The school board enjoyed celebrating the success of its students and discussed campus plans at Monday evening’s meeting. Campus plans revealed that the CSCOPE curriculum has been removed. A Parent Liason has been appointed for the Primary and Elementary campuses, and the Remind 101 system has be implemented to better communicate with parents. The need for both a short- and long-range plan for the district’s facilities was elaborated on, as the high school is approaching 50 years of age. A special meeting of the board will be held on Monday, October 14 at 7:00 pm to tour the district to assess needs and discuss options such as renovation, rebuilding, or new facilities.
77-year-old former McFarland student William J. Baker was awarded his high school diploma, as he was unable to receive his diploma with his class in 1953 because he enlisted in the United States Air Force during his senior year at McFarland School. Texas Education Code 28.0251 allows a school district to issue a high school diploma to a person who is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States; was scheduled to graduate from high school after 1940 and before 1975; and left high school before graduation to serve in World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. Mr. Baker’s diploma will be mailed to him in Michigan, where he currently resides. Superintendent John Fuller remarked that these were the kinds of duties he enjoyed the most in his position.
Two art students, senior Cecilia Sanchez and junior Leslie Lyke, were recognized for winning the Downey Publishing Company Art Contest. Cecilia’s painting of a girl on a swing won first place, which entitles her to a $500 Visa gift card and $500 for the high school art department. Her painting will be the front cover of the 2014 Wood County Phone Book. Leslie’s depiction of a cardinal on a branch received second place honors. She received a $250 gift card and her art will be the inside front cover of the phone book.
Current enrollment at the Primary campus is 430. Meet the Teacher night on August 20 had an excellent turnout, with 314 parents signing in for attendance. The Grandparents Day program on September 6 had 252 grandparents sign in for attendance, and was held in conjunction with the first book fair of the year, which grossed over $4,000. The campus is continuing the “Fish Philosophy” Character Education program this year, and developed a language lab, literacy lab, and math lab to better target student needs. Principal Rod Allen reports that the new drop-off/pickup lanes are working well and the new parking lots have been “an excellent improvement to the campus.”
The Elementary school has an enrollment of 377, and approximately 300 parents signed in at the Meet the Teacher event held on August 20. The Read 180 program and PLATO diagnostic testing have been removed, and several mobile computer labs have been brought on campus to further technology integration, using Google in Education. The Kid’s University program has been added to enhance project-based learning, inquiry, and problem solving. The 7 Habits of Happy and Effective Kids is being introduced through PE classes, library time, and morning announcements to support character development, leadership, positive peer interaction, and school pride.
Current Middle school enrollment is 353. PLATO diagnostic testing was removed from this campus as well; students will be participating in Math collaborative and project-based learning lessons. Advanced Science classes have been added to each grade level, and Math Solution and Read 180 classes have increased to better serve student needs. FCA has begun regular meetings and doing skits during lunch on Wednesdays. Sponsors are Susan Witt, Lisa Miller, and Randy Munoz. Lorrie Drennon had the first meeting with the Builders Club on Friday. Jana Nance has begun signups for UIL, and Randy Munoz will be leading the new robotics team. Principal Mike Sorenson reports that parent comments of the new dropoff/pickup procedures have been positive.
459 students are currently enrolled at the High School. The Study Island program and Pharmacy Tech class were removed this year, and a Technology Specialist has been added to the campus staff. The Tyler SIS program has been implemented to handle many aspects of school administration, including absences, tardies, and discipline issues. A new lunch policy is in effect, requiring that all freshman, sophomore, and junior students eat in the cafeteria. Seniors will eat lunch in the lobby. iPads were given out during registration, after each student paid a $30 user fee that will go into a repair account. Most of the teachers are using them in instruction, and Google e-mail is being used on them to communicate with the students for announcements, hall passes to the office, and homework. A new iPad program called eBackPack will be implemented within the next two weeks to allow assignments to be managed digitally by students and teachers. Principal David Sauer said that the e-mail program has been a great tool for communication between himself and students. “I get e-mails all hours of the night and day” he says, and asserts that he answers each one. On a fundraising note, the auction at the Mineola Hay Show garnered over $20,000 for the FFA students and program.