Julia Roberts Goad
MATEWAN — The Mingo County Board of Education visited Matewan Elementary School to hear from the Local School Improvement Councils of both the elementary and Matewan Middle School.
Matewan Elementary has undergone drastic construction, and both schools will become Matewan K-8 at the beginning of the 2013-14 term.
Theresa Hanshaw, Principal of Matewan Elementary, said some 4th graders at the school had been undergoing testing, and that the personnel who came in to test the students talked about the atmosphere at the school.
“They said they had never met any kids like ours,” Hanshaw said. “They commented on the way our teachers spoke to the students. I have been an educator for over 20 years, and this is the most amazing staff I have ever seen.”
Deanna Maynard, who is an instructional coach at Matewan Elementary , said technology is seamlessly used at the school.
“It is infused and embedded in the way we teach,” she told the Board. “Now, we can focus on rigorous standards for Next Generation Learning.”
Maynard said students are given responsibility over functions at the school as well as their own education.
“Second graders come in every morning and write up the lunch menu, so we know what we have that day,” she explained. “Third graders help deliver breakfast to students, 4th graders are our safety patrol in the mornings, helping students get to their rooms. Our students keep data notebooks with their own achievement, and what they are working on. They analyze the data from their work, and set goals for the next step. Then they review their performance. They have awareness of their own success, and ownership of their goals.”
MES’s motto of ‘Making Every Student Successful’ is driven home by a staff that is motivated as well as consistent, Maynard said. Positive behavior is reinforced, so that negative behavior is often avoided.
Matewan Middle School gave their final LSIC report to the Board, as it will close when the schools are combined. Ronnie Maynard, President of the school’s PTO, gave a report on activities the PTO organizes at the school, such as the Veteran’s Day Luncheon, Homecoming, dances and the social studies fair.
The school has currently has no librarian, Maynard said, and so parents have taken on the responsibility of organizing and running the library.
Mingo BOE President Bill Duty said he the speakers from both schools had given the Board an idea of the passion the staffs felt, and how that ignites a child’s desire to learn.
“There is a saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” Duty said. “But, you can give the horse salt to make it thirsty, to want to drink. You are encouraging these kids, you are making them thirsty to learn.”