By Jeff Shultz
County schools are gearing up this week for the start of a new school year next week with most schools reporting a positive outlook for the 2015-2016 school year.
Music Returns To Stratford
The first day of school in Stratford will be Thursday, August 13 and elementary students and teachers will be using the school’s new classrooms/safe rooms for the first time, according to Superintendent of Schools Michael Blackburn.
The rooms were part of a bond issue school patrons passed two years ago.
Last spring, Stratford Elementary was awarded a $65,000 technology grant by the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust for the purchase of i-Pads, cases and storage units.
The i-Pads will cost $40,000 and will be divided among all elementary teachers for use in their classrooms.
“The remaining $25,000 will be used for professional development in training teacher how to be use their new technology,” Blackburn added.
Along with the new technology, music classes for all students will be revived in Stratford schools this year. The new music teacher is Catie Caton.
Stratford will also be welcoming a new counselor to the high school campus this year.
“Kelly Hooper will be engaged in helping students with their schedules and assisting high school and middle school staff during the year,” Blackburn said.
There will be PIE Night (Parents Involved in Education) on Thursday, August 20, from 6-8 p.m. at the Stratford High School.
Commonly known as “Meet the Teach” Night, school patrons will be able to meet the teachers and have any questions answered by the teachers and administration.
“We are excited about the 2015-2016 school year and we look forward to great accomplishments by our students,” Blackburn added.
New Faces In Maysville
Maysville Public Schools will be starting on Thursday, August 13, with several new faces greeting students for the new school year.
The summer started off with the hiring of new coaches for basketball, softball and baseball.
Also, the elementary school has a new principal, Mr. John Edwards.
“Under his leadership, the FFA program flourished; therefore, having him step up as principal is exciting,” said Superintendent of Schools Shelly Hildebrand-Beach.
Beach said Edwards has been busy familiarizing himself with the school, staff and academic programs provided to the students.
Beach said there were some limited changes to the elementary student handbook for this year, but in the high school there were a couple of notable changes.
E-vapor cigarette use on campus and Nike Pro style shorts are prohibited, she said.
“All attire must reach at least mid-thigh,” she added.
Financially, the district is looking good, Beach added.
“The district ended the last fiscal year $244,000 ahead. It has been over a decade since the district has seen a carry-over of this amount,” she said.
“We’re very appreciative of the continued support provided by the parents, patrons and community businesses.”
In Elmore City, the EC-P School District will start a new school year in anticipation of the next school year as work has begun on the new middle school.
Last August school patrons passed a bond issue to build the new middle school and work has begun on the project.
“It should be ready for the 2016-2017 school year,” said Donny Darrow, Superintendent of Schools.
The new building will have seven classrooms, a computer lab, a student center and a band/safe room.
The new building will accommodate all students in grades 6-8.
“After completion of this building project, all of the building sites in the district will have a safe room for students to seek shelter during inclement weather,” Darrow added.
The sound of construction will also be evident at the EC-P Elementary School as the EC-P School Board just approved a new roof for the elementary school.
Also, this past summer the First Baptist Church in Elmore City donated their activity bus to the school district.
The bus is in pristine condition with only 16,000 miles.
“Currently the bus is being repainted with the school’s colors as well as the badger mascot being painted on the bus,” Darrow said.
The bus will hold 44 students/athletes with storage.
The Badger Band is currently raising funds for new uniforms and raised over $9,000 for the project this past summer at fundraiser held at Panther Creek, which is located west of Elmore City.