Hancock adopts new coaching policy

NEW CUMBERLAND – Head principals in Hancock County may no longer be coaches for school sports, according to a policy adopted Monday by the Hancock County school board.

Superintendent Suzan Smith said she recommended the policy revision after considering the implications of Senate Bill 359, the far-reaching education reform bill passed by the West Virginia legislature earlier this year.

“The demands on the head principals are so much,” Smith said. “It appears to be here to stay.”

Senate Bill 359 instituted, among other things, new teacher hiring provisions and new teacher evaluation standards – all of which require more of school principals, Smith said.

The board approved the policy for public comment on Aug. 5 and approved a second reading on Monday. Smith said she replied to the two comments that were received.

Smith said the policy applies to the head principals at both high schools and both middle schools and to the principals of all elementary schools. It does not apply to assistant principals.

The board also gave a first reading to a policy revision having to do with the enrollment of homeless children.

In other business Monday, the board:

Approved a memorandum of understanding between the West Virginia Department of Education, Regional Education Service Agencies and county boards of education that will provide support for two Hancock County schools – Oak Glen Middle School and Allison Elementary School – that have been designated as focus schools.

Focus schools are those that have been shown, based on WESTEST 2 results, to have gaps in learning between students groups. Smith said the district must develop a plan to close gaps in learning between regular students and those in special education.

Extended the contract with Project and Construction Services Inc., of Wheeling, through Aug. 31, 2014. The company provides construction management services to the school district for its bond levy construction projects.

Renewed an agreement with AK Energy Management (Compass Energy Gas Services) that is effective through Sept. 30, 2014. The consultant advises the school district on buying natural gas on the open market, which, last year, resulted in a savings of $10,000 in the schools’ gas bill, Smith said.

Approved a request from the Hancock County Office of Emergency Management to use school buildings during the June 2014 Beaver Valley/Hancock County FEMA drill.

Hired Philip Taylor to teach advanced placement psychology at Oak Glen and Weir High schools for the first and second trimesters of the current school year. Taylor succeeds Kelsey Hayward, who retired earlier this month.

Approved the advertising of the following positions: multi-categorical/autism teacher for Oak Glen Middle School; behavior coach at Liberty Elementary School in Weirton; and multi-categorical/autism teacher at Oak Glen High School.

Approved by a vote of 4-1 the hiring of Celia Ptaszek as payroll accountant in the district’s finance office. Ptaszek succeeds longtime payroll accountant Joyce Reed, who is retiring at the end of the month. Board member Patsy Brancazio voted against the hiring.

(Huba can be contacted at shuba@reviewonline.com)