Educators frustrated with changes in Wetzel County

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Educators frustrated with changes in Wetzel County
By Lauren Matthews, Wetzel Chronicle

Tensions were high Monday night as several Wetzel County educators spoke out against the board of education regarding changes recently made in system.

The educators' frustrations came to a head after a recent petition, filed by concerned Wetzel County parent Christina Coulter, called for the board's removal of new superintendent Leatha Williams.

The petition has since been signed by over 1,028 individuals.

"The degradation of our teachers, frustrations of parents and students is evident in every school of this county," Coulter said to the board at the Monday, Nov. 2 meeting.

One of the points addressed dealt with the fact that the counties surrounding Wetzel have placed in the top of the state concerning test scores.

Coulter argued that the surrounding counties have superintendents that are former educators in their respective counties and are widely supported by the teachers they serve.

Educator Sharon Snider said that many of the schools' yearly programs have been put on hold even though educators have volunteered time to set up and proceed with the programs.

Snider said teachers have been told that the programs, such as spelling bees, field trips, Christmas programs, Math Field Day, and the Science Fair, are taking away from instructional time.

Teacher Carol Tallman said that the board, in its arguments for curriculum change, had cited that General Summative Assessment practice test results were already better than the previous year's results.

Tallman asked the board what they based this comparison on, as the county was still scoring the tests.

"Many successful people have graduated from Wetzel County Schools," Tallman said. "If you truly believe we are headed in the wrong direction, perhaps we need to spend more time teaching and less time testing."

Blair then spoke to the audience, reiterating his opinion that Williams had inherited a lot of issues.

He addressed concerns that were brought to his attention, stating that Williams had not changed exam policies nor cancelled any trips.

Blair also told the audience that whether they wanted to read about it or not, the school system was in trouble.

"We chose to change the curriculum, get away from programs . . . we are trying to make a move and trying to change instruction.

That process has turned to where we are now. The only thing we tried to do is improve our school. We thought we could do it differently."