Donna Joy for School Board
July 8, 2020
I apologize that it has taken so long to connect. I was hoping that my Facebook page would be up by now, but it isn't. So, I started a new one. Please like the page for all updates. I will add info here and to that page as soon as I have something to share--FB/Donna Joy, Jefferson County Board of Education.
Now, thank you so much for your votes. I will do everything in my power to help move the board to greater transparency, accessibility and accountability.
To stay in touch, I usually respond within 24 hours. If not, please email again.
I wanted to share what has transpired since the election.
On June 24, I had an orientation which lasted several hours. At that time, I requested clarification on a few policies that I feel are damaging to employees and students. I am still waiting and will inquire again on July 13 when the attorney is back from vacation.
On July 6, 2020, I attended the first BOE meeting. You may watch that online via the link provided on the website. I was not provided any information on the seed vs. sod, other than what the public saw, so I didn't vote. I did ask questions to help others though.
I did encourage the board to pick a Saturday graduation/Sunday rain date for our students,rather than the proposed Sunday/rain date Monday which was proposed, as many will want to have parties and celebrate. See graduation info below.
I chose to join the Cultural Diversity and Vo Tech committees, though I want to join Parks and Rec as well.
Just about every day in between, I have asked lots of questions, offered suggestions and researched state code, ethics and rules.
If I think of anything else, I will let you know. Again, like my FB page for updates.
SATURDAY, August 1, 2020
RAIN DATE: SUNDAY, August 2, 2020
Location: Washington High School
Washington HS: 10am – Noon
Jefferson HS: 3-5 pm
1. Why is the graduation being held on August 1st? We are simultaneously trying to following changing WVDE guidelines on creating a whole new process for school opening in 6 weeks and the additional workload of preparing for such an unconventional graduation during a time when most of our staff are not being paid to work is significant. However, it was of the greatest importance to us that we held graduation before students left for college since many colleges are starting early and telling students that they will be sequestered and asked not to travel until holiday break.
2. Why is it being held at WHS and not at JHS? We understand clearly that our beloved Cougars want to graduate on their home field. However, in the interest of safety Jefferson County Schools has recently invested $25,000 in ground work and re-seeding of the Cougar stadium field. The work going on will render the field from the 30 yard line to the opposite end zone unusable. We investigated options for attempting to work around the field renovations, however, they provided both safety concerns and concerns regarding damaging the field which would result in a possible loss of the 2020-21 football season as well as the waste of the funds expended on addressing the issue in time for Cougar football to take place in the Fall. In addition, setting up graduation at two different locations involves double the cost and double the work for staff at a time when both money and staff time are in high demand.
One of the positives from this difficult time is the degree to which all of our schools have pitched in and supported one another. Had the turf field been undergoing installation and the grass completed we would have certainly held at JHS. The principals, faculty and students support one another as colleagues and friends. We are all Jefferson County families, West Virginia families and a community that has been through an unbelievably difficult time. We are in this together and we are celebrating kids, not spaces.
3. Why not hold it at Shepherd University as we have for years? Unfortunately, Shepherd University was not able to accommodate Jefferson County Schools on their campus for graduation prior to their own graduation ceremony which takes place October 31, 2020. We also explored other large outdoor venues. However, those venues are not set up as stadiums so they do not feature seating, bathrooms, parking, sidewalks, accessibility, crowd management structures, etcetera that are all issues for a graduation. Large, open spaces can accommodate more people but without stadium seating people will be less likely to actually see their child graduate at the distances social distancing would require. The staff time and cost to turn them into graduation ready spaces was simply so high that we ultimately felt they were not appropriate.
4. So, if it is at WHS why would you put all of the chairs on the field and ruin the new turf we recently replaced? We will not be placing chairs on the turf at WHS. We cannot hold a graduation in the stadium without people on the field. However, that does not need to be the location of the chairs. We have done all that we can to minimize wear and tear on the field while still ensuring that the ceremony can be held to the standard folks expect.
5. If we can’t go inside the building, what will we do if there is inclement weather? If there is inclement weather the graduation will be cancelled and we will attempt to hold it the following day August 2nd as the rain make up day.
