09.16.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

By No solution here- on 09.16.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Look At Red Flags on 09.16.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

By Who Minds The Store on 09.15.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

By More sad ones to be told. on 09.14.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

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

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

Gilmer County High School.

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

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

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

By Public Demands Answers on 09.13.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Smart Feller on 09.13.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Better Times On The Way on 09.12.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

By Transparency matters on 09.12.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

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

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

By Waiting To See on 09.09.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Just saw this. Am so sorry.

By Betty Woofter on 09.06.2018

From the entry: 'Shirley F. Wilmoth'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Well, this is nice.

However, there have been promises and attempts more than I care to remember.

Canaan Valley, GSC deal.  Broadband to every holler.  Near twenty years ago.

Ole Joe spent money made promises. 
Little Missy Moore got on that wagon too.

Seems so much of this money chatter comes just before election time?
We be waitin’ though, but won’t hold our breath.

By Thanks EDA for trying. on 09.04.2018

From the entry: 'G-CommunityImprovement™: Gilmer County EDA Receives Community Block Grant'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.

By Need Measurable Results on 09.04.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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?

By no info flow on 09.02.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.

By Gilmer County School Watch on 08.29.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Appears the Governor will appoint 5 Supremes?

That means the 5 Supreme Court Judges will be beholding to the Governor?

Will the Governor ‘own’ the Supreme Court?

The Judge’s actions will answer that question.

By Hanshap on 08.28.2018

From the entry: 'Justice Appoints Jenkins and Armstead to West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Something is wrong with the way storm water all of a sudden rushes down hill from GSC’s parking lot located at the front of the administration building.

Down hill from the south corner of the lot runoff is so bad during storms to make rocks wash out to litter the unnamed steep street up hill from property formerly owned by the Barker’s.

Rocks and other debris are beginning to deposit over a drain at the entry of the steep hill to cause more water problems.

GSC please fix the problem.

By Property Owners on 08.28.2018

From the entry: 'GSC Students Travel to Berlin'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Another dark day in WV history.

By Ronzel on 08.26.2018

From the entry: 'Justice Appoints Jenkins and Armstead to West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.

By Gilmer BOE Finances on 08.25.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Accountability, you say?

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

By accountability? on 08.25.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.

By New Start on 08.22.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.

By Mr. Cottrill Asked to Lead on 08.21.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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.

By Opportunity For Gilmer's School System on 08.21.2018

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

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Noticed today that merchandise on sale at Foodland is shown on the GFP. Makes it easier to shop to get genuinely good deals. Thank you Morris family and the GFP.

By Grateful Consumer on 08.18.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The past couple months—-the first in likely 10 years, we have been filling a grocery cart at Foodland.
Usually shopping meant a trip to Weston or Gassaway, once in a while Clarksburg.
We certainly enjoy shopping and visiting right in Glenville.
Especially with the many visible improvements.
Why now, there is even and electric ‘buggy’ for those who need it.
The entire community and surrounding areas are enjoying Mr. Morris newest good deed!

By Yes---MANY happy Gilmer shoppers! on 08.15.2018

From the entry: 'WV Impeachment Enters a More Partisan Stage'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In a couple years we will be right back where we are today.
Here come the payback and favorites appointments.
Several are all ready lining up for a gig even be it a short one.
Nothing changes in West Virginia.

As far as the ones run off.  They will get a bonus, maybe even a cush job, as well as sweet
retirement deal.
Its the West Virginia way.

By Bill.H. on 08.14.2018

From the entry: 'WV Legislative Update'.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Click on the map below to see the information on Free Press Readers
The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXVIII The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved