By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Sand Springs Board of Education held their regularly monthly meeting Monday evening at the Charles Page High School Fine Arts Building and presented two awards before beginning regular business.
Keystone Chevrolet was presented with the Sandite Spirit Award for their recent $3,000 donation to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs in Sand Springs. They had previously donated a year's worth of free oil changes to last year's Teacher of the Year. "All of us (Keystone Chevy owners) are products of public school and want to help contribute," said Managing Partner Mike Frizell.
Central Ninth Grade teacher Andrea Brice was presented with the Sandite Pacesetter Award for her recent appointment to the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education.
The Board discussed upcoming changes to graduation requirements since the last legislative session.
This past May the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 3218, a bipartisan effort with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate. The amendatory bill abolished the previous requirements surrounding controversial "End of Instruction" (EOI) exams that had the potential to prevent a student from graduating based solely on test scores. The new laws still require assessments on English, Mathematics, and Science, but these assessments will not prevent students with satisfactory grades and attendance from graduating.
Schools throughout the State now have the ability to establish contact with former students under the age of 22, who passed all high school requirements except EOIs, and present them with diplomas. Thanks to the due diligence of Sand Springs teachers and administrators, there is not a single former student from either Charles Page High School or Page Alternative Academy (formerly Lake Alternative Academy) who failed to graduate based solely on EOI scores.
The 51-page bill eliminated entire sections of its previous incarnation, and added more than six pages of new law. The changes passed in HB3218 and other pieces of legislature passed this past session have both the State and local Boards of Education working hard to set new standards for testing students, as well as grading school performances.
Superintendent Sherry Durkee informed the Board that she has reached out to Oklahoma LED, a wholesale lighting Energy Savings Company regarding their Power Forward rebate program. The program offers a free analysis of all Sand Springs Public Schools properties. Ponca City schools recently made the decision to use the program and is saving around $23,000 a month according to Durkee.
The program would replace every single light bulb in the district with an LED bulb over a four-to-five year period, providing a higher quality, longer-lasting, and environmental friendly alternative to a traditional bulb. The bulbs hold a fifteen-year life expectancy with a five-year warranty. At worst, the program is expected to be cost-neutral, and at best can save thousands for the schools through longer-lasting bulbs as well up to $150,000 in rebates from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma.
The Board approved several out of state travel expenses for students and faculty.
Daniel Schmidt and Jacob Adkinson will be attending the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October, then Schmidt will attend several Show Pigs events in Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri from October through November. Andrea Brice will attend the National ACTE Convention in Las Vegas in December. Seven faculty members will be attending the National Title I Conference in Long Beach, California in February. All of these events are paid for with federal Professional Development funding specifically given to the schools for this purpose.
The Charles Page High School wrestling team will travel to Kansas City in December for the prestigious Kansas City Stampede invitational tournament. They have been attending the event since 2013 and have had at least one champion every year. Last year they took fifteenth place out of forty teams. Both the Boys' and Girls' Basketball teams will be attending the Interstate Classic tournament in Coffeyville, Kansas in January. Last year the girls team took first place and the boys took second.
The Board authorized a resolution to call for an Annual School Election on February 14, 2017. Board President Mike Mullins will be up for reelection on that date.
The Board invites all members of the community to participate in an online survey to help in developing a Continuous Strategic Improvement (CSI) plan. That survey is available HERE. Citizens interested in lending their voice to the initiative can also attend forums on the subject Wednesday. There will be an 8:30 a.m. forum at Garfield Elementary, a 3:30 p.m. forum at the Charles Page Fine Arts Center, and a 5:30 p.m. forum at the Clyde Boyd Middle School Library.