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Putnam's student population is the fastest growing in WV

By Kara Moore

WINFIELD -- Putnam County's student population grew faster than any other county's in 2013.

That's according to figures from the state board of education, Superintendent Chuck Hatfield told the Putnam County board Monday night at its regular meeting.

Putnam County's student enrollment grew 2.23 percent this fall, Hatfield said.

The Eastern Panhandle has had the most growth in recent years, but this year Berkeley County was second to Putnam.

Putnam County has had continuous growth in its student population for decades, but the rate had ebbed in recent years before jumping back up this fall.

In other news, Hatfield reported that the county has been recognized for increasing its Advanced Placement class access.

The county has been included on the annual AP District Honor Roll, one of just 177 districts across the United States and Canada to be listed.

The list recognizes districts that increase participation in AP classes by at least 4 percent while maintaining a stable number of passing scores on AP exams.

"Putnam and Mon(ongalia) are the only two in West Virginia to be recognized," Hatfield said. "We're extremely proud of that."

The board also heard from Tom Jackson about the Hurricane Middle School boys' basketball team.

Jackson's son plays on the team, and his wife, Suzette, took the job of coach in the spring.

Suzette Jackson is a fourth grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary, and as a county employee had priority over a non-teacher bidding for the job.

Tom Jackson told the board that since Suzette Jackson became the team's coach last spring, she hasn't had any cooperation from the school's administration.

"Everything she's asked for, pretty much, they've told her, 'No,'" Jackson said. "The most recent thing she's asked for is a parent volunteer."

Jackson said that the assistant coach resigned before tryouts began, so she held tryouts and has been running the team alone.

"Five months ago she asked for a parent volunteer, and she was told that there were going to be no parent volunteers this year at Hurricane Middle School," Jackson said.

Jackson said that since then, parent volunteers have been allowed to help on other teams and that a parent has volunteered who is already certified by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activity Commission, but the principal hasn't responded to e-mails asking that the parent be allowed to help.

The agenda for Monday's meeting included hiring Paul Sowards as an assistant boys' basketball coach at Hurricane Middle School for the 2013-2014 school year among a list of other employment and assignments motions. All were passed unanimously. The Putnam County Board of Education meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Monday of each month at the district office in Winfield. All meetings are open to the public.


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