All posts by Mr. Wood

Students Heading Back to School in Marshall County

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 • First day of school for students in 1st - 12th • In-Person Learning: Students with the last name starting with A-K • Distance Learning: Students with the last name starting with L-Z • Kindergarten Orientation Wednesday, September 9, 2020 • All students participate in Distance Learning. Thursday, September 10, 2020 • In-Person Learning: Students with the last name starting with L-Z • Distance Learning: Students with the last name starting with A-K • First day of class for Kindergarten students (1/2 group). Friday, September 11, 2020 • In-Person Learning: Students with the last name starting with L-Z • Distance Learning: Students with the last name starting with A-K • First day of class for Kindergarten students (1/2 group).
Above: Week 1 Schedule Highlights

Students in grades 1st through 12th return to school in Marshall County on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 for the start of the 2020 – 2021 academic year at Level 3, as long as Marshall County remains green or yellow on the governor’s colored-coded map. Level 3 means all kids will report for in-person instruction two days per week and also participate in distance learning three days, based on the first letter of the child’s last name.

Each Monday and Tuesday, kids with last names beginning with A-K attend school in person while all other students participate through distance learning. On Thursday and Friday students whose last names begin with L-Z will be present in school buildings while all other kids receive their lessons via distance learning. Every Wednesday is a distance learning day for everyone enrolled in Marshall County Schools.

Kindergarten orientation takes place on Tuesday, September 8. The first day of instruction for half of the Kindergarten students is Thursday, September 10. The first day of class for the second half of Kindergarten students is Friday, September 11.

Parents with a student attending WV Universal Pre-K will be notified about the orientation which takes place on Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11.  WV Universal Pre-K classes begin on Tuesday, September 15 for half of the students. The second half of the WV Universal Pre-K students will attend Thursday, September 17, 2020.

The plan is to remain operating under Level 3 until Friday, October 2, 2020; however, levels can change at any time per health department and governor recommendations. An announcement about the next phase of operation will be made on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

A printable copy of the 2020-2021 Marshall County Schools information flyer, which includes the academic calendar and school listings, is available at the this link:

Marshall County Schools Continues No Cost Meal Program

Marshall County Schools Child Nutrition Program Information

The Marshall County Board of Education will continue the availability of a daily, no cost breakfast and lunch at school for all students during the 2020- 2021 academic year regardless of income.  Under the Community Eligibility Option Provision, applications will not need to be completed to be eligible for the free meals.

The price for an extra milk will be .35 cents and a second lunch will be $1.75 and must be paid with cash at the time of purchase. Parents/Guardians are still responsible for any unpaid account balances.

If you have any questions, feel free to call the Office of Child Nutrition at 304-843-4400 extension 338.

Marshall County Schools Participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Food Care Program, Summer Meals Program, After School Supper Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

Wellness Policy and Child Nutrition Website

Marshall County Schools has developed a Wellness Policy that is focused on improving the health of students. The policy was established with a health and wellness advisory council that includes teachers, parents, students, administrators, guidance counselors and nurses. The key areas of the wellness policy focus on nutrition education, physical activity and other school based activities that promote student wellness.  If you want to be involved with Marshall County’s Wellness Policy, please contact Debbie Derico at 304-843-4448 extension 338.

Marshall County Schools maintains a website for all your nutritional and wellness needs.  This website will be your source for menus, nutritional information and wellness resources.  You will be able to sign up to have the menus emailed to you on a monthly basis.  Check it out at mcsbefit.com.

Substitutions Made for Students with Dietary Needs

Accommodations in meal services are available for Marshall County School students with special dietary needs. Schools will make substitutions in foods for students with dietary needs who are unable to consume the regular meal because of medical or other special dietary needs.  These meals/substitutions will be provided at no additional charge.

A Special Dietary Needs Medical Statement is required for us to make these accommodations. The Special Dietary Needs Medical Statement must be completed by a physician and completed annually. Substitutions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Contact your child’s school immediately to inform them of any special diet of food allergies or other needs.  Substitutions cannot be made for vegetarian diets.  Also, juice can only be substituted for milk when there is a disabling medical condition. The form can be obtained on the Child Nutrition website at mcsbefit.com or by calling the Office of Child Nutrition at 304-843-4400 extension 338.

Civil Rights Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:

http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 

1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

3. Email: program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

2020-2021 Bus Routes and Schedules

Information is now available about the transportation routes for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The updated lists can be found at this link: http://marshall-k12.wvnet.edu/boe/marshall-county-schools-bus-routes/ or in the Links tab under Transportation at the top of this page. Click on the bus number to download a schedule. Please note there are time changes.

