CCSET quote newsletter

Connection Highlights 2017-18

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2018 CCSET Newsletter Connections 11-20-18


The Cabell County Quick Guide developed and updated by Cabell County Family Resource Network is provided to school personnel and families at fun nights and community events and is available for download on the website.


Promoting healthy smiles

February was the Children’s Dental Health month campaign.  The Cabell Co. FRN and CCSET used the Brush, Book, Bed Campaign tools, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It has a simple and clear message for parents: 1)  Each night, help your children to brush their teeth.  2)  Read a favorite book (or two)!  3) Get to bed at a regular time each night.

“The Cabell County FRN is proud to launch our ‘Resources for Healthy Teeth Toolkit.’

The information in the Toolkit is compiled to make it easy to access a variety of different materials to help parents and programs promote good oral health and help children have healthy teeth and smiles for life,” said Debra Harris Bowyer, Cabell County Family Resource Network Coordinator.

The focus was on outreach to early education programs. The print and digital resource guide, available on, provides the following:

  • CHILDREN: Activities, Videos, Phone Apps
  • PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS: Tips For Healthy Teeth
  • EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMS: Pre-K and In-Home Family Education
  • SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS: Lessons And Activities, K-12
  • COUNTY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH: Resources on Oral Health Education
  • DENTISTS: Find A Dentist, Dental Home, Insurance, CHIP

This project is done in collaboration with Marshall University and DentaQuest Foundation. The Community and School Oral Health Team at Marshall University School of Medicine applauds the efforts of the Cabell County FRN as it works to empower families in our local communities. The Cabell County FRN recognizes that families cannot be healthy unless they have the proper knowledge and tools on how to care and maintain healthy teeth and mouths.

“This goes beyond brushing teeth,” said Wendy Mosteller, RDH at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “It extends to providing families with real time information, such as how and where to access dental care, benefits of drinking fluoridated water and why the age 1 dental visit is so important. The Cabell County FRN’s most recent endeavor aims to provide resources to not only parents and children but to any individual seeking to improve their oral health and overall health.”

Pathways to Summer Fun Guide

In spring 2018, Pathways to Summer Fun Guide was created. It was a compilation of over twenty fun learning experiences that listed camps, programs, and events for summer enrichment activities. The Cabell Huntington Convention Visitors Bureau partnered with us to print 15,000 copies of the guide for distribution.

“I was so excited when I learned about this list!” said Tyson Compton, president of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau (CHCVB). “Our job at the CHCVB is to let both visitors and local people know what they can see and do in our community, and this list does just that. It is such a valuable resource for families who are looking for summer events. These are all trusted partners and the information makes it so easy to plan activities with just a few clicks.”

The CHCVB distributed 3,000 and CCSET distributed 12,000 guides in 18 preschool/ elementary and 4 middle schools. In addition, guides were delivered to Early Education programs at YMCA Day Care at the Phil Cline Center, River Valley, Marshall and Kiwanis Day Care Centers and Playmates Preschool Child Development Centers (6 sites), Mountain State Healthy Families, and Family Resource Center and private schools of Our Lady of Fatima, St. Joseph Grade School and an email link to the website sent to Covenant Christian School, and Grace Christian. Also, business partners at Pullman Square Cinema, Huntington Federal and First Sentry Banks assisted with promoting the guide.

“In many cases, most students lose at least two months of their mathematical skills every summer. Summer is especially critical for the most vulnerable students in our community,” said Ellenda Ward, Executive Director of CCSET. This group includes children who receive special education services and those who live in poverty. According to a study by John Hopkins University, “Summer learning loss during elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the achievement GAP IN READING between low-income children and their middle-income peers by ninth grade.” Instruction during the summer has the potential to stop summer learning losses. Extended learning is essential for children to achieve reading success by the end of third grade.


CONNECT VOLUNTEERS:  CCSET connected volunteers to several initiatives to reach 463 students. During the year, we had 40 adults participate whose value of time and resources contributed $12,166. 

