Huntingdon Special School District Board of Education members measured their progress within the last year and set goals for next school year during Joint Venture Dec. 4.

During Joint Venture each year, board members visit the primary, middle and high schools during the day and take walks through the schools accompanied by high school principal Dr. Jonathan Kee, middle school principal Scott Carter, primary school principal Christy Carey and director of schools Pat Dillahunty.

Following the visits, the board sets down and prioritizes a list of needs at each of the schools.

This year the goals include: upgrading the high school baseball pressbox and concession stand with upgrades at the primary and high school cafeterias.

Prior to visiting the schools, the principals spoke about their schools. Kee said at the high school softball the construction of a band room still in progress are some of the improvements made at the high school.

Instructional support improved the math level at the high school, he said.

The enrollment increased from 332 in the 2016-2017 to 336 in the 2017-2018 year. As many as 390 students are expected at the high school next year. The ACT scores continue to improve and are now at 20.7. The graduation rate for the past year was 100 percent.

At the high school the area of focus is work base learning and ongoing instructional support. He showed board members where he wants to see an outdoor cafeteria constructed and an ACT score of 21.

A lot of benefits have been realized from the artificial turf on the football field. A lot of practicing of different sports has taken place on it. Community functions have been held there as well.

Carter said the middle school was designated as a Reward School this year, meaning it met high standards. Reward Schools are those that are improving overall student academic achievement and student growth for all students and for student groups.

He said other areas of focus include new English/Language Arts curriculum, scheduling adjustments, updated math curriculum and new science standards.

Carey said at the primary school she would like to have a new phone system, 120 I pads for k-second grades, an upgraded cafeteria and an improved security camera system.

She said the chronically absent students have decreased from 9.9 percent to 6 percent.

During the visit to the high school, school resource officer Drake Whitworth talked about his job in keeping the students safe.

“I walk five to six miles a day making checks,” he said. “I check bags. I check for seat belts. I want children to be as safe at school as they are at home.”

Whitworth said he works at building relationships with the students.

Board members got a chance to see how active panels that are taking the place of white boards work. A walk-through was conducted through the band department construction.

At the primary school a stop in the cafeteria convinced board members there is a need to enlarge it. A tour of a new pre-K classroom was made and stops were made at the library, the gymnasium, and a second grade classroom where Christmas carols were being sung.

At the middle school board members observed Melinda Vailes’ seventh grade English/Language Arts (ELA) class in session. The group got to see the special learning center room at the middle school and the band in session.

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