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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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February 21, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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February 21, 2012
 

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Ae Wednesday, February 22, 201 2 State News pirit of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE Sch,)ols chief lool0000s to address W.Va. educaticm audit CHARLESTON (AP) As Jorea Marple's first year of leading West Virginia's pu.blic schools winds down, she's faced with perhaps her biggest challenge: working with key stake- holders to sort through a massive audit of the education system. Commissioned by Gov. Earl Ray 'romblin, the top-to-bottom audit re- leased last month includes recommen- dations to trim and reorganize the state Department of Education's high-level positions. It also targets teachers, prin- cipals and school coursework. The recommendations range from a voluntary merit pay system for teach- ers, to reduced workloads for new ed- ucators, using distance-learning tech- nology, and penalizing counties that fail to povide at least 180 days of in- struction annually. "The premise .that we can be more efficient is a sound one," Marple said in an interview with The Associated Press to discuss her first'year, which began March 1. "There are many rec- ommendations in that report that sup- port the direction that we're moving." Immediate action can be taken on several recommendations that fall within the state Board of Education's authority, Marple said. Many others will need some sorting out. "Our suggestion is that we put it through a filter to make sure that the recommendations are always in the best interests of the children and sup- port high-quality teachers in our class- rooms," she said. According to a draft response pre- sented to the state board for its review, the department would form an advi- sory group to address a recommenda- tion to reorganize the Department of Education, including the operation of the eight Regional Education Services Agencies. Several audit recommendations call on the state to become a leader in edu- cation-related technology and distance learning, and Marple said technology is one of her department's main fund- ing goals in the Legislature. The department is seeking $23 mil- lion annually over the next four years to provide computers for students in six grade levels, giving them access to online resources and assessment tests. The goal is to outfit every grade level by 2020. It would enable students "to ac- cess the whole virtual world and will be able to learn 24-7," Marple said. "(They) can stop carrying 50-pound book bags because they can have PDF files on their computers to access text- books." Marple said school districts across the country are moving toward so- called one-on-one technology. While Jorea Marple Mingo Central and Wirt County high schools have done that, they're in the minority. "More and more lack of access to technology is existing out there," Mar- pie said. "What we have to have is a plan and a funding source." The department's main legisla- tive priorities also include pay raises for educators and service personnel, funding for regional education service agencies, reducing the debt in post- employment benefits, and encourag- ing the mentoring of new teachers. West Virginia teachers received across-the-board raises of $1,488 last year, their first since 2008. The Na- tional Education Association says the average teacher in West Virginia was paid $44,701 in the 2009-10 school year, ranking it 48th among the states. Although Tomblin's proposed bud- get does not include pay increases for teachers beyond the automatic raises tied to years of service, Marple stressed the state needs to act now to study ways to attract young teachers. New teachers currently are paid about $31,000 a year. Marple said many schools have staff- ing problems. And according to her de- partment, 44 percent of public school teachers and 59 percent of principals will have reached retirement age within the next five years. "I go to school. I walk down the hall and there'll be class after class that has a substitute in it, or I listen to students tell me they've had three or four subs this year for algebra 1," Marple said. "Hav- ing high-quality teachers in our class- rooms is essential to student achieve- ment." Bills now under consideration in the Legislature would provide college graduates who did not earn a teaching degree with support and'mentoring as they work tqward a teaching certificate. Among the intent is to help generate more teachers in critical areas such as math, science and special education. Senate Education Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, has called the Department of Education's budget pri- orities disappointing and told Marple they had one major omission: Improv- ing the lives of students. Marple disagrees with that notion. Her background indicates students are her priority. A Sutton native, Marple followed her mother in becoming a teacher. Mar- ple first worked in Greenbrier County in 1969. She had several roles in Ka- nawha County, including as schools superintendent from 1993 to 1998. She was the deputy state schools superin- tendent before taking over as superin- tendent. West Virginia Education Associa- tion President Dale Lee singled out Marple's efforts to spend time in class- rooms and hear teachers' concerns. Based on that, Marple got the state Board of Education to change require- ments that students have 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading and 60 minutes of uninterrupted math. Attention to the two subjects is still required, but there are no time constraints and teachers are now allowed to use their own judg- ment, Lee said. "She is very teacher friendly, very student friendly and seeks input from everyone, including classroom teach- ers, on the best ways to improve an already good education system," Lee said. Student inventor Blair Mountain defende:r00; protest in Y .Va., M0. takes London stage : MORGANTOWN (AP) A Vest Virginia University