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BOE mulls incentive policy for teachers

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

Teachers in Harrison County who become nationally certified may be eligible for an annual salary supplement of $4,000, if the board of education approves a new policy.

The board is considering adopting the proposal as an incentive for teachers to become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

"The certification is a lengthy and rigorous process and involves teachers videotaping classes, doing self-evaluations and written work and taking the exam," said Superintendent Carl Friebel.

"It is a tremendous amount of work, and we'd like to provide them with a stipend."

The fee for the application alone is $2,300 and that does not include the costs of supplies for printing and the audiovisual materials needed for the certification process, said Emily Hundley, state certification coordinator.

The state currently offers a $1,000 annual salary supplement for 10 years and up to $600 in expenses, for those who successfully complete the certification, Hundley said.

The policy the county is considering would provide $500 to help with the initial costs of the application process -- reimbursable by the employee if they should withdraw from the program prior to completion. It would also allow four days of professional leave for the applicant to complete the application, allow access to all audiovisual equipment and could include up to $3,000 annually in salary for 10 years.

West Virginia already has 23 board certified teachers, but none are from Harrison County, Hundley said.

"The trend nationwide is for the counties to add a supplement on top of what the state offers," she said.

"Wood County has done this and they have 17 of the 23 who have been certified, so it's been very successful."

The Legislature is considering increasing the salary supplement amount the state offers to $2,500 per year for the duration of the certification, Hundley said.

The county's proposal will be held for 30 days for comments, before the board makes an official decision.

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In other business, three county employees were present to speak at the public forum but were asked by the board to hold their comments. Friebel told the employees since their comments dealt with possible grievance issues, speaking out would bias the board and perhaps cause problems if the grievance came before the board later.

At the meeting, the board also:

--Approved a $1,883.73 payment to ZDS Design/Consulting Services for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning consultation work at Lumberport Middle School. The project is funded through the School Building Authority.

--Approved a $6,528. 41 payment to ZDS Design/Consulting Services for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning consultation work at Lumberport Elementary School. The project is funded through the School Building Authority.

--Discussed the West Virginia Report Card for Harrison County released by the state Department of Education for the 1999-2000 school year. The results showed improvements in the SAT-9 scores and ACT scores for students, as well as smaller class sizes due to a significant drop in enrollment.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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