6. What if my student is already away or unable to make the August 1/2 date? We recognize that this has been a difficult year and that all parties won’t be able to make this alternative work. We hope those students were able to participate in the light ceremonies and graduation parades before leaving. In addition, during our Spring 2021 graduation we will be holding a portion of the ceremony to honor any students from this year’s graduating class who wish to walk then
7. I have concerns about my family’s safety. What are you doing to address COVID-19 concerns? The safety of our students, staff and families is our highest priority. We have applied all of the safety recommendations from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, we have reviewed our plan with the Jefferson County Health Department and they have approved.
All entries will have handwashing stations and hand sanitizer.
All participants will be asked to wear masks. Those entering without a mask will be provided with one.
All families will be provided with a location correlated to their student. Each family location will be distanced from the closest family location by a minimum of 4.5ft. using the industry standard size measurement for airline seating
Families will be grouped together
There will be no handshaking or physical contact as part of the ceremony.
Diploma covers and commemorative programs will be handed out to the students only by a gloved/masked administrator.
Restrooms will be manned by custodial staff who will be cleaning and disinfecting the bathroom facility during the ceremony and deep cleaning between ceremonies.
8. How many tickets will be given to each student? Given the current social distancing requirements, graduates will have a maximum of 3 tickets. We know our students value their families and their role in their lives which is why we have committed to a live ceremony. In following the graduation guidance provided by the Governor based on WVDE and WVDHHR requirements for social distancing we have grouped families together and provided a 4.5 ft separation between the family groups. Within those parameters and the space we have available, these are the maximum number of tickets we have available to safely accommodate guests. If we find that fewer than expected numbers of student participate and we have additional tickets to distribute we will notify Seniors and their families.
9. If I don’t have a ticket and still want to participate in graduation what options do I have? This year we will be providing a new service in that the graduation will be broadcast on FM radio. We cannot broadcast the graduation through a live video feed as we normally do from inside the sports arena as our facilities do not have the technical capability to do this without a significant cost.
10. We have never had this type of graduation before. How will I and my child know what to do? We have created signage that we hope will clarify and will have ushers available for guidance. The audience will enter into WHS at the entrance with clearly marked signage and guidance. Every student will receive tickets that are specific to the student and their family directing them where to sit with matching numbered tickets and numbered seating areas for families. We will send out a notice to families on when and how they can get their tickets.
11. I want graduation photos of my child. Will they be available? Yes! Myerly and Lowe is the company that normally does the photos and they will be doing them this year. Cap and gown pictures will be taken.
Jefferson County Schools is grateful to our community for their support. We are mindful that you have entrusted us to care for your children and shepherd them through 12 years of learning and growing together. We are committed to a ceremony that honors your child’s accomplishments, your support and sacrifice and the work of their teachers. Thank you for helping us to come together safely….
Please let me know if you need further clarification.
May 25, 2020
Why should every high school student in America take personal finance before graduation?
Because Personal Finance isn’t an elective in life!
Our WV legislators have allowed only two weeks of personal finance education to be embedded in a high school civics class. That’s all!!! Even that isn’t enforced. Is there anyone reading this who can honestly say they learned all about banking, mortgages, loans, insurance, investing, taxes, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, CDs, IRAs, compounded interest, real estate, etc. in two weeks? Are civics teachers even trained thoroughly in the subject? Our children deserve one class that will help them out of poverty, one class that will prevent them from living in debt, experiencing credit fraud and exploitation, Insurance scams, real estate foreclosures, etc. The state treasurer thinks enough about teaching adults personal finance that he has an entire page dedicated to it: https://wvtreasury.com/Education/Personal-Finance.
Allowing county school boards to provide personal finance as an elective is what we already have. Some do offer it, but others don’t. When they do, it’s often a watered-down version geared towards students with severe disabilities. My children went through the JCS and it wasn’t offered to them. Were your children able to study this in high school? I believe that all students ought to be required to pass at least .5 credit of personal finance before graduation. Otherwise, they will miss out and learn the hard way about personal finance.
