This year marks a new chapter for the Altus Public School system. The transition from multiple grade schools teaching elementary age children kindergarten through fifth-grade to individual schools teaching only one to two age groups has caused some hurdles not only for students and parents, but also faculty and staff.
One such hurdle is the issue of age-appropriate playground equipment.
The teachers and staff at Altus Early Childhood Center, formerly Will Rogers Elementary School, know how important age-appropriate equipment is for their children. They’ve had some stationary equipment recently removed, leaving the playground looking sparse.
The staff at Altus Elementary School, formerly Sunset Elementary School, also faced this same dilemma.
When a few officers from the Altus Police Department heard about this shortage of playground equipment, they decided there was no time to lose to do their part to meet this need. Taking the initiative, they took up a donation among themselves and bought as many soccer balls, dodge balls, basketballs, hula-hoops and sidewalk chalk as they could find to distribute to the two schools.
“We didn’t have to think about this one,” Officer Allen Collins said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about making our kids happy.”
They where met with smiles when they handed out the new toys to the students at AECC and Altus Elementary School on Monday.
While the older children had reservations about an officer in uniform coming to the school, they soon warmed up to the idea when they saw the shiny new soccer balls and glittery pink hula-hoops. The younger children, however, were ready and willing to get the officers playing basketball and scribbling on the sidewalk right along with them.
Principal Renee Long at AECC was elated to have the new balls and toys for her students.
“We had one flat ball that’s been around forever,” Long said. “It’s such a nice thing to have these new balls while we wait for our new playground equipment.”
The AECC staff expects to have the equipment from Washington Elementary School, the newest equipment in the Altus Public School system, installed in the coming months.
But the officers still are continuing an effort to get more toys for the children.
The members of the Altus Police Department will be selling pulled pork sandwiches at the Great Plains Stampede Rodeo Aug. 25-27 to raise money for Spooky Town to benefit local children on Halloween as well.
While the new toys are a good start toward helping out the schools during this transition, there is still more that needs to be done.
To donate, contact Altus Public Schools or the Altus Police Department.
For more information visit altusps.com or contact Amanda Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221.