The regular session of the Harrison County Board of Education commenced on Tuesday evening by honoring the victors of the We the People competition, representing the advanced placement (AP) Government and Civics class at Robert C. Byrd High School.
“We participated in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition, a national program that simulates a mock congressional hearing. Each team is presented with three questions, and they are tasked with becoming proficient in each,” explained Greg Phillips, instructor of the AP Government and Politics class at Robert C. Byrd High School.
“They have to engage in discussions with professionals in the field. Some of them are federal judges, some are lawyers, but they managed admirably. They first competed in the congressional district and emerged victorious, then proceeded to win at the state level as well,” stated Phillips. The team is now gearing up for the national competition in Washington, D.C. in April.
Additionally, the board received a presentation outlining the status of attendance, discipline, and safety within the county.
Attendance Director Jim Kirby presented the current statistics regarding various types of absences and provided his recommendations on addressing truancy and enhancing attendance, a matter overwhelming the court system.
“There’s currently an emphasis on addressing chronic absenteeism, and I recognize that. We all aim for students to attend school regularly. However, the total number of excused absences does not account for the magnitude of unexcused absences. I still strongly advocate for targeting unexcused absences and truancy,” Kirby asserted.
“The challenge we’re facing currently is that these issues are escalating. The quantity of truant students is rising due to various factors,” he stated, highlighting that there are now well over 400 ongoing truancy cases in circuit court and a minimum of 150 in magistrate court, necessitating his presence in court nearly every day.
Kirby suggested that focusing on individual cases could be the key to addressing this situation.
“I believe in focusing on one child at a time. One case at a time. By working with each individual student, we can help them graduate and move forward in their lives. I don’t concern myself with percentages. I deal with the student in front of me at the present moment,” Kirby emphasized.
Safety updates provided during the meeting included the ongoing efforts to construct secure entrances for every school in the county. The remaining schools awaiting this enhancement are Bridgeport High School, Liberty High School, Robert C. Byrd High School, Bridgeport Middle School, and Mountaineer Middle School.
“Liberty and RCB will be included in the transitional plan, which will require significant effort. As for Bridgeport Middle, Bridgeport High, and Mountaineer Middle, we anticipate focusing on Mountaineer Middle, as it appears to require less extensive modifications,” stated Jason Snider, Director of Safety and Discipline.
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