Examples include:

  • CCSET coordinated visits of five readers to three elementary schools (Highlawn, Salt Rock and Explorer Academy) on Read to Me Day November 16.
  • CCSET participated in Fall Festival at Highlawn Elementary on November 30 to provide oral health information to the 188 students and families attending.
  • The Young Bankers initiative through Fifth Third Bank worked with 57 Explorer Academy 5th grade students for 10 weeks of class training and then visited Marshall University for their final session on April 17.

Volunteers helped to collect items to meet basic needs.

  • CCSET assisted with promoting and collecting infant to school age pajamas for the February 14 event that River Valley Child Development Services conducted for their After School programs at Guyandotte and Explorer Academy that serves 45 preschool to elementary age students. The Brush Book, Bed materials and Healthy Smile Kits were included for all students.
  • For Spring Hill Elementary, 14 pair of underwear were donated to have on hand for needs as they arise.



Spring Hill Elementary Receives Captain McFinn Exploring Kindness Kit

CCSET has several initiatives that encourage students to be their best and emphasize kindness and personal empowerment.

Last school year on November 15, 2017, CCSET assisted with presentation of the Captain McFinn   Exploring Kindness anti-bullying kit donated by the Huntington Mall Marketing Dept. Principal Pam Bailey, Counselor Beth Pettry and 225 students in Kindergarten to 2nd grade welcomed Captain McFinn, who presented the award. The kit is a comprehensive program designed to help Kindergarten to 3rd grade students practice positive social skills. Anti-bullying materials provide counselors important resources to support character and social development. We look forward to hearing good things about how the materials help the students.

In a progress update from Altizer Elementary, who received the Captain McFinn Anti-Bullying kit in the spring 2017 school year. Counselor James Wagoner shared this comment: “The students at Altizer Elementary have enjoyed lessons based on the materials that were given to us by CCSET and the Huntington Mall. Ms. Ramsey and Mr. Wagner, the school counselors at Altizer, created character education lessons that incorporated components from the Kit. The students in kindergarten through second grade participated in a lesson on kindness last year as a follow up to the exciting assembly that featured Captain McFinn. Our kindergarten students’ first developmental guidance lesson of the year was on the topic of respect and friendship (an age appropriate bullying prevention presentation) that featured Captain McFinn. We would like to thank CCSET and the Huntington Mall for their support of the school counseling initiatives at Altizer Elementary and look forward to working together in the future.” Altizer serves 120 students.

The Huntington Mall presented S.H.A.R.K. Patrol kits to the following schools in Cabell County over the past several years:  Davis Creek, Cox Landing, Peyton (now Explorer Academy), and Village of  Barboursville.  Please contact, Ellenda Ward, if you would like for your school to be considered as a project this year.


CCSET participated in the Girl Power Event on October 26, 2017.  The event focused on personal and cyber safety, healthy relationship and wellness. It began with an agency resource scavenger hunt and then dinner with Trooper Rachel Grose as the keynote speaker on personal and cyber safety. During the second phase of the program, Table Talks were held, which were informal talks with the girls about health and wellness topics. Speakers and topics were:      Effects of Stress & stress reduction– Dr. Shannon Smith Maxey, Valley Health; Health issues – Dr. Erica Barringer and Rebecca Conaway, HIMG Women’s Health; Healthy relationships – Rychelle Moses, Youth Services Coordinator Branches Domestic Violence Shelter; “Brain Power” nutrition and smart choices – Cathy Davis, Adolescent Health Coordinator Region 2- Valley Health and Teresa Mills, Prevention Coordinator, Cabell Huntington Health Dept. Also, Trooper Grose led discussion with parents and agency staff  about cyber and personal safety during the second half. Of the 52 in attendance there were 26 people from 20 partner organizations who conducted the event, and 22 middle school girls, and 4 parents who attended.


