(12/20/2006)
By Bob Weaver

School board president Lee Evans (pictured right) said Monday "It is reasonable to be worried about (Calhoun) students not meeting the math requirements" of No Child Left Behind.

Evans expressed his concern to Curriculum Director Greg Cartwright, who made a presentation regarding measures being taken to improve Algebra I proficiency.

Evans quoted from a 2005-06 report that said a group of Calhoun students fell 23% below mastery of math - 115 of 429 students.

Calhoun students, not unlike a large number of West Virginia students, are falling short in math and reading under No Child Left Behind.

Cartwright's presentation showed marked improvement in response to Algebra I changes, using "flexible time for teaching."

"We are not using watered-down curriculum," Cartwright said. "We believe we're making progress regarding this problem," pointing to improved numbers.

Superintendent Ron Blankenship tells Evans
"It's working," improving academic skills

"We (school board) are accountable for these problems," Evans said, "We could become cardboard cut-outs to be taken over by the State Board."

Evans, commenting on No Child Left Behind standards, said "It is unreasonable to think all these students can meet these math requirements," which get more rigorous each year. "Maybe the Democrats will help change the system," Evans said, raising concerns about block scheduling.

"I don't think block scheduling is working here," he said.

Cartwright tells board about changes to improve teaching Algebra I

Cartwright, acknowledging some serious problems, said "We believe we're making progress," including re-teaching Algebra to a number of students that fall short.

Calhoun fell below the NCLB standards because of its' number of drop-outs.

Board members Cynthia Dale, Joy Starcher, Steve
Whited and Mike Wilson participate in dialogue

Shari Johnson spoke to the school board regarding a Youth Force Project for Calhoun Middle-High School, seeking approval. The issue will be placed on next month's agenda.

Board member Joy Starcher reported on a recent RESA meeting and Steve Whited reported on Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center meeting.

Facilities director Donnie Pitts gave a building maintenance report, noting that drain problems have been repaired at Arnoldsburg Elementary and boiler problems have been corrected at Calhoun Middle-High School.

The county's Major Improvement Plan (MIP) has estimates that are subject to change.

The board approved volunteer agreements for Justin Ashley- CMHS; Henry Cooper - CMHS; Gaylen Duskey - CMHS; C.W. McDonald - CMHS.

Home-school requests were approved for two high school students and early graduation or half-day releases were approved for four students.

A leave of absence was approved for Deborah Cunningham for the remainder of the school year.

Employment was approved for Matthew Taylor - Temporary Career Center Bus Driver; Wendy Cottrill - Substitute Teacher; Jamie McDonough - Substitute Teacher; Brandi Richards - Substitute Teacher; Brittney Riddle - Tutor.

Financial matters approved: Invoice - $444,420.60; Supplements - $132,202.16; Transfers - $148,310.48; Financial Report - October 31, 2006.

The next meeting is January 8, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Office of the Superintendent.

Others present besides board members and Superintendent Blankenship: Maggie Bennett, Greg Cartwright, Shari Johnson, Melissa Jones, Karen Kirby, Donnie Pitts, Connie Roberts, Bob Weaver, Tammy Yoak


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