Wood BOE: Educations to be personalized

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the non-community and technical education county concentrations policy, which will create a Personalized Education Plan for every student in the county.

Each county in West Virginia is required to have a county counseling policy for helping students decide what their future career will be, said Dianne Boggess, assessment, counseling and drug-free coordinator for Wood County Schools.

Boggess requested that the county’s current policy be repealed and replaced with a new one. The new policy is so different from the previous one that repealing would be simpler, she said.

The new Personalized Education Plan will be presented to students, regardless of what their intended path after high school is, to better fine tune their educational experience toward their future career, Boggess said.

Every student’s Personalized Education Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis, fine-tuned toward the student’s changing plans, and signed off on by the student, a parent, the counselor and a school-appointed adviser to the student, Boggess said.

Plans like this one are already in use for skill-oriented students, who graduate high school with certificates to get started working in their fields, said Cathy Grewe, counselor for Wood County Schools. The new plan will perform the same function for non-technical students in the county as well, Grewe said.

The Personalized Education Plan begins in eighth grade and will guide students toward their future career goals by fine-tuning their educational experiences to those which will help in their career path, Grewe said.

Each student will be asked to select from one of five available concentrations, determined by the type of employment the student desires, Grewe said.

From that concentration, specific plans will then be created for each student, Grewe said. These plans will encompass state graduation requirements and the student’s future career plans to focus on the best educational experience for the individual child, Grewe said.

Ann Goudy, assistant director of finance for Wood County Schools, gave a presentation on a new policy for bonuses for unused sick leave which would repeal the current policy during Tuesday’s meeting.

The old policy gave professionals up to 15 days they can use during a year, and the new policy allows for the accumulation of up to 20 days of sick leave for each year, she said.

The new policy would reward employees based on the number of days of unused sick leave each year, Goudy said. An employee who misses zero days during a school year will receive a $1,000 bonus at the end of the year, she said.

Employees who miss from one to five days will receive $100 less than $1,000 per sick day used, and those who miss six days or more in a year will receive no bonus, Goudy said.

“This policy is designed to make personnel consider whether they honestly do need to take the day off or not,” Goudy said.

Every sick day currently used costs the county money, Goudy said. The new plan would save the county $170,000 if last year’s absentee numbers were to be duplicated in the 2014-2015 year, Goudy said.

However, a fear does exist that employees who realize they will not receive a bonus for the year may use their remaining sick days arbitrarily, costing the county even more money, Goudy said.

Board President John Marlow said the policy should be taken to service and teaching personnel unions for feedback before the policy is approved.

Andrew Kimble, with Kimble Recycling, appeared before the board during the public comment session to protest the selection of Waste Management over Kimble Recycling for the school system’s trash needs for the coming year.

Kimble claimed his Cambridge, Ohio-based company could save the county $200,000 based on the previous years’ bills, and pointed out that his company serves the Belpre area five days a week, making it local and easy to reach.

The board decided to place the approval of a contract with Waste Management on hold until the Aug. 26 board meeting to allow for bids to be reviewed and numbers to be analyzed again.

The board approved the transfer of Vicki Hyre from principal of Gihon Elementary to principal of Waverly Elementary, and of Lee Ann Cumpston from teacher at Kanawha Elementary to transformational specialist at Franklin Elementary.

The board voted unanimously to approve the Parkersburg High School wrestling team to attend tournaments in Charlotte, N.C. on Dec. 5-6; Pigeon Forge, Tenn. on Dec. 22; Washington, Pa. on Dec. 29-30; and Pittsburgh, Pa. on Jan. 23-24, 2015.