During my free time, while teaching full-time, I spend nine months last year working with our state legislators to create and pass a bill that would require students to learn personal finance. I found companies willing to donate all the curriculum and teacher training. These representatives, along with the WVU finance department chair provided testimony at our state capital to their commitment to providing free teacher training and curriculums. The bill passed the House 100 to 8 but ultimately failed to move in the Senate.
This year, I plan to work even harder to encourage the passing of a bill requiring that our students learn these much-needed practical skills. Additionally, if I am elected to the local school board, I will advocate for at least offering personal finance as an elective at our high schools, until the state code catches up.
Because Personal Finance isn’t an elective in life!
While supplies last, I am giving away an informative book on personal finance, The Missing Semester to this years's Jefferson County high school graduates. Just send me a message letting me know you want one and I will get it to you.
May 22, 2020
Independent voters can make a difference
Jefferson County has a unique arrangement of registered voters: Democrats (33 percent), Republicans (33 percent) and Independents (33 percent). Many Independents falsely believe they cannot vote in the Primary Election, as this is the case in some other states. Ironically, registered Independents have the most power during the primary election, because they can vote from any ballot.
With so many heated races this year, it is crucial for registered Independent voters to cast their ballots -- by mail, during early voting or in-person on June 9 and July 21. Not only can their primary election participation impact the general election, but it can also give them the chance to vote for non-partisan seats: Board of Education, Magistrate, Circuit and Supreme Court Judges and Conservation District Supervisor.
The rules regarding Independent voters are that they will only receive the nonpartisan portion of the ballot (Board of Ed, Magistrates, Circuit & Supreme Court Judges and Conservation District Supervisor), unless they request a specific party ballot. Each party ballot does include the nonpartisan offices.
Additionally, any 17-year-old can register and vote in the Primary Election, if they will be 18 by the General Election, on Nov. 3, 2020.
April 29, 2020
Some voting information that you may not be aware of:
1. You can vote for any candidate for school board, as long as their name is on the ballot.
2. They don't have to live in your district.
3. Board members represent the whole county, like magistrates.
4. You can vote for 1, 2 or 3 candidates for school board.
5. Board of Education members are elected during the primary--no general election
6. Independents can vote in the primary
7. I know it can be very confusing. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
April 5, 2020
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.
Every year I post about it because I have such a strong connection with the families of the miners.
I remember that day and the overwhelming feeling that I wanted to do something to help. But what and how? I was 4.5 hours away, living in Middleway, WV. I was on spring break from teaching and my children would be visiting with their father, so I had the time. So, why not? So, I did. I packed a bag and drove straight down to the scene, ready to do anything I could to help. Well, sometimes my heart is bigger than my head and I chastise myself for not being more logical.
It was night by now. There were rows of headlights and cars filled with reporters, emergency responders and concerned onlookers. No one was allowed into the mine office location where I was told the family members were gathered.
What on earth had I thought? I could just drive down there, as a stranger, and rush in to lend a hand?
Disappointed, I continued with prayers and headed to a nearby friend’s house for the night.
But the heart pain wouldn’t stop. I found myself doing the same thing again, the next morning, though the ride was now only 30 minutes away. Still, the cars lined the streets along, what I could now make out to be, a long, high fence that circled the perimeter of the mine property. There was a guard station at the entrance to review anyone trying to enter.
Again, I felt defeated and disappointed that my idealistic heart had gotten me so far from home. I decided to stop at the little church, I had passed on the way into town, to see if maybe there was some way I could help. I was happy to find that it had been converted to a food station. There were large pots of hot dogs and chili and various soft drinks and chips available, just in case someone wanted to talk to the minister and get a meal. I explained why I had driven down from so far. It was clear that I wasn’t needed there either, as I was the only non-church member in the building. I wrote a check to help with food, should anyone show up. Just as I handed over the donation, a woman rushed in and announced, “We need volunteers to go down to the mine and help out. Can you give me some volunteers”?
I thought, “Oh great, I am so close and now I will have to compete with these church members for a spot on the volunteer list.”
