By Kimberly A. Combs
Improvement of attendance will remain the top priority at Clearwater High School, according to CHS Principal Theresa Smith. Classes resumed Wednesday morning for Clearwater R-1 students.
Smith addressed the Clearwater R-1 Board of Education Monday evening, outlining her goals for the school year.
Smith, who will begin her third year as high school principal, said that attendance has been improving in her tenure. Her first year as principal, 79 percent of students were at school 90 percent of the time. Last year, the rate improved greatly and 86 percent of high school students had 90 percent attendance.
This year, Smith said her goal is for 90 percent of students to be in class at least 90 percent of the time. This would bring the high school’s attendance in line with state standards. Missouri measures attendance by calculating the share of students who are in attendance 90 percent of the time.
Smith said that she has two other goals for the school year. One is improving test scores. The other is improving school culture and climate.
Rural Schools Losing Funding
Clearwater R-1 is one of many rural schools that has been affected by the expiration of Secure Rural Schools Act that expired in 2015. Last year, Clearwater R-1 lost $60,000 when Congress did not reauthorize funding. The act provided funding for rural schools that host National Forests, replacing a small portion of lost tax revenue since the land is government owned.
Superintendent Deborah Hand said that she did not include any Secure Rural Schools Act revenue in this year’s budget. However, she hopes that funding will be restored. Hand said that rural Missouri schools are banding together to fight for reauthorization of the act. The school administrators have enlisted the Missouri Farm Bureau into the issue.
Hand said this is just one of the cuts rural schools with which rural schools have been hit. Transportation funding has been reduced. Many schools, such as Clearwater, have been having to take operating funds to pay transportation costs.
Clearwater R-1 officials have looked at ways to reduce transportation costs but have not been able to find ways to do that. The school has not been able to consolidate any routes. Hand said that due to the composition of the district, some buses do not have that many riders. However, you can’t consolidate routes because children would be getting on the bus very early in the morning and getting home in many cases after dark.
The high school baseball jamboree that was slated for last Saturday was postponed due to rain. Smith said that the plan is for the jamboree to be played Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. The high school volleyball team will also have a jamboree Thursday evening.
New Instrument Approved
The board voted to spend $3,619 to purchase a new tuba for the band department. The school solicited several bids to find the lowest price. The new instrument will be purchased from Collins Music.
The school recently launched a new website cwtigers.net. Parents will be able to access board policy, the parent portal, lunch menus, and the elementary, middle school, and high school’s websites from the central location. The school also plans to utilize the site to post press releases, to advertise surplus property for sale, and post other information that would be of interest to parents. Superintendent Hand said that the site will be updated frequently and is currently a work in progress.
Renovation Projects Underway
Two renovation projects are currently underway at the high school campus. The art room renovation project will take several more days to complete. Art classes will temporarily be moved to the main school building. The FACS classroom is being upgraded due to a grant that Christy Johnson wrote. The vocation grant will enable the school to replace the classroom’s kitchen facilities with commercial grade equipment and shelving.