--Christina Napier, principal of Ranger Elementary in Lincoln County, was named the RESA II Region 2 Principal of the Year.
Napier was presented with a check worth two days of her pay that totaled nearly $700. Presenting her with the check was RESA II Director Dr. Dee Cockrille, Robert Hull from the West Virginia Department of Education, Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Patricia Lucas and Lincoln Board of Education Member Carol Smith. Hull said principals are the "unsung heroes" of the education system.
--Four Region 2 legislators attended the meeting, including Sen. Bob Plymale (D-Wayne), Sen. H. Truman Chafin (D-Mingo), Delegate Carol Miller (D-Cabell) and Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell). Sen. Plymale gave a nearly hour-long talk about preparing today's students in West Virginia for college and careers. Other subjects he spoke on were the Marcellus Shale, OPEB funding and teacher evaluations.
Ryan Saxe, the new principal of Lincoln County High School, said the dropout rate in schools today is a problem. He said the school climate may directly be related to the high dropout rate.
"We need to improve school climate," Saxe said. "Poor climate limits student engagement. We want to build school climate to help retention."
Dr. Cockrille asked that the legislators look at ways to bring national funding to rural areas. She said most of the national grants go to urban areas instead of rural school regions.
"When we apply for national grants and they award 10, we see those grants go to urban areas," Dr. Cockrille said. "How can you help us? How can we get someone to give us some attention?"
Plymale said he doesn't think there's any way to change the way the national grants are distributed.
--The regional council also addressed the upcoming fingerprinting mandate.
The West Virginia State Police had been the agency that fingerprinted all school board and state agency employees, but the WVSP has now contracted an outside company, L-1 Identity Solutions, to do the fingerprinting.
Dr. Cockrille said RESA II will take on the duties of the fingerprinting in Huntington.
Joe Panetta from the West Virginia Department of Education said there will be 20 fingerprinting sites around the state and RESA II has the opportunity to be one of those sites.
Wayne County Superintendent Gary Adkins said his agency already does its own fingerprinting, which is submitted to the West Virginia State Police and then to the FBI. He said Wayne County recently bought new electronic fingerprinting equipment.
--Panetta also said the state department of education is also looking to RESAs across the state to start providing bus driver training.
"We see RESAs as very valuable in providing training," Panetta said. "We look to RESAs to start doing some of this."
Panetta said two other RESAs are already doing bus driver training and the state hopes to expand it to all eight. He did not give a deadline at which time that will happen.
Panetta said bus drivers require 40 hours of class training and 13 hours of behind-the-wheel training. He said it currently costs around $1,000 to train each driver.
Dr. Cockrille said RESA II will look at the needs for each county and will do site-based training. Logan County Superintendent Wilma Zigmond said sending potential drivers to Huntington to attend the training may be too costly to some of the applicants and could be a deterrent to hiring new bus drivers.
--There were 26 in attendance at the Tuesday morning meeting, with Dr. William Smith, superintendent of Cabell County Schools, presiding over the meeting.
--RESA II Regional Council chairperson Phyllis Adkins attended the meeting, along with Logan County Schools Superintendent Wilma Zigmond.
--Tish Chafin, the wife of Sen. Truman Chafin, also spoke at the meeting. She is on the Marshall University Board of Governors.
--The council approved the minutes of the August meeting and changed the date of the next meeting to Nov. 2 at the Lincoln County Board of Education office at 10 a.m.