I was wrong.
No one was able to volunteer at the disaster site. My hand shot up and I said,
“I am not a member of this church, but I can help.”
The woman explained that I was to stay close behind her car. We would get to the guard station, she would tell them that I was there to help and she would give me more information once we got inside.
What a scene! The air was thick with grief. Twenty-nine miners were trapped and twenty-nine families were cramped into the mine office. Empty soda cans surrounded the lawn chairs, where the mostly women sat in dismay. The volunteer coordinator claimed that the Red Cross would be coming sometime, but until then, I was in charge. I never saw that woman again over the next five days.
I found some garbage bags in the office kitchen and started cleaning up. I secured toilet paper and paper towels for the restrooms, made fresh coffee and went around to each person asking how I could help. Most just wanted to know the fate of their loved one. They wanted and needed nothing more those first few days.
The donations poured in all day, every day. When I noticed larger items missing on the second day, I discovered that some families were taking excessive amounts home, while others were left with nothing. So, I organized 29 piles. I divided all the blankets, shirts, toothbrushes, bars of soap, cases of beans, etc. evenly into piles and labeled each stack with the last name of the miner.
One of the office workers had set up a serving line to accommodate all the people and the abundance of donated foods. Restaurants from miles around sent food on a regular basis: chicken dinners from KFC, breakfast muffins from Mc Donald’s and Pizza from several sources. There was such an outpouring of love from the community.
I started serving food from behind the long table and when Joe Manchin arrived, he was given the direction to serve food as well. Mr. Manchin was taking his orders from a mysterious, cold-faced man who stood in the corner. I was surprised that the governor of West Virginia would act like an employee to this figure who didn’t blink, didn’t lift a finger to help and didn’t say a word to anyone else.
Joe Manchin quickly jumped in beside me and the two of us dished out mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls until the grieving family members sat back down into their lawn chairs and back to the reality of the situation. There were 29 men trapped.
Every three to four hours, I recall, the mine inspector would appear to escort Manchin and Mystery Man down to the scene at the mine for an update. This was the most intense period of all. The hopes would rise that Manchin would return with some good news-- that one person was just pulled out alive, anything. But the letdown filled the anxious hearts, every time.
Halfway through the ordeal, several women started breaking down. I had worked as a mental health counselor in the past, so it was natural for me to sit with these women, listen to their stories of fear and hope and let them cry in my arms.
Each evening I drove back to my friend’s house to shower and sleep. Each morning, I drove back through the poverty-stricken town, watching the coal trains roll by. I would return to again see stacks of empty soda cans surrounding lawn chairs where distraught women sat numb and lost. I was concerned that this coal company was doing nothing for these families. I was the janitor. I was the hostess. I was the counselor. And that man who had so much power to turn our state governor into a puppy dog--who was he? Why didn’t he do anything to help? How could he just stand there? By the time the ordeal ended, I knew who he was, Don Blankenship.
Since then, Joe Manchin became our senator and Don Blankenship tried to unseat him in 2018.
Today, I want to take the time to remember these miners and their families.
Here are the names of the men I don’t forget. They will always have a special place in my heart.
-Carl Acord, 52.
- Jason Atkins, 25.
- Christopher Bell, 33.
- Gregory Steven Brock, 47.
- Kenneth Allan Chapman, 53.
- Robert Clark, 41.
- Charles Timothy Davis, 51.
- Cory Davis, 20.
- Michael Lee Elswick, 56.
- William I. Griffith, 54.
- Steven Harrah, 40.
- Edward Dean Jones, 50.
- Richard K. Lane, 45.
- William Lynch, 59.
-Nicholas Darrell McCroskey, 26.
- Joe Marcum, 57.
- Ronald Lee Maynor, 31.
- James E. Mooney, 50.
- Adam Keith Morgan, 21.
- Rex L. Mullins, 50.
- Joshua S. Napper, 25.
- Howard D. Payne, 53.
- Dillard Earl Persinger, 32.
- Joel R. Price, 55.
- Deward Scott, 58.