Classroom Champions Help Students Improve

The mission of the Classroom Champions is two-fold:  to support students academically in their efforts to work at appropriate grade levels and to be a positive adult in their lives. Classroom Champions are volunteers at Explorer Academy who mentor students and tutor them in reading and math which helps them reach the next academic level. There were 25 Classroom Champions at Explorer Academy last year.  The program started seven years ago at Peyton Elementary.  The school staff identifies students that are very close to reaching the next academic level in reading and math.  The Champions  meet with each of their two Little Champs for thirty minutes each week.  The Champion wants to follow them through to graduation. They include kindergarten to 6th grade level because the number of students that are on the grade level “bubble” to bump up from one level to another  maxed out with 25 volunteers to work with 50 students. Also, from the review of student 2017 school achievement levels showed that students with a Classroom Champion had faster gains than students without a       Champion. Ryan McKenzie, principal at Explorer Academy, shared the following information regarding progress of the Little Champs who worked with the Classroom Champions during the 2017 school year: “Students with Champions last year, grew on average, 1.4 grade levels in reading and 1.5 grade levels in math. That means that your students made a year and a half growth (1.5) in the span of one year.  Some students grew two to three grade levels for each subject. The Champions are doing great work!”

The Classroom Champions began in 2010 through Communities In Schools under the guidance of Mrs. Marion Ward, then principal at Peyton Elementary School. It has continued to grow over the years as Peyton has merged with Geneva Kent into Explorer Academy and CIS (Communities In Schools) has evolved into Cabell County Student Empowerment Team.




Connection Highlights 2016-17

Newsletter: Click to download a full PDF

CCSET Newsletter Connections 2016-17

Altizer Elementary Receives Captain McFinn SHARK Patrol Kit

On Friday, April 21, Captain McFinn and his ocean friends visited students at Altizer    Elementary.  Based on a recommendation from Cabell County Student Empowerment Team, the Marketing Department at the Huntington Mall    selected Altizer this year to be the     recipient of the Captain McFinn S.H.A.R:K. Patrol Kit (Students Help Achieve Respect & Kindness), a comprehensive program designed to help K—3rd grade students practice positive social skills.

Books were provided for each classroom, along with stickers and one set of puppets.  Principal Carrie Smith and Counselor James Wagner said the materials will be very beneficial in reiterating the message to students to be a friend and not a bully.

The Huntington Mall presented S.H.A.R.K.

Patrol kits to the following schools in Cabell County over the past several years:  Davis Creek, Cox Landing, Peyton (now Explorer Academy), and Village of  Barboursville.

Please contact, Ellenda Ward, if you would like for your school to be considered as a project this year.


Classroom Champions Continuing to Work toward Achieving Personal Excellence

The Classroom Champions are a group of community members with a common goal of helping kids.  The Classroom Champions began in 2010 through Communities In Schools under the guidance of Mrs. Marion Ward, then principal at Peyton Elementary School.  It has continued to grow over the years as Peyton has merged with Geneva Kent into Explorer Academy and (CIS)    Communities In Schools has evolved into Cabell County Student Empowerment Team.

The mission of the Classroom Champions is two-fold:  to support students academically in their efforts to work at appropriate grade levels and to be a positive adult in their lives.  Mrs. Ward felt that by surrounding students with ‘people of integrity’ the children would learn from and model the behavior of those people.  The Champions take their role very seriously and strive to live up to that challenge.   Most of the Champions, who are certified volunteers by Cabell County Schools, see their two Little Champs individually each week for approximately thirty minutes.  During the 2016-17 school year, the Champions logged in 224 hours at Explorer Academy.

During their scheduled time, the Champions work on math and reading needs identified by the teachers.  Students are selected based on academic need as indicated by test results.  The students who are working one standard deviation below grade level are most likely to benefit from the support of the Champions.