If you’re not sure what bus your child should ride, please contact the Transportation Department at 304-843-4422.

Students to Begin School Year at Level 3

Marshall County Schools will operate on a hybrid schedule when schools in the district reopen on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

Students will begin the new school year at Level 3, as long as Marshall County remains green or yellow on the governor’s colored-coded map. This means all kids will report for in-person instruction two days per week and also participate in distance learning three days, based on the first letter of the child’s last name.

On Monday and Tuesday kids with last names beginning with A-K attend school in person while all other students participate through distance learning. Thursday and Friday will include students whose last names begin with L-Z physically in school buildings while all other kids receive their lessons via distance learning. Wednesday is a distance learning day for everyone enrolled in Marshall County Schools. If children live at the same address, but have different last names, the parent should contact the child’s school principal to request all family members attend school on the same days in Level 3.

In-person learning will follow a regular class schedule, which will vary from school to school. Distance learning will be conducted on the Microsoft Office 365 platform and students will use an iPad provided by Marshall County Schools to complete assignments.

The county will follow the governor’s order and Marshall County Health Department guidelines as it pertains to personal protective equipment (PPE). Students will be required to wear a face mask or shield when physical distancing isn’t possible. Maintenance and custodial staff will do a thorough disinfecting of high touch, high traffic areas throughout the day and buses will be cleaned between routes. While running on a Level 3, every Wednesday will be used for deep cleaning in each school building. 

School officials will continue to work closely with the health professionals at the Marshall County Health Department to decide when it’s safe to move to a different level of operation. Levels are determined in conjunction with the local health department, the West Virginia Department of Education and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

The plan is to remain operating under Level 3 until Friday, October 2, 2020; however, levels can change at any time per health department and governor recommendations. An announcement about the next phase of operation will be made on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to take a free COVID-19 test this Friday, August 21, 2020 from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm at John Marshall High School. The Marshall County Health Department and Marshall County Emergency Management are hosting this event. More details about the test can be found on the health department’s website at marshallcountyhealthdepartment.com.

Questions about the upcoming school year should be directed to your child’s principal via email or phone call. A printable copy of the Re-Entry Chart is available below.

School Summer Food Program Extended

The Marshall County Schools Summer Food Program schedule has added an extra week because of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s order that schools can’t go back in session until Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

On Wednesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 19, 2020 the Marshall Mobile Food Bus will make stops in the same neighborhoods at the same times but will distribute double portions. Each delivery will contain a 10-day supply of meals for breakfast and lunch.

Food distribution will still be conducted with limited interaction. When picking up the necessities, students and their families must stay in their vehicle. Walkers will form a line and be at least 6 feet from one another.

The Marshall County Schools Summer Food Program schedule has added an extra week because of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s order that schools can’t go back in session until Tuesday, September 8, 2020. On Wednesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 19, 2020 the Marshall Mobile Food Bus will make stops in the same neighborhoods at the same times but will distribute double portions. Each delivery will contain a 10-day supply of meals for breakfast and lunch.

P-EBT Program to Help WV Families in Need

The following article was released by the West Virginia Department of Education:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved West Virginia’s application for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards to support child nutrition needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the direction of Governor Jim Justice, the joint request was recently submitted by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR). 

P-EBT was introduced in H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as a solution that delivers nutrition assistance on an EBT card that can be used to purchase groceries for families with school children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals when school is out of session due to a pandemic. If a child already qualified for free or reduced-price meals, or attends a Community Eligibility Provision school where everyone receives meals at no cost, no action is needed to receive the P-EBT benefit. Parents and guardians who care for school-age students who do not receive free or reduced-price school meals may apply for inclusion in this group by applying at https://www.schoolcafe.com/.

“We are grateful beyond belief to have this federal support to make sure our kids’ needs are being met during this pandemic,” Governor Justice said. “Making sure every single one of our kids in West Virginia has enough to eat is one of my top priorities. The minute we realized we had to shut down our schools, I went to work with our education leaders and put a plan in action that is now providing over 1 million meals a week to children statewide.”

The implementation of P-EBT is in line with the Governor’s commitment to keep West Virginians safe, secure and healthy during this national emergency and to keep children fed when schools are closed. P-EBT provides households an EBT card with the value of the free school breakfast and lunch reimbursement rates for the days that schools are closed. The P-EBT cards can be used everywhere that SNAP EBT is used. The WVDE will continue working with counties to maintain delivery of multi-day meal packs to meet the nutritional needs of all West Virginia children. 

