The Parsons Advocate

See New page 3 See Court page 2 Volume 125 No. 51 Wednesday, December 16, 2020 75 cents (tax incl.) See achievement page 6 Circuit Court Proceeds While Following Safety Protocol By Heather Clower The Parsons Advocate The Tucker County Circuit Court had a full docket with the Honorable Judge James Courrier presiding while all safety precau- tions were taken to maintain the safety of everyone involved. William Ball Jr. appeared with his defense attorney, David Fuelhart, for sentencing as a result of a plea agreement that was accepted. Prosecut- ing Attorney Ray LaMora argued that Ball has neglected to take responsibility for his actions and during the pre-sentencing inves- tigation, refused to admit that he committed a crime he pled guilty to. LaMora stated that this was a serious crime where a Department of Health and Human Resources officer was threatened to be shot. Fuelhart disagreed, stating his client has a limited criminal history and has had no issues during his time on bond. Judge Cour- New Retailer Opens in Parsons Davis Thomas Staff Working Towards Student Achievement By Heather Clower The Parsons Advocate “What we wanted to do was talk about the good,” began Davis Thomas Ele- mentary Middle School Principal Neil “Steelie” Kisamore as he addressed the Board of Education. He thanked Superin- tendent Alicia Lambert, Facilities/Athletic Director Jonathan Hicks, and all central office staff for being proactive to secure the technology to assist students when school goes remote as well as the board for voting to provide the interventionist posi- tion at his school. Kisamore began a slideshow of photos highlighting some of the upgrades made to the facility including but not limited to new carpeting in the preschool room, new entryway flooring, and the doorways at the main entrance. He shifted gears to show the needs of the school, such as bathroom sinks, refinishing of the bathroom stall doors, and addressing water issues causing paint peeling on the interior block walls. The students took a benchmark test within the first days of returning to school using a new platform called iReady. Kisa- more admitted the results were not great, but after being out of school since March and using a new testing program, it was expected. The students will be testing again in early January which growth is hoped to be seen. Jeanelle Paul, DTEMS Interventionist spoke next to explain how she has been working with students in a reading pro- gram. Phonics screenings were conducted to identify the students needing additional assistance followed by developing sched- ules to fit the schedule models set in place due to the pandemic. “I found that I think it was 57% of the third grade class was considered high risk and their phonics skills were kindergarten, first grade level,” said Paul. She continued to share the challenges of working in intervention in the midst of a pandemic and how she is overcoming these challenges both in person and virtu- ally. “I prepared packets for kids that I had been working with every day and sent that home,” she explained. She also utilized an online reading program and offered virtual instruction as well. “The students are very lucky to have you there,” proclaimed Board Member Cathy Hebb. Superin- tendent Alicia Lambert asked Paul if she felt that her students would show growth with the next bench- mark tests to be administered after the first of the year. Paul responded, “I feel like some of them definitely will,” though shares many concerns over being remote. “I’ve definitely shown great improvements over some of the kids that I have,” she added. Anne Farmer, DTEMS Guidance Counselor, added how happy she is with how much the school staff has been able to accomplish in a short amount of time. “At the begin- ning of the year, obviously we were really concerned about our students social and emotional well-being,” she began. “We know that chronic stress and living in chaotic environments, living in poverty, these can all be trauma- tizing for students,” Farmer continued. Feeling that it was detrimental for the staff to understand what trauma is and how it impacts the livelihoods of the students, Farmer coordinated a training program to aid in understanding self-regulation techniques. “This is the beginning of our journey to becoming a trauma sensitive school,” she explained. Trauma is a highly objective experience that happens on a regular basis, not only during a pandemic justifying the need for understanding and training by the staff. Farmer showed a list of traumatic experi- ences that highlighted ones that are known to be currently affecting students within their school. “One in four children has had some exposure to trauma,” quoted Farmer from the National Child Trauma Stress Network, which impacts the way a child learns and their ability to control behaviors. DTEMS received funding for a school- wide training which assists in recognizing the needs of the students and providing strategies for self-calming and regula- By Heather Clower The Parsons Advocate What was once Lambert's Chevrolet and then Performance Motors has taken on a completely new look. While Tucker Sales and Services is going strong in the shop with Nick Tompkins and his son Jeff, the former sales department has been converted into a retail location named Tucker Gifts. The shop carries all-new items includ- ing clothing, decor, local honey, essential oils, and jewelry. There are also consign- ment items from W.Va. artists such as candies and fudge, soap, potholders, and much more. Christy Hines, the owner of the retail location, purchased the building in 2007 With numerous offerings from clothing, home decor, and fudge, Tucker Gifts has a variety of inventory catering to the residents of Parsons. Melissa Waybright, currently incarcer - ated at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on over 150 counts of child abuse-related charges, neglected to accept or deny a plea agreement offered in Tucker County Circuit Court. She will return to court on January 13, 2021, at which time a trial date may be set. (Photo courtesy of TVRJ) = Board of Education Members (left to right) Cathy Hebb, Jessica Wamsley, Daniel “Chopper” Evans, and Tim Turner vote unanimously to approve the hiring of four additional substitute teachers for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The former sales department of an automotive dealership has undergone a major change as it now serves as home to Tucker Gifts, a new retail store in Parsons. The new St. George Medical Clinic pharmacy, at the corner of First St. and Pennsyl - vania Ave., in Parsons, is well under way. Progress made on new pharmacy