“The Classroom Champions are an example of community members who have a passion for helping students to achieve personal excellence.  Cabell County Student Empowerment Team is so fortunate to have this wonderful group of volunteers who support our mission of connecting resources to empower students to achieve personal excellence,” says Ellenda Ward, Executive Director.  “The organization’s vision is having a caring community engaged in connecting resources and creating a culture where students believe they can achieve.  The thirteen Classroom Champions have carried out that mission and vision this past school year. ”


CCSET Learns about Cabell’s Academies of Career Excellence

In June, Deborah Chapman, Academy Coordinator, presented information to the CCSET Board about the Wall to Wall Academies that will be offered at each high school  in the Fall of 2017.  An Academy is a smaller learning community within a larger high school.  In addition to the freshman academy, each school will offer three additional academies.

  • CMHS will offer Health Sciences and Wellness, Human and Public Services, and Agri-Science and Engineering.
  • Career Academies at HHS will include Health Sciences, Business and Fine Arts and Human Services.
  • The Career Tech Center offers Automotive Technology, Graphic Design, and Law and Public Safety in addition to other programs of study. Academies offer additional experiences to better prepare students for college and career.

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CCSET Newsletter Connections 2016-17



Summer & Fall 2015 Happenings

“We are putting some of the most gifted, interesting individuals in our community at our teachers’ fingertips. The teachers have never had a resource like this and I believe it will be a powerful tool for bringing together students with caring adults who can encourage them to achieve their dreams.” Ellenda Ward, CCSET Director


Opportunities to Connect with Students

CCSET has a new online directory, Cabell Connect. It is a listing of individuals who are interested in visiting Cabell County public school classrooms to share their expertise, interests or hobbies. Whether you are a banker, attorney, artist, or bee keeper, the knowledge you have can positively impact students’ lives often leading many to make education or career choices. Take 5 minutes to make a difference for students by registering.

The Cabell Connect directory will be shared with teachers who can search the resource for speakers based on topics listed by community members. Once a potential speaker is identified, the teacher will send the request to CCSET staff to make the connection. To register, go to and click on the Get Involved “Cabell Connect Directory” tab.

Comics and Cars Event Supports CCSET

As part of their back to school events, the Huntington Mall was the setting for the first Cabell County Student Empowerment Team’s Comics and Cars  show on August 15. The event, open to all makes and models of vehicles and motorcycles, took place in the mall parking lot behind Sears. The event also featured Batman Heroes for Higher and their Hope Mobile. Visitors could also come dressed as their favorite Comic hero, nemesis, or anime to participate in a costume contest.  Everyone attending had an opportunity to vote for their favorite car.

Batmobile Summer 2015

A Peoples’ Choice Award was presented at the end of the show.

Comics & Cars Award Summer 2015

A special thank you to the Huntington Mall for hosting the event and for the car enthusiasts who shared their wonderful cars with the public. Also, special thanks to Christ Temple Church for providing their technical support for the sound system and for 2REAL for providing music.

All proceeds from this event are helping CCSET continue to connect Cabell   County students with the resources they need to Connect. Believe. Achieve. Another show is being planned for summer 2016.


Classroom Champions Serve Explorer Academy Students

When the Explorer Academy opened its doors in August, students from the former Peyton and Geneva Kent Elementary were faced with many new changes. One of the positive changes included sixteen Classroom Champions available to tutor 32 students in a one-to-one situation, along with three additional tutors targeted to work with students in one classroom.

“This is the largest number of Champions (adult tutors) we have had since the initiative was introduced at Peyton Elementary several years ago,” said Diane Shattls, CCSET Board member who has recruited most of the Classroom Champions.

The teachers recommend students who could benefit from some extra one-on-one tutoring to improve their reading and/or math skills. The Champions meet once a week with their “Little Champ” for thirty minutes and work on materials provided by the teacher.


Spring 2015 Happenings

“I honestly believe it is the bond we are forming with each student and the expectations that we have for them that could eventually be the difference that keeps them on the road to success.”  Diane Shattls

A Move Toward Empowerment

Welcome to the first edition of CCSET Connections, the quarterly newsletter for the Cabell County Student Empowerment Team. This winter has offered a season of immense growth for the team and many changes in our organization. We are emerging from this transition with fresh new ideas for empowering students, exciting new developments and a commitment to stay the course.