- Gary Quarles, 33.
- Grover Dale Skeens, 57.
- Benny Willingham, 61.
- Ricky Workman, 50.
Release the Hostage
(The Senate leaders were holding it so it couldn't be voted on by the full senate)
Today, I mailed this letter to all of our WV state senators
Testimony given by the state board of education on 3/3/20 during the Senate Education meeting was misleading! Please consider all facts below when voting on HB 2775
--For 2020 and beyond, students only need 18 credits. The rest can be electives. See chart below, taken from the WV State Board of Ed website.
Students in most counties have 7 periods a day or 28 credits over a 4-year period.
This leaves 10 free credits.
--Do you know what many students do with 10 free periods—some take electives, some leave school early, some just sit in the library or office with nothing to do.
--There is plenty of room in a schedule for 1 basic course in a much-needed life skill.
Art can be an elective! Dance can be an elective! Anatomy can be an elective!
Personal Finance isn’t an elective in life!
-The board of ed representative stated that students can get personal finance in other classes and that there is a curriculum already.
This is again misleading. Students may get 2 weeks of personal finance in their civics class. That’s all!!! Even that isn’t enforced.
-Can anyone of you reading this honestly tell me that you learned all about banking, mortgages, loans, insurance, investing, taxes, mutual funds, stocks, CDs, IRAs, compounded interest, etc. in a two-week period?
-The state board of education was provided with a completely free curriculum and teacher training for personal finance.
-The Chair and Director of the WVU Finance Department also provided testimony of their commitment to provide free teacher training.
-Perhaps the state board of education doesn’t want to have another responsibility in regulating this much needed course. However, that is not what’s important here.
-Our children deserve 1 class that will help them out of poverty! One class that will prevent them from living in debt, experiencing credit fraud and exploitation, Insurance scams, real estate foreclosures, etc.
Personal Finance isn’t an elective in life!
-Allowing county school boards to offer personal finance as an elective is what we already have. Some do offer it, but others don’t. When they do, it’s often a watered- down version for students with disabilities only.
-All students ought to be required to pass 1 credit of personal finance before graduation. Otherwise, they will miss out and learn the hard way about personal finance.
Personal Finance isn’t an elective in life!
Would you want your child prepared?
Please change the bill back to its original wording and vote YES to allow our children to be proficient in personal finance by REQUIRING 1 credit for graduation!
Please call with any questions! 304.XXX-XXXX. Thank you.
As per the state Board of Ed website:
5.4.a. High School Programming (Grades 9-12) for the Class of 2020 and beyond
Chart IV: Foundations for High-Quality High School Programming (Grades 9-12)
24 credit required: 18 prescribed and 6 personalized
Chart IV High School Programming (9-10, 11-12) Graduation Requirements
Graduation requirements are effective for all students enrolled in the 2016-2017 school year, and thereafter or as otherwise specified. Courses needed for graduation require mastery of approved content standards. Students should consult with their chosen postsecondary educational/training program when choosing optional upper-level courses. Students who do not demonstrate mastery of the approved content standards shall be provided extra assistance and time through personalized learning and support.
Graduation Requirements (18 prescribed)
English Language Arts*
English 12 or English 12 CR or Transition English Language Arts for Seniors*
An AP® English course may be substituted for any of the above courses.
Math I or Algebra I
Math II or Geometry
Math III STEM, or Math III LA or Math III TR or Algebra II
Math IV – Trigonometry/Pre-calculus or Math IV TR or Transition Mathematics for Seniors* or any other fourth course option (see Chart V)
An AP® Mathematics course may be substituted for an equivalent course or any fourth course option.
Earth and Space Science (Grade 9)
Biology or AP® Biology (Grade 10)
One additional science course or AP® science course (see Chart V)
1 credit from World Studies or an AP® Social Studies course (see Chart V)
1 credit from United States Studies or United State Studies-Comprehensive or AP® U.S. History
1 credit from an additional Social Studies course or an AP® Social Studies course (see Chart V)
1 credit from Civics for the Next Generation or AP® United States Government and Politics.
