Part of the state-mandated collection of reports examines the annual drop-out rate for each high school and junior high. So how has Altus High School done as far as retaining their students? That could be answered two ways. According to Mr. Haught's report presented at the Nov. 9 Board of Education of the Altus Public School District, the number of students who dropped out during the fourth quarter of the 2008-2009 term was 63 out of 1099. That number represents a 6% drop-out rate. But if all students in freshman through senior levels are used, the drop-out rate is 13-15% for 2008.
When does this at-risk behavior begin to influence attendance? Mr. Worbes from Altus Jr. High School said they had only four true drop-outs last year. Of twelve students, eight returned. All four drop-outs were Hispanic. Cultural factors may be at work there.
To help prevent at-risk behavior at the Jr. High, Worbes explained their Grades/Attendance/Behavior celebration days. He said they've had a positive effect on jr. high school performance.
At Altus High School, Haught noted that minorities are starting to realize that education is the way to success. He also stated there are still some people who expect girls "to get married and have babies."
Part of the solution to better performance at the high school is tied to tutoring, increased instruction before critical tests, and Saturday or summer academies to catch up on missed credits. These strategies are also part of the Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) Remediation Plan. This plan, to take place in 2012, is to help students pass at least 4 of 7 instructional tests to be able to graduate, or if they do not pass these tests, the plan offers remediation. The ACE was approved by the Board.
The School Board members also approved both the School Board election filing dates of Dec. 7, 8, and 9, and the election taking place on Feb.. 9, 2010. Also approved was amending Board meeting policy (Policy 100.020) to match the current way the meetings are conducted. The school district claims and consent agenda were all approved by the board.
It seems like money is an issue almost everywhere now, with the schools no exception. The state has announced a 5% reduction in funding, with more reductions possible. There have also been suggestions that the so-called rainy day funds may be used to supplement some necessary programs. Karen Sanchez mentioned that state aid fluctuates based on attendance. As a result, they never estimate a 100% amount. The Board reviewed and approved the 2009-2010 final School District Budget Proposal.
In personnel matters, there were no retirements or resignations. Janice Hardwick was reassigned from Swimming Coach to 8th grade Basketball Coach. The board approved one new hire, Yamileth Campana, as a Teacher's Aide at Washington Elementary. A lengthy list of substitutes was approved: Linda Beaulieu, Jerry Downen, Kimberly Glunz, Linda Holley, Kori Kincannon, Heather McNeil, Roberta Jean Morhiser, and Kimberli Yancey.
Time sheet employee Betty Lehr in Adult Education was added.
Volunteers approved were: Ulysees Bridges III, AHS/AJH Asst. Wrestling Coach, Shane Gregg, AHS Boys Asst. Tennis Coach, Nick Rose, AHS Boys Asst. Basketball Coach, Mike Torres, AHS/AJH Asst. Wrestling Coach.
Extra Duty assignments included Michael Shive as AHS Asst. Varsity Swim Coach and Chris Story, AJH Asst. Wrestling Coach.
There was no executive session. The Board meeting dates for 2010 were approved. One tort claim was placed against the district. It regarded a bus wreck. More information will follow on that issue.
There was no new business and the meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.