McCartney to serve as PSHS interim principal

PARKERSBURG – Tim McCartney will serve as interim principal at Parkersburg South High School, said Wood County Superintendent of Schools John Flint on Monday.

McCartney retired from the assistant principal position at Parkersburg South High School on June 30 and is an experienced educator, Flint said.

“It is important right now to have someone in place who understands the school and what is going on at South,” Flint said.

Once students have had time to adjust to the recent death of Principal Tom Eschbacher, and things have returned to normal at the school, a permanent principal will be sought, Flint said.

Flint said Eschbacher asked that flags not be flown at half-staff after his death, which is why flags are continuing to fly at full mast in Wood County, he said.

After the recent circuit court decision on the case of Adam Cross and Lisa Watson v. the Wood County Board of Education and Dwain Sponseller, Flint asked Mike Winland, director of secondary schools, to make a presentation about the BOE’s safe schools procedures during Monday evening’s board of education meeting.

There have been substantial changes since the incident in 2010 which prompted the recent court case, Winland said. Steps are being taken to ensure that employees understand all of the important policies listed in the handbook, Winland said.

The BOE provides employees with the training required by state code and county policy under safe schools procedures, Winland said. The list of training available to employees is 10-pages long, and is required by state policy and Wood County Schools policy, Winland said.

Winland pointed out some of the highlights involved in policy 2500, which is 43-pages long in the county version, and more than 70-pages long at the state level.

The policy outlines steps and protocol available to parents or students who require assistance with problems, Winland said. It also outlines the schools responsibilities, student responsibilities, and confidentiality requirements for dealing with future problems, Winland said.

In other business, the Wood County Board of Education voted 4-0-1, with board member Jim Asbury abstaining, to approve payment of a bill for legal services rendered by Bowles Rice as of July 1. The bill was $2,169.21, Flint said.

Wood County kindergarten teachers will start using the new early learning reporting system this fall, said Judy Johnson, director of curriculum and instruction.

This reporting system is more thorough than the grading system used currently, Johnson said. Its use will allow parents a greater understanding of what their child’s strengths and weaknesses are, Johnson said.

Eventually, this grading system will be implemented for use up to the second grade, Johnson said.

This fall, all students will be given free access to Microsoft 365 for up to five devices in their homes, said Johnson. This program will be available to all Wood County Board of Education employees, including transportation and teachers, to provide everyone with a usable program to help with education.

This program will serve as a catch-all to fulfill student needs and can be accessed on multiple devices, so that children can continue their homework while away from home by accessing a device with the program installed on it, Johnson said.

Microsoft Office 365 includes an email system and will replace the access system teachers and students are using.

Several new positions and transfers were voted on during Monday’s meeting, including Hollie Best for the position of food service director, Clint Spencer for assistant principal at Blennerhassett Middle School, Vicki Hyre for principal at Gihon Elementary, Roger Thompson for principal at Franklin Elementary, and Adam Cheeseman for assistant principal at Williamstown High School.

A contract correction was made for Melissa Powers, who is now the assistant principal at Mineral Wells Elementary. Powers’s initial contract was for 220 days at eight hours a day, but it should have been for 215 days at eight hours a day, said Flint.

All of the proposed new position, transfers, and the contract correction votes were unanimously passed by the board of education.

There are still many open positions, including in human resources and administration, said Deputy Superintendent Betsy Patterson. The BOE is seeking permission from the state to continue hiring until children begin attending school this fall, Patterson said.

Jobs will be posted today at 4:30 p.m. for several open positions remaining with the school system, Patterson said.

Some positions being vacated, such as vice principal position at VanDevender Middle School, will not be filled again as the number of students in the schools do not require the position to be filled, Patterson said. This decision, and others like it, will save the school system upwards of $40,000 this year, Patterson said.