Physical Education 9-12 (WV Education Information System [hereinafter WVEIS] course 6609). At least 50 percent of class time for physical education should be spent in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity.
Health 9-12 (WVEIS course 6909)
 Best practice encourages students who take United States Studies to take Contemporary Studies as their next course of study.
Some counties require additional graduation requirements. Please check with your school Counselor or Advisor to determine local requirements.
PLEASE NOTE: It is important to check with your postsecondary institutions to determine what additional requirements they have for admissions into various programs. Additionally many scholarship programs and the NCAA may require specific courses not required by WV.
NCAA eligibility requirements
 Best practice encourages students who take United States Studies to take Contemporary Studies as their next course of study.
Black History Month
I couldn't let Black History Month end without sharing the above article about Dapper Dan. I owe him a huge "Thank you" for helping my daughter feel accepted and even valued in this crazy world of racial prejudices.
The excitement in her voice when she shared the Dapper Dan photo shoot was so touching that I wrote this poem about it. I went on to submit the poem to the editors of the Crystal Wilkinson anthology and it was accepted--out in April.
In this poem, I am giving a voice to those of mixed races who don't feel welcome by any race. I am also pointing out the subtle forms of racism which are felt, especially by our children. The irony is that no one ever attacked her for the race that she actually is.
In a world of assumptions and projected hatred for many, it's nice to feel accepted.
MIXED GIRL FROM WEST VIRGINIA
In 2nd grade, you ran from the school bus, so excited! “Mommy, there’s a girl in my class who looks just like me!”
She had brown skin and shiny, black hair, like you.
Saddened, I hadn’t known that you noticed that our skin or hair colors were different,
Or that it mattered, but glad that you found someone who looked like you.
In middle school, you came home crying. “Go back to Mexico Go back to your own country, We don’t want you here. How did you get that Cold sore? What you been suckin on?”
We ought to get Lewis to go up there.
Wait until they see your 6’7’’ black brother.
They’ll be so afraid, they will definitely leave you alone then.
First year of high school, varsity cheer squad, hair down to your waist.
“They said I have to cut my hair, So, all the girls have the same length,
So, we look alike for the cheer competition.”
Tell them that it’s against our religion, that your hair is your connection to the earth,
and you only cut your hair for special occasions.
Senior year, all the kids got summer jobs, even the delinquents,
But still no calls.
From now on, you write “Amanda” on the applications.
After graduating from WVU
You run off to NYC-- No need to wonder why.
“Mommy, I went to this event.
They asked to take a picture of me with my new outfit on.”
Dapper Dan said, “Come to the photo shoot tomorrow.”
“No, I told them I wasn’t a model (only 5’2), but they said come anyway.
Yes. I wore Gucci. It was so much fun!”
“Mommy, I got this job in the city, as a stylist, for famous people, like movie stars and Lebron James
Have you heard of him, Mommy?
I told them that I didn’t grow up in the city, and think it will hurt my chances for jobs.”
They said, “Everyone here is from NY.
You’re a mixed girl from West Virginia.”
I just sent the below email to every member of the WV Senate- personalizing each.
I addressed these key points because, after speaking with a few members of the House who opposed the bill, I realized they knew little about the situation. I am trying to be proactive--before the Senate votes next week.
I am a WV teacher and I am asking for a couple minutes of your time. If you would at least read this email, I would appreciate it. This is in regards to a bill (personal finance credit for graduation) that you will be considering soon. Thank you. Donna Joy
Personal Finance is so much more than balancing a checkbook. Below is partial list of topics included in a basic personal finance class.
Currently, students are allotted two weeks in their civics classes to learn about these life changing topics.
Additionally, student’s schedules are filled with numerous electives, study hall or service learning. Many just leave school early, during their senior year. Our schools offer 28 credits, over a four-year high school career, but only 22 are required. That leaves 6 free credits.
Please give our youngsters at least one class that will help prepare them for the real world and, in some cases, pull them out of poverty.
WVU has agreed to work with our schools and NGPF to offer completely free curriculum and teacher training.
