Mineral County 6 for 6, Hampshire Count 4 for 9

I am sure Hampshire county is not known around the state for its test scores, that is, unless you are referring to the fact that they tend to be one of the lowest in the state.  Certain I am, however, that we are the butt of many jokes by administrators down in Charleston.  Recently I read the lead story in the Hampshire Review that stated we were improving.  The numbers they were referring to were pretty dismal to say the least.  When I looked at the state data on the test, it showed that only four school in the county met the standard.  When comparing Mineral county to Hampshire county, one has to wonder what is going on in our neck of the woods!  A mere 20 miles away, every school in the County met the state minimum state standards.  Below is the data from the state education site:

Here is the link if you would like to see the state statistics.   http://wveis.k12.wv.us/nclb/public12/replist_Y.cfm?cn=028

WVEIS Code School Name School Type AYP
2012
AYP
2011
AYP
2010
AYP
2009
AYP
2008
Hampshire COUNTY
1. 028 – 201 Augusta Elementary School Elementary Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP
2. 028 – 204 John J. Cornwell School Elementary Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP
3. 028 – 206 Romney Elementary School Elementary Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Did Not Meet AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP
4. 028 – 207 Slanesville Elementary School Elementary Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP
5. 028 – 208 Springfield-Green Spring School Elementary Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP
6. 028 – 209 Capon Bridge Elementary School Elementary Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP
7. 028 – 401 Capon Bridge Middle School Middle Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP
8. 028 – 402 Romney Middle School Middle Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Did Not Meet AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP
9. 028 – 501 Hampshire Senior High School High Made AYP Did Not Meet AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP

For those of you who are not familiar with state testing, it is somewhat complex.  First off, every couple of years the test is changed so that there is never a continuous data stream to compare to the past.  I have witnessed this first hand when trying to put together some long-term data on the direction our county is going.  Second, testing is a huge money-making scheme for several large companies.  The county has to pay for most of these tests. Further more that is money that could be used for supplies and teacher salaries.  More to the point, which company would you buy your test from?  Would you buy from a company whose tests made your state look bad or would you buy from a company that made your state look good?  If I am under the gun to meet some standard that the federal government has set, I better find a company that is going to enhance our status!  Third, you will find a majority of professional teachers in today’s classroom that do not approve of the mountain of testing our children endure.  It was always a challenge for me to get a class hyped up for the end of the year test.  Can you imagine what it is like to spend about one-fifth of your school year testing?

Do not think for one moment that I am letting Hampshire county schools off the hook for these terrible scores!  Regardless of whether we meet the federal guidelines or not, we are one of the worst scoring counties in the state and one of the worst scoring states in America, we ought not even think of comparing ourselves to the rest of the developed world when we are way down on the list!  Making a state-by-state comparison is fair since everyone in the state takes the same test and functions ( I use the word function reluctantly) under the same leadership and financial guidelines.  The national percentages are somewhat more difficult since every state uses its own testing guideline and procedures.  If you look at the national rankings, you will see that we are close to the bottom!  Here is a site where you can look at the stats to see how we as a state are doing.  Notice that the graphs are adjusted to the scores in each state.  The bars that show the national averages are different in every chart but actually represent the same number.  This makes it more difficult to read!

http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2011/summary.asp?tab_id=tab2&subtab_id=Tab_1#chart

As you can see below, I have written extensively about education in our state and county and am appalled by the level of achievement we have settled for.  Make no mistake, we are in a crisis in this state as well as many other states, and our children are the ones who are affected the most!  Below is a list of the many other posts I have made that you are welcome to read:

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/how-crazy-can-it-get/

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/testing-in-our-public-schools/

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/hampshire-schools-close-to-the-bottom/

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/graduation-gone-to-the-dogs/

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/how-to-fix-public-education/

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/what-education-is-supposed-to-do-and-not-supposed-to-do-part-two/

https://streisel.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/how-to-fix-public-education-part-one/

I have said it many times and to many people, we need to transform education into a working model that trains our children to be competent and responsible human beings.  Sure, it is a different world and sure, we face many complex issues but the solutions are easy if we just get back to basic education.  We must make a decision: is education just about replacing the dysfunctional home and society or is it a place of academic rigor.  My teaching motto has changed little since I first stepped into the classroom: Expect a lot, get a lot; expect a little, get a little!  Right now our schools expect very little from our children and guess what….that’s what they are getting.

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A few thought on staying young

I have spent much of my life learning as much as possible about staying healthy and fit.  I am now 62+ years old and still moving pretty well, even if I have more aches and pains than I used to.  When I was a teenager I remember an older man running through our neighborhood most every morning.  I remember hoping that I would be that healthy when I was his age.  Running and biking have been a part of my life as long as I can remember and are still a major part.  I do not run as much as I used to, but biking still offers a good choice of places to go.  In the last few years I have improved my swimming to the point that I am a pretty good at it.  Even though swimming is not as fun as biking or running, it is a tremendous health benefit for skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular fitness.  All that said, I think I have earned the right to speak a little bit on staying healthy as we age, and so here we go!

Like most people who stay in shape, I was taught that it is essential that I spend as much time as possible running or biking long distances. Recently I have been reading and hearing new evidence that this may not be totally true.  In fact, over-training may not be that good for you.  A recent article stated that marathon runners may be damaging their hearts from the extensive training and competing. This leads to a whole new train of thought which I will now address.  There is new evidence that interval training may be more beneficial than distance training.  Remember those horrible wind sprints we did in high school? Well, they may have been better for you than the five-mile runs.  Current research is revealing that the human body experiences more benefits from interval training then long slow workouts. There also seems to be increased weight loss!

Let explain more thoroughly why I think that interval workouts are better for you.  It has long been thought that as we get older, we should modify our workouts to suit the age of our body.  It is becoming clear that this is only partly true.  Yes, we do slow down over time, and yes, we do experience more aches and pains, but never the less we have been told since the beginning of time to USE IT OR LOSE IT!  The of two biggest culprits in aging are inflammation as well as reduced blood flow due to heart weakness or restricted veins and arteries.  Repetitive exercises over long periods of time tend to increase inflammation and do little to stretch the blood vessels or max out the heart.  Remember when they used to tell us that one needed to take his car out to the interstate once in a while to clean it out?  Maybe our bodies are similar to that car.  Maybe we need to push them to the max every couple of days just to keep them working properly.  Said another way, when one does interval training and raises the heart rate to its max, and expands blood vessels to their max, it only make sense that one increases blood flow to all parts of the body.  By stretching the vessels you are making them more pliable, which in turn should lower blood pressure.

This is my new workout plan which is geared to increasing my quick flex muscles so that I can run, swim and bike faster this coming spring.  My workout is a little more extreme than most normal people need.  In fact, according to some exercise gurus, three workouts a week of only 16 minutes of intervals which entails 90 seconds of doing almost nothing (walking or pedaling very slowly) followed by 30 seconds of VERY intense exercise may be all you need to feel younger and be healthier!  It was also suggested that if you eat properly, this exercise routine would lead to increased weight loss!  So, I hope everybody (the three of you) who is reading this is ready to try this new fitness program.  Find an exercise bike, treadmill, pool or anything that can make you winded in 30 seconds and get to work!  You only need 16 minutes a day!

Now if you are really serious about losing weight, you can read my articles about eating sugar and wheat.  Losing weight is easy if you:

1. Do not eat processed sugar

2. Do not eat processed grains and, if possible, remove grains from your diet completely

3. Do my new exercise regimen 3 times a week.

GOOD LUCK and may the scales be with you.