At Monday night’s Altus Board of Education meeting Superintendent Roger Hill thanked Assistant Superintendent Roe Worbes and the Grade Center Committee for their excellent research and recommendations leading up to this meeting. The item to convert Will Rogers, Roosevelt, Sunset and Washington Elementary Schools to Grade Centers was then presented. All voted yes with the effective date being July 1, 2016. Hill and board members all said that the decision for the change was not an easy one, but was necessary, and that this was the beginning of a new chapter for Altus Public Schools.
School Board President Deborah Phillips echoed Hill’s comments and re-emphasized that this was a very tough decision, but that it was for the best of the district.
Board member Keith Phillips said he received calls and spoke with many people about the change, and said he thanked them for their input. Phillips said he had spent a lot of thought on his vote.
Board member Kelley Duncan agreed with Phillips and said she attended Roosevelt, Sunset and Northeast Junior High, “This was a very tough choice.”
Board Member Steven Barnett said he explained to his 16 year old son why the necessary changes were needed and difficult for everyone.
Long-time Board Member John Thomas said his involvement with the Altus Public Schools started with his wife Jenny who had been a teacher and the district’s Public Relations Director. He added that all of his kids attended Altus Schools.
“Altus students, wherever placed, will continue to be greeted by exceptional and very dedicated people starting with the crossing guard to the teachers.”
Also at the meeting, the board approved the closing of Eugene Elementary School and Washington Elementary School, and to move Bulldog Academy (Day program) and night school to Altus High School effective July 1, 2016.
It was announced that all elementary schools, with the exception of Rivers, will be renamed. The elementary schools will be named Altus Early Childhood Center, Altus Primary School and Altus Elementary School. It was also said that the 2016 calendar will be revised and four professional days will be added for transitional support.
In other businesses, it was unanimously approved to re-name the Altus High School basketball court from the Cletus B. Street Field house to the Clester Harrington Court. Superintendent Hill shared Harrington’s 40-year credentials and numerous career achievements. The gym floor will be renovated during summer break with Harrington’s signature.
During the meeting individuals that have contributed years of dedication and hard work to the school system were recognized.
Altus School Board member Keith Phillips was recognized for serving the board for two terms. Athletic Director Jeremy Reed honored Linda Wiginton on being chosen as the 2015 National Federation of High School (NFHS) Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in Boys Swimming and Diving, and 2016 NHSACA National Coach of the Year finalist. Also recognized was Janice Hardwich as the NHSACA National Assistant Coach of the Year finalist. Reed said, “It is an honor to work with these two woman that have given so much to our kids.” Wiginton and Hardwich will be honored on June 29 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Altus High School Principal Rita Beisel recognized AHS Vocal Music students Emily Locon, Mikaya, Mikendel Reuter and Nick Young, for earning All State honors. Beisel commended the students on their hard work and rigorous process of learning music.
The College Remediation Rates (based on year 2013) was then reported by AHS Principal Beisel. She said that 31.9% of the states college freshman enrolled in non-remedial courses, Jackson County was 46.4% and Altus was 42%. There was no data collected in year 2014. She added that Altus High School ACT scores have risen in all areas, and that students are offered advanced placement courses to prepare for college.
The board then approved the retirement of Don Campbell at the Bulldog Academy and Teresa Campbell Spanish teacher at the high school. Resignations from Jeremy Reed, Vicky Klein and Sue Lopez were also accepted.
It was reported that the new Athletic Director will be Todd Ware, former AHS assistant principal, and that Debra Webb will be the new AHS assistant principal.
Superintendent Hill’s contract was approved until 2019. Supt. Hill recommended Todd Vargas for the position of High School Head Football Coach for 2016-2017 school year, and the board unanimously approved the recommendation.
Approval was given for Randall Coffman and Bruce Farquahar to attend the 2016 Math and Science Partnership Regional Conference in Baltimore, MD on March 1-3, with the expenses paid by the partnership grant.
There was no new business and the meeting adjourned.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077