CCSET’s motto is simple.     Connect. Achieve. Believe. We know that we live in a community full of people who want to see the same change we are seeking in our neighborhoods and schools. We know that we are a community that believes all students deserve their best chance to achieve. Let’s take that resource and work together. Let’s get connected!

We hope this newsletter will be a valuable guide to demonstrating the work that is happening in your community. We hope that it will uplift you as you read about our efforts alongside our community partners.   Most of all, we hope it encourages you to get plugged in to the power of motivating students and changing lives.

Together, we can make the difference!

Caring Adults Enhance Learning

Having a relationship with a caring adult makes a difference. Twenty-two students at Peyton Elementary have and Jamie Davis’ entire fifth grade class benefit from fifteen adult tutors who come to their school each week. One of our goals was to introduce the Classroom Champion initiative to staff at Geneva Kent Elementary and recruit community members to begin working with a few students at that school this spring.

Students at Geneva Kent and   Peyton will begin the 2015-16 school year on the Geneva Kent campus. The introductory process began in December when current Classroom Champions were invited to discuss the initiative with school staff. CCSET Board member, Diane Shattls invited four community members to be involved at Geneva Kent. Three of them began tutoring eight students the week of March 9.


Huntington Mall Awards Anti-Bullying Materials

SHARK Spring 2015 Peyton

Students in kindergarten through third grades at Peyton and Cox Landing Elementary are learning how to be a friend instead of a bully.   The Marketing Department at the Huntington Mall in collaboration with the Cafaro Foundation worked with Cabell County Student Empowerment Team to identify and present S.H.A.R.K. Patrol kits to the two elementary schools in September and November.

Captain McFinn met the children at both schools and Marketing Director Margi MacDuff discussed the importance of Students Helping Achieve Respect and Kindness (S.H.A.R.K.). Afterwards, the students placed their painted handprints on an ocean mural. A local artist turned the hand prints into fish, octopus, sea horses and other sea creatures. The large mural was presented to Peyton Elementary.   A mural was also presented to Cox Landing featuring their students’ handprints.

The kits include lessons focusing on kindness and respSHARK kids handprints Peyton Spring 2015ect for others. Captain McFinn and several of his sea creature friends are included in the kit in the form of puppets to enhance the lessons. The students are also invited to sign a Bully FREE pledge.

SHARK kids poster Peyton Spring 2015

Two Schools Receive Awards from Huntington Music and Arts Festival

Students at Cox Landing, Davis Creek Elementary, and Huntington High School have had enriched learning experiences in music and art as a result of two $250 awards from the Huntington Music and Arts Festival (HMAF) on September 27, 2015. Our organization assisted HMAF by preparing the RFP process and collaborating with Cabell County Schools’ Director of Communications, Jedd Flowers, in publicizing the award opportunity to teachers.

Founder of HMAF, Ian Thornton and the sponsors of the awards, Latta’s School Supplies and Route 60 Music selected the music proposal from Jenine Westfall, Music Teacher at Cox Landing and Davis Creek entitled ”Appalachian Roots.” The proposal requested funds to purchase a dulcimer and folk music selections to enable the elementary students to explore the connection of Irish and Scottish folk music brought to the Appalachian region by early settlers and become familiar with its translation to American culture.

HMAF Cox Landing Spring 2015In a follow-up with Ms. Westfall, she reported that she was able to purchase 2 dulcimers (using additional funding sources) and music. Her students are learning a Jeanie Richie folk song “Pretty Betty Martin.” They were planning to host the Tri-State Dulcimer Society on Feb. 20 and the Montclaire String Quartet from the WV Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 17.


Newsletter Archives: Click on each to download a full PDF

CCSET Newsletter Fall 2015

CCSET Newsletter Spring 2015