“Since the start of this pandemic, the WVDE has worked with county school systems to ensure no child is forgotten and no family has the added stress of food insecurity,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, W. Clayton Burch. “We are hopeful the addition of the P-EBT cards will be an added support for families, and are grateful for the continued combined efforts of our counties and partners.” 

The P-EBT benefits will be issued in two waves. The first wave will reach students who receive SNAP, West Virginia WORKS (WV WORKS), or Medicaid benefits through the DHHR. For students who are currently receiving SNAP or West Virginia WORKS benefits, the benefits will be deposited into the household’s EBT card. If a parent or guardian no longer has or has lost their SNAP EBT card, they can contact DHHR at 1-877-716-1212 to request a new card.  

The second wave will reach students who do not receive SNAP, WV WORKS, or Medicaid. This group will consist of all other students who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals who were not included in the first wave. These P-EBT cards will be issued to the most recent address and guardian name given for the student to the schools. All eligible families are expected to receive the P-EBT benefits before the end of June.

“Hunger is a threat faced by many West Virginians, and one we work daily to prevent,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch. “By partnering with the WVDE, we can accelerate providing financial assistance and support during the pandemic. P-EBT will help assure happier and healthier outcomes for West Virginia families and we are extremely pleased to be part of this effort.”

County school nutrition offices will work directly with families to educate them about the use of the card, and answers to frequently asked questions are posted at wvde.us/COVID19. More than 231,000 children in the Mountain State are eligible for this benefit, and the P-EBT plan estimates more than $72 million in federal dollars will be coming to West Virginia households for use in the local economy.

The WVDE, in partnership with county nutrition directors, the state National Guard, Department of Agriculture, Division of Tourism and other state organizations, has provided approximately 1.4 million meals a week to children in the Mountain State. The introduction of the P-EBT will provide an additional resource to families impacted the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.  

P-EBT benefits are 100 percent federally funded by the USDA and are designed to reduce hunger and food insecurity through issuing benefits to students who would receive free or reduced price meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act if not for school closures. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

For more information and updates on the coronavirus situation in West Virginia, please visit coronavirus.wv.gov or wvde.us/COVID19. 

Students Hear a Special Message from a Superhero

Batman traveled to several different schools in Marshall County to talk to students about how they can be a superhero against bullying.

Thursday, the Caped Crusader made stops at Center McMechen
Elementary, McNinch Primary and Sand Hill Elementary. Students at Cameron
Elementary, Glen Dale Elementary and Washington Lands Elementary heard his
message Friday.

During the special assemblies, the World’s Greatest
Detective encouraged each student to look out for one another and to treat each
other with respect. Students were inspired and motivated to be a superhero
themselves.

Batman talked about why children sometimes bully others and
how it can become a vicious cycle throughout the years, even using his own
experiences of being bullied as an example. The superhero also told students
the people who bully are oftentimes very troubled. In order to combat bullying,
everyone needs to offer kind words and show positive actions to counteract the
unkind remarks.

“Tough things in life will make you stronger,” exclaimed Batman.
“I had my own struggles while in school and that’s the reason behind why I
chose to become the world’s only full time Batman, to help empower our youth
and communities.”

The Dark Knight is part of a group called Heroes for Hire
(H4H). The name is a play on words the organization developed to go along with
its four empowering points: Never give up; Always do the right thing; Help
other people; Never be a bully. The mission of H4H is to inspire children to
“Be the Hero.”

Batman’s visit was arranged by Center McMechen Elementary
School Counselor Charlene Frazier. “I am very impressed with the program,”
explained Frazier. “The Heroes for Hire message is age appropriate and just
what our students need to hear.”

2019 American Education Week Proclamation Signed in Marshall County

On Thursday, Marshall County Commissioners as well as the mayors from the cities of Marshall County, members of the West Virginia Legislature along with the Sheriff gathered to sign a proclamation declaring November 18-22, 2019 as American Education Week in Marshall County. 

Also attending the signing were members of the Marshall County Board of Education, administrators of Marshall County Schools, administrators from John Marshall High School and representatives of the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). A luncheon prepared by the JM ProStart students followed the signing.

The theme this year is Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility. American Education Week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from Pre-K through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great.

The first American Education Week was observed from December 4-10, 1921 with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Legion as the co-sponsors. The following year the U.S. Office of Education joined the weeklong celebration as a supporter. Since then more than a dozen sponsors, including the U.S. Department of American Education and the AFT, have joined the founders for this annual event.

American Education Week is now recognized every year the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving.

