By Jean A. Flanagan
“The trip was in October, but the students are still talking about it to this day.”
Renee Reed, 8th-grade science teacher at East Hardy Early Middle School, was describing a canoe trip she and 39 students took. She presented an overview of the trip to the Hardy County Board of Education at their regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017.
“In addition to the four or five science standards the students learned, there were others including physical education, health, history and agriculture,” Reed said. “They learned about teamwork, map reading and the consequences of not following directions.”[private]
The 6-mile trip entitled River Quest Field School was organized by River & Trail Outfitters. The day-long ecology tour began near Harpers Ferry and provided lessons about the impact everyone has on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.
The trip included certified instructors, river guides and lesson plans. The trip also included water testing, macro-invertebrate study, and searches for reptilian residents.
“I didn’t even know what a watershed was,” said Camden Link, who participated in the trip. “I had never been in a canoe before.”
“I learned how to canoe, that it takes teamwork,” student Caitlyn Ward, said. “I learned that the water was clear in the 1800s, but now it’s not. It was a good experience.”
Reed said the trip was funded by a grant from the Hardy County Community Foundation Heishman Fund.
Interim Superintendent Sheena VanMeter reported she visited with the School Building Authority in Charleston to discuss shortfalls in the Moorefield High School and East Hardy High School building projects.
“I got the feeling they very much would like to help us,” VanMeter said. “There are probably things we paid for that we shouldn’t have.”
Some examples she mentioned include the fencing around Moorefield High School and the inspection of the gym floor by an outside agency.
“We need to go back and see what we can submit,” said Finance Director Veeta Burgess.
The high school building projects were funded by a 50/50 match by the voters of Hardy County and the SBA. The voters approved a bond for $21.5 million and the SBA matched that amount. However, there were stipulations on specific items the SBA would fund. “They would not consider anything that had to do with the architect or the construction manager,” VanMeter said.
“We are going to go back and look at every check we wrote,” said Facilities Director Steve Williams.
Main Street Project
Williams said he has requested a meeting in January with representatives from the West Virginia Brownfields Association regarding the Main Street Project.
“They aren’t a funding agency,” Williams said. “They said we needed a remedial action plan.”
The Main Street Project involves 2.5 acres at the corner of Main Street and Jackson Avenue. The property is adjacent to Moorefield High School and the BOE hopes to create a greenhouse, high tunnel area for the Agricultural Studies students at the school and a farmers’ market location for the community.
The BOE has a lease/purchase agreement with the Hardy County Rural Development Authority, owners of the property.
An initial survey of several buildings on the property identified small amounts of asbestos, which needs special care during demolition.
The RDA applied for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant to fund the project, but was not successful. The RDA was successful in receiving a Chesapeake Bay grant for storm water management and a West Virginia Department of Agriculture grant to build the high tunnels. However, renovation can not being until the existing structures are demolished and the sited cleared.
BOE Vice President Doug Hines, asked if the board could get something in writing from the Brownfields representatives.
“We’ve gotten nothing but promises,” he said. “I wasn’t in favor of this project from the beginning.”
“I hope we can get some clarification as to who needs to write the grant requests,” VanMeter said.
•Williams said the contractor for the EHEMS HVAC project was coming back to ‘tweak’ the boiler. “It’s not running efficiently,” he said.
•Burgess announced there were no audit findings in this year’s audit. “They even verified the VIN numbers and the seat count on the new buses,” Williams said.
•After numerous grammatical and terminology corrections, the Student Attendance Policy JDJ was approved for first reading. The county policy mirrors the state Board of Education attendance policy. “It’s sad that the attendance policy is 47 pages long,” Board member Dixie Bean commented.
•The board approved the removal of Beginning Teacher/Administrator Mentor Policy GCE. “There were two policies,” VanMeter said.
•The Hardy County Schools will be recognized on Jan. 12 in Charleston for having a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.
•The next meeting of the Hardy County Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 2 beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Central Office, 510 Ashby St. in Moorefield. The public is invited to attend.[/private]