Alva Review-Courier -

Cherokee School Board discusses national testing issues, sports, parking


February 6, 2019

Kathleen Lourde

Cherokee Elementary Principal Ruth Richmond (center, seated on table) tells the Cherokee School Board about the national testing that her fourth graders will be doing this week. Behind her is Assistant Principal Bryce Shanbacher, and to his left is Board Treasurer Amantha Sanborn. Seated around the table are (back to camera) Superintendent Donna Anderson, with Board Member Shane Parker to her right and Board Clerk Amber Wilhite to her left. On the left at the far end of the table is Board President Kory Littlefield.

The Cherokee School Board held its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 4. Present were Board President Kory Littlefield, Board Member Shane Parker, Board Clerk Amber Wilhite, Board Treasurer Amantha Sanborn, Superintendent Donna Anderson, Elementary Principal Ruth Richmond, and Assistant Principal Bryce Schanbacher.

The consent agenda was approved, consisting of minutes from previous meetings; general fund encumbrances, purchase orders, balances, and warrants; child nutrition fund encumbrances, purchase orders, balances and warrants; building fund encumbrances, purchase orders, balances and warrants; the activity fund report balances and the treasurer's report on balances.

The board also approved the yearly ADPC software license agreement.

Principals' Reports: Testing, Sports, Student Activities

Principal Ruth Richmond reported that elementary basketball season is over. Fourth grade begins some national testing this week. "They come, bring their electronic devices, and administer the tests," Richmond said. She also noted that several students are absent because of a virus going around.

Assistant Principal Bryce Schanbacher added that basketball is also over for the junior high, and that the high school boys' basketball team won the Cherokee Strip Tournament in Enid.

Track is also active: six or seven boys and one girl competed at an indoor track meet, Schanbacher said, "and did pretty well."

Cherokee will be hosting districts for basketball this coming weekend. "Our boys will play on Friday against Thomas," Schanbacher said. "The girls will play Saturday, and they'll play the winner of the Thomas vs. Drummond game."

Next week is FCCLA Week, he noted. FACS Day at the Capitol is Feb. 12. "Speech tournaments are going on about every weekend," he said. National FFA Week is Feb. 18–22.

Superintendent's Report: Transportation, Parking Issues; Gov. Stitt Impacts

Superintendent Anderson is looking into the lease-purchase of a full-size bus for spring. She expects to bring a lease-purchase agreement to the next board meeting.

"We do know we need another bus," Anderson said. "And this will kind of put a band-aid on it until maybe next year we can look at it as a whole, consider trading the high-mileage (bus) in on something newer."

Administrators will begin working on short-term and long-term goals, she said.

"The administrators and I are going to meet on Thursday to do some planning for – I can't believe it – the 2019/20 school year already. We'll be setting some short-term and long-term goals."

Anderson turned the discussion to her plans for a parking lot that is full of large holes.

"Just to let you know," Anderson said, "that parking lot back there, we just did a quick fix on it to get through the spring. This summer, with everybody away, the county has really helped us with some things and we're going to probably try to crush it up and then smooth it out and seal it. And so maybe you'll have more smooth surface and not have those huge holes that we have. So that's kind of in the works for soon after we get out of school."

Anderson then brought up Gov. Stitt's State of the State speech that day, Feb. 4.

"Gov. Stitt was very adamant that he wants to increase salaries again, which is a great great thing, but it is also another budgeting issue that we'll have to look at because we're not on the formula the way other schools are," she said. "We have to be aware that when raises are given through the state salary schedule, they are not necessarily given to us because we're not on the formula. So, he was talking about another $1,200, which – he doesn't want us to be at the national average, he wants us to be No. 1."

Anderson considers Stitt's efforts to be positive. "It's been a long time coming that we feel more positive about our state and our educational system, which is a very good system. But when the way you're evaluated is different every single year, there's absolutely no way to know how well anybody's doing."

Anderson said she and her team have compared their ACT scores against the national scores.

"We're very pleased with our ACT scores that are higher than the state average and very high for our area. So we've got to know that what we're doing at the high school, junior high and elementary is making a difference."

Anderson expects the state's report cards on schools to come out at the end of February

With no new business, the meeting adjourned.


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