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Connection Highlights 2016-17

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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