PARKERSBURG — The Wood County School Board held its regular meeting Tuesday at the 13th Street offices.
The board heard presentations from Cathy Grewe, Coordinator of Assessment and Student Services, on the results of the substance abuse survey; a strategic plan from Tammy McKnight, Director of Federal Programs; a proposed change to high school graduation dates from Kennith Cook, Director of Secondary Education; and financial statements from Chief Financial Officer Whitni Kines.
Grewe spoke to the board about the Pride survey results for the 2021-22 school year.
“The Pride survey gives us insight into where students are in terms of risky behaviors and other risk and protective factors such as mental health,” said Grewe. “It alerts us to student needs and guides our planning to meet those needs.”
Grewe went on to say that the number of students who reported using e-cigarettes dropped significantly for grades eight, ninth, and eleven, and increased only slightly for grade six. She attributed this to the vice principals of secondary schools. She also reported to the board that the percentage of students who think nicotine is harmful has increased, but sixth-grade students have seen a decrease. She said they were “to build up muscle” efforts to resolve the problem with these students.
Marijuana use is down, but alcohol use has increased, she said.
“We have to think about how we are going to solve this problem,” said Grewe. “Especially at the ninth grade level.”
Grewe then spoke about the mental and emotional health of the students. She said there had been an increase in the number of students who reported feeling hopeless, depressed, having thought about suicide or being treated for a suicide attempt. Grewe said this was directly related to COVID.
“The CDC even said it was going to take several years,” Grewe said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are going to see the emotional effects of COVID for several years.”
Grewe got emotional as he told the story of a student who was struggling in school. The student was missing class, was depressed, and everyone thought the student was not going to do well in school. Grewe said an English and art teacher took an interest in the student and began encouraging him rather than disciplining him.
“It seemed for a moment that (the student) was going to bounce back,” said Grewe. “But instead, thanks to the teachers who cared, she bounced back. This is what we must do for everyone.
During the consent agenda, the board approved an increase in the purchase order for Pickering Associates for HVAC projects, a change order for Construction No. 1 Grae-Con for the entrance renovation Secure and Blennerhassett Elementary Office, and accepted the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, for financial reports as submitted for filing with the West Virginia Department of Education,
The board also approved the purchase of several new buses from Matheny Motor Truck Co. and Total Worldwide Equipment. In Matheny they have purchased two 2023 Thomas Saf-T-Liner 84 passenger buses and two 2023 Thomas Saf-T-Liner 53 passenger buses. From Total Worldwide Equipment they have approved the purchase of two 2023 International 78 passenger buses and three 2023 International 54-passenger buses. They also approved the purchase of three 10-passenger stretch vans to support extracurricular and extracurricular student activities at Whiteside of St. Clairsville Inc.
During the Consent Agenda, the board approved a change to high school graduation dates as follows: Parkersburg South High School on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 7 p.m., Williamstown High School on Thursday, May 18 May 2023 at 5 p.m., and Parkersburg High School on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at 7 p.m.
The next school board meeting will be Tuesday, October 11 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Wood County Schools Central Office at 1210 13th St. in Parkersburg. The meeting is open to the public and will be streamed online.
Modified dates for high school diplomas
∫ Parkersburg South High School – Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at 7 p.m.
∫ Williamstown High School – Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 5 p.m.
∫ Parkersburg High School – Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 7 p.m.