Brooke school, teacher gain honors

WELLSBURG – The staff, students and community of Colliers Primary School and Suzanne Davidson, a fourth-grade teacher at Hooverson Heights Primary School; were recognized by the Brooke County Board of Education Monday for being honored for excellence at the state and regional levels.

Superintendent Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson said Colliers Primary School was one of only 10 schools in West Virginia to be named a West Virginia School of Excellence by the state Department of Education.

To receive the designation, a school must have had 50 percent of its students ranked as proficient in math and reading through state achievement test stores over a three-year period. It also must have a high level of parent and community involvement and satisfaction among pupils, staff and community members in its efforts to educate.

It also received the honor in 1996.

Jo-Ellen Goodall, the school’s principal, said to be considered for the honor, the school completed a 33-page application with questions about such aspects as the school’s curriculum, continuing education attained by its staff and the role played by parents and business partners.

Goodall said the questions were divided among staff who sought input from various sources, including former students.

Penny Foose, a teacher at the school, said the next level of consideration involved a visit by educators recruited by the state Department of Education who visited each classroom and interviewed staff, pupils, parents and community members.

Kidder-Wilkerson said she was happy when the school attained that level of consideration and was very happy later when it was named a School of Excellence.

Goodall said the school has been blessed with a very active PTA, with members often involved in beautifying the school and volunteering in special programs; and strongly supportive parents and family members, something that was highlighted by the visitors from the state Department of Education.

Foose noted to encourage good reading skills, children are given logs, in which they record daily reading done with parents and other family members. All of them receive prizes for completing the logs, and those who do the most reading get a special treat, such as a pizza party attended by the children and their parents, she said.

Goodall said the community also has supported efforts by the school to help various causes, from the United Way to a local food pantry to families experiencing hardships.

Also receiving recognition was Suzanne Davidson, who was named the year’s Exemplary Teacher by Regional Educational Service Agency VI, an agency through which school districts in the Northern Panhandle collectively purchase materials, secure additional training and receive technical assistance with computers.

Kidder-Wilkerson said Davidson, a Brooke County teacher since 1980, was chosen from nominees submitted by schools throughout the five-county region after submitting a videotape of herself teaching her pupils about Newton’s First Law of Motion and leading a hands-on activity reinforcing its principles.

She noted Davidson has received many other honors, including being selected recently to participate in the Honeywell Educators Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.

Davidson said she hopes to further the space camp’s goal of encouraging more youth to explore careers involving math and science.

“We as a country are not producing enough engineers to fill all the available positions,” she said, adding, “Our role as educators is to encourage children to think about engineering as a career.”

Board President Jim Piccirillo congratulated Davidson and the staff of Colliers Primary School on the board’s behalf and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

Dawn Zemer, JoAnn Varner, Linda Caldrone and Jeanette Buffington, all of WesBanco, were on hand to present gift cards to Davidson and Colliers Primary School. Kidder-Wilkerson also presented a plaque of appreciation to WesBanco for its support as a business partner of the school district.

In other business, the school board:

Announced a visit planned by state Superintendent of Schools James Phares was canceled because of a serious illness in his family. Phares has made plans to visit Brooke County in September, said board members.

Accepted a bid of $14,964 from the Gil Thermes Fence Co. of Wintersville for fence installation and repairs at Brooke HIgh School, Wellsburg Middle School and Franklin, Jefferson and Wellsburg primary schools.

Approved the transfers of Sandra Wargo, from cook at Colliers Primary School to cook at Brooke High School; and James Corbin, from custodian at the high school to a custodial position divided between the high school and Jefferson Primary School.

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