NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County Schools Superintendent Dan Enich set out some of his plans for the school system, as well as preparations for the upcoming school year, during a combination workshop and special meeting of the county board of education held Monday.
“It’s reasonable and customary to do this in other counties,” Enich said of the idea of providing a “state of the schools” report.
Enich reviewed some of the efforts the district has to get ready for the 2023-24 school year, outlining dates for the Teachers Academy, a voluntary training opportunity for educators; the Personnel Bootcamp, a required meeting of superintendents in the state; an emergency planning event to be held at the end of July; as well as the self-appraisals for the school board.
Enich announced the county is looking into becoming a part of the state’s Grow Your Own program, which provides “an innovative, reduced cost pathway” for high school students to pursue a career in education, according to the West Virginia Department of Education.
“As everyone knows, we have a shortage of teachers, aides, substitutes,” Enich said.
Enich explained 37 of West Virginia’s 55 counties have launched a program, which involves partnering with colleges which provide an education program, combining dual-enrollment and advanced placement classes to create an accelerated pathway toward a degree and certification.
Along those same lines, he noted he has met with Daniel Mossor, president of West Virginia Northern Community College to discuss potential agreements and partnerships to provide accelerated pathways in other fields of study.
Board member Gerard Spencer pointed out such programs have been established for years between Steubenville High School and Eastern Gateway Community College.
“A lot of those kids end up with an associate’s when they leave Big Red,” Spencer said.
Enich said such programs haven’t been as readily available for Hancock County Schools.
Enich noted there will be a continued effort to focus on safety in the school system, with an ongoing evaluation of cameras, and their locations, in all buildings.
It was noted the district was able to receive a waiver, providing an additional year, to meet a new law in West Virginia requiring audio recording devices in all restrooms in elementary schools.
“It’s stored and reviewed by administrators in each building,” he said, explaining regular reviews of the audio are mandated by state law.
He said parents will be notified as the systems are put into the schools.
The possibility also was raised of moving forward with a proposal from CHANGE Inc., which would feature an in-school health center established at Oak Glen High School.
“They’re all in favor of it,” board Vice President Ed Fields said, noting he has spoken to several officials at Oak Glen.
Enich noted the importance of providing a safe and supportive environment for students, with a strong curriculum to prepare them for their future.
“There’s competition out there for kids; for students,” he said. “We want to make sure we have and exceed what others do.”
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