All posts by Mr. Wood

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.

Marshall County Teacher Invited to Participate at WV BOE Meeting

West Virginia Board of Education member Dr. James Wilson is pictured with McNinch Primary School 1st grade teacher Heather Haught, who represented Marshall County Schools in a round-table discussion Thursday in Charleston.

WV BOE members and teachers from around the Mountain State examined areas of strength and weakness within the current educational system.

Each state board member was asked to work with superintendents to select a teacher to participate at the meeting.

New School Year Begins in Marshall County

Students in grades 1st through 12th returned to school in Marshall County today for the start of the 2019 – 2020 academic year.

At McNinch Primary School in Moundsville, students were greeted this morning by the principal, faculty, staff and Batman. Yes, the superhero. The youngsters were excited to meet “The Caped Crusader” on their first day of school. Everyone had smiles on their faces as they made their return for another school year.

Half of the county’s kindergarten students and their parents spent today participating in orientation classes. The remaining kindergarten students, along with their parents, will attend orientation tomorrow. The first full day of instruction for all kindergarten students is Monday, August 19, 2019.

Parents with a student attending West Virginia Universal Pre-K will be notified about the orientation, which takes place on Tuesday, August 20 and Wednesday, August 21.  WV Universal Pre-K classes begin on Thursday, August 22, 2019.

from left is Batman with Avanalist Jackson IV, whose haircut features a superhero star.
Pictured with Batman is McNinch Primary 2nd grader Avanalist Jackson IV, whose haircut includes a superhero star.

Marshall County Schools Continues No Cost Meal Program

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 2019- 2020 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

Marshall County Students Eligible for Lace Up For Kids

All Marshall County students, in grades K-12, are eligible to receive a new pair of shoes for the upcoming school year.

The “Lace Up For Kids” program is sponsored by the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, WTOV-TV and Wendy’s. Call 304-232-4625 for more information.

Applications will be accepted until Sunday, June 30, 2019. Call 304-232-4625 for more information. Email questions to liveuniteduov@unitedwayuov.org

McNinch Primary Greeter Program Returns

Students at McNinch Primary School are greeted daily by different faculty and staff members. A warm smile, high five or handshake is given to every student as they enter the building in the morning. 

“Unfortunately, some kids are not greeted by their families in the morning and may not have social interaction until they hit the school’s door,” explained McNinch Primary School Counselor Jennifer Pickett.  “Because of this, students are less social and don’t feel the need to reciprocate a greeting.  This initiative can help with both.”

In hopes of incorporating more community involvement in the school and fostering healthy social skills for the students, Pickett along with McNinch Primary School Speech Therapist Sarah Bonar recently reestablished the school’s “Community Greeter Program.” The program is also being used to spark student interest in learning more about different community members and how those people impact their neighborhood.

Several times per month professionals such as firefighters, police officers and business owners come to the primary school to be a greeter. A fact sheet about each greeter, which includes a job title and description, is given to the students to instill a vision of possible career choices.

“This experience could be a pivotal moment in their day or life.” Pickett said.  “Our students know their teachers care about them, but we want to let the students know members of their community care about them as well,” Pickett said.

Tuesday morning McNinch Primary students were greeted by Justice, the Bordas & Bordas Legal Beagle. Justice enjoys visiting local schools and loves giving children a warm welcome whenever he meets them.

Susie Baker Honored as Harmony House’s Local Hero of Hope

Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center held its annual fundraiser kickoff the “Hope for Spring Fling” on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Oglebay’s Camp Russell.

The 11th annual event hosted the Leslie Vassilaros Hope’s Hero Award for the first time, being presented for the third year.  Harmony House did its best to keep the announcement of the winner under wraps until the night of the event. 

With a mash up of tears, humor, friendship, sweetness and class, long-time friend Kathy Vani presented the well-deserved award to none other than Marshall County’s own, Susie Baker. A very surprised, humble Mrs. Baker accepted the award, surrounded by friends, family and Marshall County Schools personnel. 

Susie has been a central part in the lives of many Marshall County residents, devoting countless hours to their children, the Marshall County SchoolsParent Educator Resource Center and the Marshall County Back to School Fun Fair.  As the Fair founder, she is also a volunteer at CASA, a part of countless committees and community supports, and has most certainly been (as engraved on the award) nothing short of “AMAZING.”  

Harmony House, Children’s Advocacy Center, is a comprehensive, child-focused program that allows prosecutors, law enforcement, child protective service workers, medical and mental health professionals, and victim advocates to work together to strengthen the community’s response to child abuse.  The center runs entirely from grants, donations and special events.  “This event is setting the tone for our year’s fundraising and is a lot of fun for our guests, staff and hardworking WV Auxiliary,” says Administrative Manager Jay Jack.  “Abuse immediately turns a child’s young world into a chaos, removing the excitement of youthful curiosity and replacing it with questions of confusion and dread. At Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center, our attempt at new beginnings and healing starts as soon as we open our doors,” says Jack.  Harmony House has been a strong part of our valley, serving children and individuals with developmental disabilities in Ohio and Marshall counties in West Virginia and Belmont County in Ohio

For more information visit harmonyhousecacwv.org or call 304-230-2205.

Marshall County Special Olympics Track & Field Event Held

Mother Nature’s rain didn’t wash the smiles off the faces of the more than 130 student and adult athletes at the 31st annual Marshall County Special Olympics Track & Field event at John Marshall High School.

Because showers were in the forecast, the games were moved inside.  JM Agriculture students figured out the layout for the relocation to the school’s gymnasium.

Athletes were assisted by the 170 peer tutors from both Marshall County high schools, Cameron and John Marshall, while competing in various track and field events.  Participants could also make arts and crafts and take silly pictures in a photo booth.

Several JM Career & Technical Education programs helped at Special Olympics.  Nursing students in the Therapeutic Services program provided a first aid station and assisted with physicals.  JM Pro Start students prepared lunch while WJMH Media students announced results and played music.  

The Knights of Pythias, American Legion and Main Street Bank also lent a helping hand during the Marshall County Special Olympics Spring Games.

Everyone who participated received a t-shirt donated by Main Street Bank. This year’s theme was Harry Potter.

Dancing Wheels Physically Integrated Dance Company Performs for Students

Oglebay Institute’s School of Dance brought The Dancing Wheels Company to the Ohio Valley for a workshop, school program and public concert.

The Dancing Wheels Company performed “Daring to Be Dumbo” for Marshall County students during a matinee show in the John Marshall High School Center for Performing Arts Tuesday morning.

The story was set in a contemporary junior high school where Dumbo is now a bullied 13-year-old girl. The story exemplified turning differences from weakness into strength through the love of family, friends and, ultimately, oneself. Students explored lessons on relationships and self-awareness and became better equipped to discuss social issues within their community and school.

The National Endowment for the Arts supported this project. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. In addition, the Rosemary M. Front Charitable Trust, the Robert & Helen Levenson Family Charitable Trust and Peter J. Lim provided support for this project.