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School board recognizes students

Members of the West County Board of Education attended a brief student recognition ceremony prior to their regular monthly meeting this week.

Several elementary students were recognized and given awards for earning advanced scores on their standardized exams and others who placed high in the conference spelling bee held recently at the Central School District.

Elementary School Principal Todd Watson first introduced students who earned high scores on their Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) exams and who were unable to attend last month’s recognition ceremony. The students earned advanced scores in every portion of the exams — reading, math and science — taken last year.

“That’s challenging for kids to do that in all areas,” said Watson, “and is something to commend them for.”

Next, Watson introduced students in the third, fourth and fifth grades he called “super spellers,” who had competed and won spelling bees in their classrooms, grade level and at the elementary school before going on to compete in the conference spelling bee.

“It’s amazing that they can remember those words under pressure,” he said. “When you’re on stage in front of an audience, it’s tough. They’ve got a lot of pressure on them, everybody’s watching them and they’re trying to think. And there’s formality to spelling bees. You have to say things just right, you can’t go back and respell words … once you say a letter, you can’t go back and change it. There’s a lot of pressure on them.”

Beginning the formal agenda, High School Principal Eric Moyers gave a report on the district’s attendance program, followed by a report on the district’s community education program. In regard to the attendance program, Superintendent Stacy Stevens added that overall, the district’s attendance averages 95 percent.

During his principal’s report, Moyers announced that the high school prom is on Saturday at Heritage Hall in Bonne Terre beginning at 6 p.m.

In his report on the middle school, Principal Kevin Coffman summarized attendance figures and remarked that standardized MAP testing begins this week, which tends to increase attendance rates.

Next up, Watson gave a report on the elementary school, with a brief listing of a number of events occurring at the school, including a living museum and ice cream social on April 20, along with a concert performed by fourth and fifth graders and a first grade field trip on the same date. On April 28, kindergarten students will go on a field trip to Engler Park and Parkland Gymnastics and there will be an art fair and “3 Piggy Opera” at the school on the same date.

Watson also announced that the honor choir will be performing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch at the Cardinals baseball game on June 1.

During her report, Special Services Director Sheri Price reminded the board that the Special Prom is set for April 29 beginning at 5 p.m. She reported that Special Olympics athletes who competed at the event in Cape Girardeau on April 1 won 39 gold medals, 14 silver and three bronze medals. The local Special Olympics event is scheduled for May 9 at North County High School.

Stevens began his report by informing the board that one of the district’s school buses caught fire last week due to a wiring issue, but fortunately it was empty and parked at the bus barn when the fire started. He commented that it is one of the older buses, but the district needs all of its buses. He commended the Leadwood Fire Department for responding quickly to put out the fire.

Next, Stevens asked for a short break in order to recognize two retiring board members. Outgoing President Brett Forshee, who has served on the board for 12 years, and retiring member Lynn Frago, who served for 37 years, chose not to run for re-election to their seats and have stepped down. Frago and Lynn were presented with plaques from the district thanking them for their many years of service and dedication.

In addition, Stevens presented Frago with a framed proclamation from the Missouri Senate recognizing his service to the school district along with numerous milestone events of his life and career.

Getting back to regular business, board members agreed to keep lunch prices for the next school year at $1.85 for elementary students and $2.10 for middle and high school students.

After a recommendation by Stevens, the board voiced positive feedback for looking into forming boys and girls autumn cross country teams. He commented that aside from buying uniforms, the biggest expense would be bus transportation costs.

Stevens also told board members that he was approached by some parents about the possibility of the district forming a track team. Tentative options were briefly discussed in light of the fact that the district doesn’t currently have a track before generally agreeing it’s not a viable option at this time.

Next, Stevens initiated a discussion about the need for a new bus and the board agreed to put out a request for bids to purchase a new bus.

A lengthy discussed ensued regarding the possibility of expanding on the district’s preschool program, ending with an agreement to gather information about available grants and request estimates for certain aspects of construction.

The board also heard a brief update on the middle school, the ongoing improvements to the district’s ball fields and an update on the West County Foundation with special mention of a $1,000 donation made to the foundation for a scholarship in Frago’s name for a graduating senior.

The next board meeting was set for May 16 at 6:30 p.m. with a formal student recognition ceremony at one of the schools taking place prior to the meeting at 5 p.m. 

Retiring after 37 years of serving on the school board, West County Board of Education Member Lynn Frago, right, receives a plaque from the school district and a resolution from the Missouri Senate recognizing his many years of service. Also pictured is Superintendent Stacy Stevens who presented Frago with the awards at Tuesday night's board meeting. 

Retiring after 37 years of serving on the school board, West County Board of Education Member Lynn Frago, right, receives a plaque from the school district and a resolution from the Missouri Senate recognizing his many years of service. Also pictured is Superintendent Stacy Stevens who presented Frago with the awards at Tuesday night’s board meeting. 

After 12 years of serving on the West County Board of Education, Brett Forshee, right, who served as president the past year, steps down after choosing not to run for re-election this year. During Tuesday night's board meeting, Superintendent Stacy Stevens, left, presented him with a plaque recognizing his many years of service to the district.

After 12 years of serving on the West County Board of Education, Brett Forshee, right, who served as president the past year, steps down after choosing not to run for re-election this year. During Tuesday night’s board meeting, Superintendent Stacy Stevens, left, presented him with a plaque recognizing his many years of service to the district.

West County Elementary School students Lucas Barnes and Autumn McMullan are recognized during Tuesday night's board of education meeting for being

West County Elementary School students Lucas Barnes and Autumn McMullan are recognized during Tuesday night’s board of education meeting for being “super spellers” who earned top spots in their school’s spelling bees and competed in the recent conference spelling bee. Also pictured are Superintendent Stacy Stevens and Elementary School Principal Todd Watson. 

West County students, from left to right, Daniel Mackay, Carter Reed, Isabella Beck and Layni Barnes are recognized during Tuesday night's board of education meeting for earning advanced scores on last year's standardized state exams. Also pictured are Superintendent Stacy Stevens and Elementary School Principal Todd Watson.  

West County students, from left to right, Daniel Mackay, Carter Reed, Isabella Beck and Layni Barnes are recognized during Tuesday night’s board of education meeting for earning advanced scores on last year’s standardized state exams. Also pictured are Superintendent Stacy Stevens and Elementary School Principal Todd Watson.  

Amy Patterson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or apatterson@dailyjournalonline.com.

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