student who developed a device to help amputees when she was only 16 is now the youngest person ever nvited to present to the Royal Society of Medicine. Twenty-year-old Katherine Bomkamp was invited to speak Saturday at the Medical Innova- tions Summit in London. She's a political science soph- omore with no medical back- ground. Bornkamp invented a prosthet- ic device called "The Pain Free Socket." It uses thermal-bio feedback to alleviate phantom pain in amputees. The brain focuses on heat that's produced, rather than sending signals to the nonexis- tent limb: As a teenager in Waldorf. Md., Bomkamp visited Wal- ter Reed Army Medical Center with her Air Force veteran fa- ther. She saw amputees suffer- ing and wanted to help In November, Glamour mag, azlne named her one of "21 Amazing Young Women." Subscribe to the Spirit 0f Jeffers0n! Call (304)725-2046 Jefferson High School Football Boosters Annual Mulch Sale - WE DELIVER!!! The Best Quality Mulch in the Region from Potomac Farms in Shepherdstown Delivery Scheduled for Saturday, March 31,2012 Two Options : 3 cu. t. bags Brown Premium Shredded Hardwood Mulch- $3.25 per bag 2 cu. t, bags Black Premium Shredded Hardwood Mulch - $3.75 per bag Free deUvet with 10 bags or more jlerl)llll Smaller orders can be picked up at the high school on Saturday, March 31,2012 9am to Noon Orders must be prepaid and forms received no later than Friday, March 23, 2012 FOOTBALL Mail checksto: JHS Football Boosters, 414] Flowing Springs Rood, Shenandoah Junction, WV 25442 - Questions? Send e-mail to )chaney@frontiernet. net or call Pete at 304-261-4310 Name e-mail Address Subdivision Home Phone Cell Or work phone # bogs Color Amount Paid Check # I will pick up at JHS by Noon 3/31/2012 I would like free delivew of 1 O+ bogs Attach detailed directions to your home for home delivery. MORGANTOWN (AP) Activists trying to save the Blair Mountain battlefield from coal mining protested Friday in West Virginia and Missouri, at the of- rices of two companies that con- trol access to much of the land where unionizing coal miners fought authorities in 1921. A coalition of historic pres- ervationists, environmental- ists and others targeted both the the Logan County mountain is considered an important site in the American labor movement. Some 10,000 coal miners faced down a dug-in army of police and private security guards in a battle that left 16 men dead be- fore the miners surrendered to federal troops. Arch spokeswoman Kim Link said about 25 protesters gath- ered outside the company's of- Huntington offices of Natural "ficbs for a peaceful protest mon- Resource Partners and the sub- urban St. Louis headquarters of Arch Coal. They're among sev- eral coal companies that either own or lease land on the Logan County mountain and control its coal reserves. Some have per- mits to mine. The battle at Blair was the nation's largest armed upris- ing since the Civil War, and itored by police. No arrests were made. NRP declined to com- ment. "The protesters are asking us to stop mining Blair Mountain, when in fact we have no imme- diate plans to mine on leased reserves in the area," she said. "Our recent activity in the gen- eral vicinity centers on reclama- tion at two existing mine sites." , . , ,,:.., ,:..:.:.:.,,., .. :.. . ........ ii:i'i{! Professional Quality Service Done Right The First Time! NO NEED TO RUN TO THE BIG CITY Drive Less Than A Half Hour.... Come To Winchester: 3985 Valley Pike iiii:!iiiiiiiiiiiii!iii:ii 2934 Valley Avenue FOR QUICK LUBE & OIL CHANGES 3985 Valley Pike e'IMILLER Northem Shenandoah Valley's Largest Auto Group... Your Satisfaction Is Our Reputation...And Our Future! Arch owns less than 2 percent of the land in question, she add- ed. Activists have been fighting to protect the 1,600-acre battle- field and get it re-listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They've been promoting the two demonstrations on Face- book and waged a call-in cam- paign to Gov. Earl Ray Tombli 9 this week. Spokeswoman Kimberly Os- borne said the governor's of- fice received 115 calls between Tuesday and noon Thursday. "While I understand the con- cern," Tomblin said in a state- ment emailed to The Associ- ated Press, "there are two law- suits concerning this land that are working their way through the judicial process on the state and federal levels." Tomblin also said that the state Department of Environ- mental Protection "has and con- tinues to act in accordance to the law" in the dispute. Chuck Keeney, chairman of Friends of Blair Mountain, said his group is not endorsing the protests. "We're obviously not con- demning them, either," he said. Friends of Blair Mountain is building a community center and museum in Blair and has devel- oped a plan for a state park that follows the model of Stonewall Resort in Lewis County, which is publicly funded but privately run. The group wants a morato- rium on new mining activities and time to conduct a full ar- chaeological study of the-site. Keeney said the protesters are continuing a momentum they developed last summer when hundreds staged a 50-mile march from Charleston to Blair to raise awareness of the moun- tain's history and build support for preserving it. "I don't think that blasting is imminent," he said, "but by the time it gets to the point where blasting is imminent, it will be too late." The battlefield was brief- ly added to the National Reg- ister then removed when pri- vate property owners objected, A fight over whether it should be relisted is continuing in U.ff. District Court in Washingtom D.C. The activists also sued the DEP in Kanawha County Cir- cuit Court last year after the DEP declared the site unsuitable for mining. The DEP ruled that about 30 percent of the land is ex- empt from that declaration be- cause it's already covered un- der mining permits, while other areas are exempt because there is clear evidence of past mining activity. Don't skip over the Back Bone of America Support your local small businesses. 526 West King Street I Martinsburg, WV 25401 /t for a quote Ou't-oO->u"ru on your printing needs! David A. Camilletti Attorney At Law 103 W. 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