Jake Thompson receives Sandite Spirit Award, Board of Ed discusses curriculum/facilities

 All State Band member Jake Thompson is presented with the Sandite Spirit Award. (Photo: Scott Emigh).

All State Band member Jake Thompson is presented with the Sandite Spirit Award. (Photo: Scott Emigh).

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Sand Springs Board of Education met in a regular monthly meeting Monday evening and discussed budget cuts, facility renovations, and the future of High School education in Sand Springs. They also presented Jake Thompson with a Sandite Spirit Award.

Thompson was recently named to the All State Band for French Horn, and was also a member of the Winter Percussion unit that won their first State Championship this past weekend.

Thompson spent seven months practicing more than an hour a day in preparation for Districts to earn his way to the All-State competition. From there he was among a hundred musicians who competed for the twenty positions on the All-State Band. 

"In Northeast Oklahoma we have some of the best competitors in the country," said Charles Page High School Band Director Kyle Wright. 

Additionally, Thompson learned how to play symbols this past year for the Winter Guard and Percussion of Oklahoma competitions. 

Charles Page staff gave a presentation regarding the school's transition to a career-pathway style of teaching. In the coming years the school will be providing classes structured around different career paths with unique curriculum for each student. The presentation discussed trying to build a career-preparatory culture at CPHS with enhanced college and career counseling. The school expects all students to graduate academically prepared for either college or a career.

Part of the career-pathway presentation addressed "redefining the senior year" and allowing seniors to earn credit hours through part-time jobs, internships, or apprentice ships. Students who maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher with good attendance will be able to participate in the High Schools that Work pilot program. Students who participate will have to turn in weekly pay stubs and take a biweekly class tied into their on-the-job learning.

Superintendent Sherry Durkee gave an update on the SSPS facilities, including the former Twin Cities Elementary building and the Ed Dubie Field House. 

Twin Cities was listed for sale by owner last year, but has had little market interest. According to Durkee, the building is deteriorating and has substantial problems including mold. After consulting with Montie Box of Montie Box Realtors, they concluded the building's last appraisal was overly generous, and it's not worth the cost of restoration. Durkee believes the District's best option is to demolish the building and retain the property for future growth in that area. The Indian Education facility located next to Central Ninth Grade Center is also in rough shape and expected to be demolished in the future.

The Ed Dubie Field House has been without a playable basketball court for more than a month now after moisture cause the floor to warp. The CPHS Girls' Basketball team earned the right to host a Regional Playoff this year, but had to move to Broken Arrow after the damage was uncovered. The current floor was installed in 1978, making it about time for replacement anyways. Comparably, the National Basketball Association requires its teams to replace their floors every ten years. Hardwood installation typically takes about six weeks for a basketball court, and the district is hoping to remodel by July when volleyball practice begins. 

The Board approved a contract with Oklahoma LED for a $445,596 project to replace the entire district's lighting fixtures with LED strip lights. The LED lights are expected to result in major energy savings for the district in the future. Oklahoma LED projects electric savings of up to 80% in the first month.