Can you tell me, with all sincerity, that Chemistry and Calculus are more useful to our kids, overall, than these topics?
Please Vote YES for the children's future bill: Personal Finance Literacy for Graduation
3. Types of Credit
4. Managing Credit
5. Paying for College
8. Financial Pitfalls
14. Stocks & Bonds
I am so excited!!! My Bill has passed the House!!!
It's so wonderful that our legislators put our youth before their parties. It gives me goosebumps, Thank you, thank you!!!
Thank you to my friends who testified on behalf of this bill today--Naomi, Director of Finance of WVU & Dan O'Connell, Representative from NGPF who has promised a completely free curriculum and teacher training-- indefinitely!!!
We still have one more hurdle--the Senate, but I am confident that they will agree that our kids need this!
WEST VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES
84th Legislature - Second Regular Session
HB 2775 Requiring each high school student RCS# 221
to complete a full credit course of 2/18/2020
study in personal finance 12:11 PM
YEAS: 89 NAYS: 8 NOT VOTING: 3 PASSED
Anderson Doyle Kelly, D. Rohrbach
Angelucci Ellington Kelly, J. Rowan
Atkinson Estep-Burton Lavender-Bowe Shott
Azinger Evans Linville Skaff
Barnhart Fast Little Sponaugle
Barrett Fleischauer Longstreth Staggers
Bartlett Fluharty Lovejoy Steele
Bates Foster Mandt Swartzmiller
Bibby Graves Martin, C.R. Sypolt
Boggs Hamrick Martin, P. Thompson, C.
Brown, N. Hanna Maynard Thompson, R.
Brown, S. Hansen Miley Tomblin
Butler Hardy Miller Toney
Byrd Hicks Nelson Walker
Cadle Higginbotham Pack Waxman
Campbell Hill Paynter Westfall
Capito Hornbuckle Pethtel Williams
Caputo Hott Phillips Worrell
Cooper Householder Porterfield Zukoff
Cowles Howell Pushkin Speaker Hanshaw
Criss Jeffries, D. Pyles
Dean Jeffries, J. Queen
Diserio Jennings Robinson
Canestraro Kump Rowe Summers
Espinosa McGeehan Storch Wilson
NOT VOTING: 3
Effective and Ineffective School Board Members
By: Great Schools Staff
Signs of an effective school board member
Here are signs of a school board member focused on moving the school district forward and educating all students to meet high standards:
Great school board members have a clear vision for the district. They set the vision and goals, and measure the success of the district and superintendent against the goals.
Great school board members communicate their actions to the community. Through public discourse and written reports, great school board members keep the public informed of the district’s progress and challenges.
Great school board members work as a team. They collaborate well with others and are respectful of the other board members and superintendent.
Great school board members adopt a fiscally sound district budget. They pay attention to finances and regularly monitor the fiscal health of the district.
Great school board members focus on what is best for all students. They focus on student achievement and implementing policies that will ensure success for all students.
Great school board members advocate at the local, state and national level for public education. They take advantage of opportunities to communicate the needs of public schools to other levels of government and advocate for strong public schools.
Signs of an ineffective school board member
If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to find some new candidates to run for your local board:
The school board member continually focuses on one issue or talks aimlessly at meetings.
The school board member doesn’t conduct him or herself in a respectful, collaborative manner in public.
The school board member comes to meetings unprepared.
The school board member “rubber stamps” all the superintendent’s proposals without asking hard questions.
The school board member micromanages rather than focusing attention on district-wide policies.
The school board member uses his position on the school board as an opportunity to put forth a political agenda with little relevance to student achievement.
Choosing School Board Members
by: Great Schools Staff
What actions have you taken to improve student achievement?
For challengers and incumbents:
What are your visions for this school district five to 10 years from now and what systemic changes will you work toward to achieve that vision?
What policies would you initiate to improve student achievement?
What are the characteristics of a superintendent you most admire?
How would you measure success for a superintendent?
What level of skills should high school students have upon graduation?
