Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)


March 06, 2001, Tuesday


Board to lists ins, outs of field trips


BYLINE: Eric Eyre


SECTION: News; Pg. P10A


LENGTH: 608 words

Kanawha County school board members don't want students bused to movie theaters to watch animated Disney movies. That much is clear.

But what about field trips to miniature golf centers, shopping malls, amusement parks and the state basketball tournament?

Ron Duerring, Kanawha County schools superintendent, asked board members for guidance Monday night: What's in? What's out?

Board members told Duerring to draw up a list of potential field trips and they'll vote them up or down at a future meeting.

"We as a board can say we like this, or we don't like this," said school board President Bill Raglin. "We need to come up with a list and endorse it."

Board members agreed Monday night schools could send students during the school day to the upcoming state basketball tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.

School officials started scrutinizing field trips after the Gazette reported that Kanawha County schools sent students to the movies more than 60 times during the past nine months. Movie theaters held special showings on school days for the students. The films included "102 Dalmatians," "The Emperor's New Groove" and "The Grinch."

Last month, board members ordered Duerring to ban such non-educational field trips.

This week, high school principals called Duerring about the state basketball tournament. Could the students go?

Nitro and Capital high schools' girls' basketball teams already have qualified for the tournament. The boys' teams at George Washington, Capital and South Charleston also have a shot at making it.

School board members said sending students to the games to cheer on their teams would boost school spirit.

"Personally, I think it's just as important to go to the state tournament and root for your team as it is to sit in the classroom," said board member Jim Crawford.

"We have students who will attend whether we sanction it or not," board member Cheryle Hall said.

Duerring also asked about field trips at the end of the school year. Students picnic and swim at Coonskin Park, play miniature golf in South Charleston and ride the roller coaster and bumper cars at Camden Park in Huntington. Some board members indicated they wouldn't ban such trips.

"Now, you're saying these are OK?" Duerring said. "What isn't OK?"

Principals and teachers have said they hold up field trips to students as rewards for good behavior, grades and attendance.

Roy Petry, a math teacher at Dupont Middle School, came to Monday night's meeting to criticize the board for spending $ 900,000 to train teachers in the county's switch from junior highs to middle schools. Petry called the training "a total waste of time."

But he also noted that middle school teachers are instructed to establish reward systems during the training sessions.

"We're hammered - reward, reward, reward - was what you have to have to make a middle school successful," Petry said. "Why should the children do well if they're not going to get rewards at the end of the school year?"

In other business Monday night, elementary school principals asked board members to hire 15 additional counselors. Each elementary school would then have at least one full-time counselor.

Watts Elementary Principal Eric Lutz read papers written by 9-year-old boys at the school. They wrote of missing fathers, of loneliness and despair.

"Kids are scared," Lutz said. "They're lonely. Afraid."

Principals also want board members to hire a full-time grant writer and establish a task force to discuss principals' concerns.

To contact staff writer Eric Eyre, use e-mail or call 348-5194


LOAD-DATE: March 06, 2001




Copyright 2001 Charleston Newspapers