Paw Paw Schools report achievements and needs at school board meeting
The Paw Paw Schools local school improvement council (LSIC) discussed the school’s progress and needs during its annual report at the January 15 Morgan County School Board meeting.
Highlights were curriculum news and student presentations, which included the Flash Mob dancers, science achievements and third graders presenting what teachers are learning in professional development.
Tech Ed students from Chris Poniris’ class also shared stories from the robotics competition they participated in at Fairmont University and discussed rest room and locker room renovations.
Paw Paw Elementary and Paw Paw High School both made adequate yearly progress in 2012.
Staff was focusing on 2012 student data for DIBELS and AIMSweb grades k-2 grade benchmark assessments, STAR math and reading data for grades 3-6 and WESTEST 2 assessment results for grades 3-11 to focus on areas of curriculum improvement.
Some significant improvements in high school WESTEST 2 proficiency percentages in reading and math were noted. Mastery levels in reading and math varied for grades 3-11, with many proficiency levels ranging from good to excellent along with several low percentages.
Improving student achievement and moving more students to the mastery level in reading and math were a school priority. Strategies included silent sustained reading periods for 7th, 8th and 10th grades, a daily journaling period, math and English support and continued Advanced Placement English classes for juniors and seniors.
Other strategies to improve behavior and instruction included k-12 positive behavior support programs, adding a contractual counselor one day a week though Title 1 funding and a drop-out prevention program collaboration with Berkeley Springs High School.
The graduation rate for Paw Paw High School was 100% last year. Attendance rates increased slightly in both the elementary school and the high school.
The school had 50% of elementary students and 45% of high school students directly certified for free and reduced meals through the Department of Health and Human Resources. The number of single parent homes, students being raised by grandparents and homeless students has increased.
The school also has a rising rate of special needs students and an increased number of kids diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder and other impairing medical conditions.
A Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Club (STEM) is in place at the high school. A Title 1 math interventionist and a reading specialist were also added at the elementary school level as well as a technology integration specialist for grades 6-8.
Other improvements include and library time for 5th and 6th grade classes and a transitional math lab class for seniors that were in danger of not graduating.
Classroom libraries have also been lettered or numbered books for their readability at specific grade levels, which is called lexiling. It helps kids to choose a book on their reading level, said Principal Melinda Kasekamp.
The school had various programs such as Odyssey, WV Writes, STEM activities and Type to Learn to improve student performance in reading, math, social studies, science, writing and keyboarding.
Science programs included the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capitol’s Science Discovery Club and programs through the NASA Educational Resources Center and National Weather Service. Students also planted 34 flowering trees on the school campus through the Cacapon Institute’s Project CommuniTree grant program.
Other successful school programs included Title 1 reading efforts, the Parade of Costumes with book prizes, school recognitions, class pot luck dinners, Parent/Child Academy Family Reading Night, school holiday programs and Santa’s Workshop.
Curriculum needs included a remedial reading/comprehension program for grades 6th through 8th, two periods of math and English for 7th-8th graders and special education programs for Tier 3.
Math and reading intervention programs for grades 7-12, a systematic writing program for grades 7-12, built-in physical activity breaks for grades 7-12 and sharing resources with Berkeley Springs High School were also needed.
Paw Paw Police Chief Tim Harthun addressed his school safety concerns in the areas of building security, fire and rescue access, traffic safety, emergency training and evacuation drills planning.
Harthun also emphasized the need for a flashing lights school zone signal on Route 9 and felt the school zone should be extended to Cherry Lane.
Other presentation segments concerned communications, school climate and alignment with the county’s strategic plan for proficiency in math, reading and 21st Century skills for all students. The school was considered a safe and orderly environment for learning.
Facilities improvements included the computer lab, the LobbyGuard visitor kiosk, the new freezer unit and the school’s new weight room. Their biggest needs were curriculum and facilities needs, said Principal Kasekamp.
The school requested supplies for cosmetic improvements to the restrooms and locker rooms. Tech Ed teacher Chris Poniris and his students volunteered to do the renovations, which included rearranging lockers and tile work. Other campus safety needs were discussed.
Paw Paw Alumni Association member Jock Shambaugh also requested air conditioning for the gymnasium.