POINT PLEASANT — State School Superintendent Michael J. Martirano made a visit to Mason County this week, stopping at three schools in the area, on a mission to visit all 55 counties.
Martirano visited Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School, Mason County Career Center and Roosevelt Elementary, accompanied by Superintendent Jack Cullen, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Georgia Thornton, as well as staff at those particular schools. Martirano was joined by his own staff members and Brian Aluise, a representative from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office.
“The application of knowledge to solve problems is what I want this education system to be in West Virginia and I’m seeing evidence of that in our classrooms and there’s many things going right here in Mason County,” Martirano said.
During his visit to Mason County, Martirano said he was a “strong proponent of personalized learning” and said if it’s a child’s job to come to school and work hard everyday, it has to be exciting and meaningful for them and relevant to their connection to their career path.
“I saw this across the gamut at the high school today and there is further evidence here (at Roosevelt),” he added, explaining foundational knowledge is being built at the elementary level.
While at Roosevelt, Martirano, who was a secondary math and science teacher, sat in on a sixth grade science class and quizzed students on and the cell wall.
“Here’s a sixth grade science class talking to me about the parts of a cell at a deeper level..they are able to make connections about why it’s important to study those cells,” he said.
Martirano’s visit to Mason County marks county 42 out of 55 in his state-wide tour which began when he was appointed Sept. 15, 2014. On this tour, he said he was listening to the voices of children whom he referred to as “customers.”
“If you listen to our students, they are our customers if you think about it, you have to listen to your students, you have to listen to your customers and what they’re telling me is what their teachers are doing right, that they (the teachers) care about their students, teachers who are competent and are risk takers who believe in them.”
Martirano said one of his favorite moments came at PPJ/SHS when he got to ride a “hoverboard” created by students.
He also said he got to have his picture taken with the Mothman statue, met Little Miss Mason County Fair Chloe Patrick who is also a student a Roosevelt Elementary, discussed math with students working on touchscreen tablets, science with sixth graders and discussed butterflies with kindergartners.
“Life is good,” he said.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.