You’ll also want to find out if the candidate has good analytical, leadership and collaborative skills to move the district forward. A good candidate does not have a single-issue focus but rather is interested in the success of all students in the district.
Once a Rebel...
By: Donna Joy
It’s been 30 years since my first protest. I was a 21-year-old teacher in West Baltimore and had complained about teachers physically abusing children. At 22, I filed suit over a school board policy that discriminated against children with disabilities. Another time, I argued because special education teachers had less planning time than others. More recently, I have complained about asbestos in a local school, illegal grade changing and FERPA violations. No matter where I’ve found myself, through life’s twists and turns, I have been a teacher and activist for children and teacher’s rights. But, I have always felt alone in my efforts. The people I attempted to help were sometimes the ones who resisted the most. Staying true to my ideals, I kept standing up against injustice and for civil and human rights, even when faced with retaliation.
So, when I found myself involved in the recent statewide teacher’s strike, as a Jefferson County teacher and candidate for school board, I was in awe. It was amazing that I was not only still standing as a teacher, but I was still fighting. I had not been beaten into submission and even more important, I had an entire county and state standing in solidarity, beside me, for a common good. It had already been a magical moment when, with only three hours-notice, over 441 teachers and support staff flocked to Asbury United Methodist Church, late one evening and cast the votes for the work stoppage. But the adrenaline had only begun!
I have vivid memories of the cheers, chants, posters, honking horns and genuinely kind teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers who so graciously accepted my flyers and conversations. I went from location-to-location trying to introduce myself as a candidate for school board, but also joining in the rallies. One moment I was waving at a passing car and the next I was using the opportunity to share myself with a potential voter. Part of me felt like I was somehow cheating. It didn’t seem fair that I could take on either role to suit my needs. Most times, I felt amazed to be part of such an important historical event.
I will never forget the matter-of-fact generosity of Grant Prillaman, as if he had been there all along to help. I told him of my concern that a teacher benefit was at risk of being removed and he said, “Just let us know when you go to the board and we (WVEA) will support you.” I don’t know if it was the thrill of the moment for him, as we had been standing along roads, breathing exhaust fumes and filling up on donated coffee and donuts, in the cold for 9 days, but for me, it was deeply meaningful.
The most important thing that happened to me, during the strike, was that I gained a deeper understanding of others along the roadsides and on the Facebook pages. Everyone had an opinion and often I had to bite my tongue. I persisted in my attempts to connect with those who wanted teachers to protect their children with guns, who felt that cafeteria workers should have the same salary as teachers or who claimed that teachers were already overpaid. Though I don’t agree with all the views expressed, I appreciate how they evolved and have come to a place of wishing to find a way to bridge the divide. As a board member, I will use this deeper appreciation to help foster an inclusive environment where all views are respected equally.
Independents and Those Who Love Them
By: Donna Joy
Jefferson County has a unique arrangement of registered voters: Democrats (~33%), Republicans (~33%) and Independents (~33%).
As a candidate for school board, I found myself exploring the voting records on the Jefferson County Clerk’s website. As a math teacher, it was easy to determine that less than 1% of Independents voted in the previous primary elections. That was shocking!
So, while meeting people at pancake breakfasts and pasta dinners, I brought up the conversation of Independents not voting. I discovered that most believe in Jefferson County that Independents can’t vote in the primary. Ironically, registered Independents have the most power during the primary election, as they can vote from any ballot.
With so many heated races this year, it is crucial for registered Independent voters to show up at the polls on May 8. Not only can they have an impact on the general election, but this is their only chance to vote for non-partisan seats: Board of Ed, Circuit Judges and Conservation District Supervisor which are determined on May 8.
Here are the rules regarding registered independents:
Independents will only receive the non-partisan portion of the ballot (Board of Ed, Circuit Judges and Conservation District Supervisor), unless they request a specific party ballot. Each party ballot does include the non-partisan offices.
Additionally, any 17-year-old can register and vote in the Primary as long as they will be 18 by the General Election, November 6, 2018.
Can you help get this crucial information out to the public? Thank you.
Donna Joy, PhD
Candidate for Jefferson County School Board