Category Archives: Uncategorized

2021 Young Writers Contest Winners Announced

The 2021 Marshall County Young Writers Contest winners list has been released.

Each of the original stories will be printed in the 2021 Marshall County Young Writers Anthology. Marshall County Literacy Council will host a virtual Young Writers Tea this year.  

The stories of students who placed first in the county were submitted to the West Virginia Young Writers Contest. Additionally, all Marshall County first-place entries will be recognized during a virtual celebration on West Virginia Young Writers Day which is Friday, May 7, 2021.

An audio version of the list can be read to you by calling 304-843-4400 ext 315.

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

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.

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

“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 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 or 

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 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 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 In addition, the Rosemary M. Front Charitable Trust, the Robert & Helen Levenson Family Charitable Trust and Peter J. Lim provided support for this project.

McNinch Primary Students “Choose Kind”

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year, McNinch Primary School Counselor Jennifer Pickett introduced a school-wide program titled “Choose Kind.”

The new campaign started after the publication of the book “Wonder” and release of the movie of the same title. In “Wonder” there is a quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer that states: “If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” The “Choose Kind” campaign encourages individuals and schools to “promote, recognize and celebrate acts of kindness.” 

Faculty, staff and students decided to base their first “Choose Kind” service project on September’s “Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.”

Pickett purchased 96 child-sized fleece scarves. During guidance lessons, she had kindergarten students decorate tags to attach to the scarves. First graders made gift bags, and second grade students made “Sending You a Smile” cards to include in the bags. 

The completed gift bags were recently mailed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for children undergoing treatment.

More projects are being planned. There are “Choose Kind” posters hanging around the school.  Picket does developmental guidance lessons on being kind, and she ends the announcements every day encouraging students and staff to remember to “Choose Kind.”

Students Participate in Safety Program

From left: Mr. Tristan, Icy the Penguin, Aja Gee, Daemon Yoho and Chief Mitchell.

Creative Safety Products and the City of Moundsville partnered Friday to present the “Officer Phil Safety Program” at McNinch Primary School.

Students in kindergarten through 2nd grade were not only informed but entertained by Mr. Tristan about the importance of positive behavior such as honesty, friendship and being a “Superhero” not a bully.

Mr. Tristan used puppet characters Icy the Penguin and Buddy the Bulldog along with magic during the 30 minute interactive assembly to enhance the lesson. Students were taught they don’t need a fancy costume to be a “Superhero” but just need do what’s right all the time.

Lessons about being the best person they can, in addition to always being respectful, responsible and safe will be reinforced in each classroom.  Mr. Tristan gave every teacher grade appropriate workbooks to do follow-up activities both at school and home.

The main objective of the program, since its inception in 1975, is to educate students about a variety of safety aspects such as stranger danger, the negative effects of bullying and what to do in an emergency.