The text of the American Education Week Proclamation signed in Marshall County follows:

Whereas, public education is the backbone of our democracy, providing young people with the tools they need to maintain our nation’s precious values of freedom, civility and equality; and

Whereas, by equipping young Americans with both practical skill and  broader intellectual abilities, schools give them hope for, and access to a productive future; and

Whereas, public education employees, be they educators, substitute educators, higher education faculty and staff, custodians, teachers, bus drivers, clerical workers, food service workers, security guards, technical employees, or librarians, work tirelessly to serve our children and communities with care and professionalism; and

Whereas, public schools are the foundations of neighborhoods and communities, bringing together adults, and children, educators and volunteers, business leaders and elected officials in a common purpose,

Therefore, be it further resolved, that we proclaim November 18-22, 2019 as the 97th annual observance of American Education Week.  Proclaimed this 14th day of November 2019.

Caption: Pictured from left seated: Marshall County Chief Deputy Sherriff William Helms,Marshall County Schools Assistant Superintendent Woody Yoder, Benwood Mayor Edward Kuca Jr., Marshall County Schools Superintendent Shelby Haines and Marshall County Sherriff Kevin Cecil. From left standing: Marshall County AFT President Josh Gary, Marshall County Clerk Jan Pest, WV Delegate Lisa Zukoff, Marshall County Assessor Terry McDiffitt, Marshall County Commissioner Scott Varner, McMechen Mayor David Goddard, Moundsville Mayor Phil Remke, Marshall County BOE member Christi Robison, Marshall County BOE member Brenda Coffield, Marshall County Commissioner Mike Ferro, Marshall County BOE member Dr. Duane Miller, Marshall County Schools BOE President John Miller, Marshall County Commissioner John Gruzinskas, JM Principal Cassie Porter and Marshall County Education Association President Matt Mandarino.

Choose Kind, Just Like Mike

“Choose Kind” has been a theme at McNinch Primary School in Marshall County for several years. School counselor Jennifer Pickett works closely with staff and students to promote kindness throughout the school. 

On Wednesday, October 30, 2019 a very special read aloud day was held in memory of the late, Mike Baker. Mike and his wife Susie have been helping, sharing and exhibiting kindness at McNinch Primary School since 1987 when their oldest son started kindergarten. 

After Mike’s unexpected death in May of this year, good friends Cathy and Bruce Givens wanted to do something special to honor Mike. “I just kept thinking and thinking, what do you do to honor a man like Mike? And finally it came to me. Spread his kindness,” expressed Cathy. So the Givens family purchased 24 different books to donate to McNinch Primary School, all with the theme of “Kindness.”  A beautiful bookplate with Mike’s photo on it was placed inside the cover of each book. It reads,

Loving and proud husband, father, pappy, uncle and friend. Devoted community member.

Always his nature to have a nice compliment for you, his unrelenting kind and gentle soul will be forever missed.

Susie Baker is hard pressed to find a word to describe her late husband.  “Saying that Mike was ‘kind’ or ‘good’ just doesn’t seem sufficient. Mike’s kindness came from deep within his soul.”  Susie invited 24 friends and family members to come in and read one of the kindness books to each classroom. Each and every person was honored to have been asked. 

Pickett summed it up well. “We always have choices in life, and it shows great strength of character when we make choices that are kind. No one exemplified this more than Mike Baker. Everyone who knew him felt immensely blessed by this kind, gentle man.”

McNinch Kindergarten Students are “Blooming with Books”

Thanks to the generosity of many individual donors, every kindergarten student at McNinch Primary School will be receiving one picture book per month during the 2019-2020 school year. That adds up to approximately 100 students taking home 900 books, or nine books for every kindergarten student. 

This past summer, Marissa Tucker, a kindergarten teacher at Sand Hill Elementary School, posted on Facebook that for $9.00 a child could receive a book every month from September until May. McNinch Primary kindergarten teacher Amanda McGraw decided to share the same post. Thinking that she might get enough sponsors for her individual class, she was pleasantly surprised when the sponsorships kept coming. Fortunately, she was able to secure a sponsor for every kindergarten student at the primary school in Moundsville.

Each book is purchased through Scholastic Book Clubs. Last month students received If You Give a Mouse a Brownie, and this month each child will receive Spookely the Square Pumpkin.  What’s even nicer about the program is that the books are used to cover standards in the kindergarten curriculum. Spookley the Square Pumpkin covers reading/language arts and math curriculum,and it is a wonderful story to teach about inclusion of all students.

The book program is being called “Blooming with Books.” McGraw is hoping that it can be a project that runs every year.  Reading aloud to children helps build essential vocabulary, listening, and comprehension skills. If you are interested in sponsoring students, please contact Amanda McGraw at amanda.mcgraw@k12.wv.us.