By BISHOP NASH
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Renovation plans affecting nearly a dozen schools in Wayne, Lincoln and Mason counties were unanimously approved by the West Virginia State Board of Education on Tuesday at its meeting hosted by Marshall University.
The plans were submitted as part of the counties’ annual “Needs” grant application in accordance with all three counties’ Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plans – guidelines developed by counties to make the best use of their properties.
In Wayne County, Tuesday’s vote approves major renovations to Wayne High School, as well as roof and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning renovations at Spring Valley High School.
In Mason County, the vote approved replacing the fire alarm systems at Ashton Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary School, as well as creating grounding protection against potential lightning damage at Point Pleasant High School and the Mason County Career Center.
Cabell County’s annual “Needs” grant proposal — funding that would create a new Highlawn Elementary School — has yet to go before the board.
Prior to routine business, Gov. Jim Justice’s office proclaimed the week of Dec. 4-10 to be Computer Science Education Week in West Virginia – declaring the importance of encouraging students to participate in coding and computer science throughout the year. The proclamation was presented to the board by Justice’s Chief of Staff Mike Hall, a Huntington native and Marshall graduate.
Computer Science Education Week began in the state nearly a decade ago as part of the global “Hour of Code” initiative, which falls during the week and promotes classrooms to focus on coding. State Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine quipped that even in the few years since “Hour of Code” began, students now need far more than an hour dedicated to computer science education.
In line with the proclamation, Paine and the board recognized its various ongoing partnerships with Marshall University in promoting computer science education – including allowing university students and staff to work on the state school’s online infrastructure.
In official business, Marshall also received approval to expand its Teacher-in-Residence program to Logan County Schools. The board unanimously approved the measure, as recommended by the West Virginia Educator Preparation Program Review Board, which includes similar student teaching expansions for Fairmont State University into Hampshire County and Bluefield State College in Mercer County.
The day-two meeting will close out featuring a presentation by Teresa Eagle, dean of Marshall’s College of Education and Professional Development, as well as a choral performance by Cabell Midland High School’s Collegium Musicum.
The state Board of Education will next meet Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Charleston.
Follow reporter Bishop Nash on Twitter @BishopNash.
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