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Board praises students

The West County Board of Education met in regular session Thursday night to hear district reports and recognize student achievement.

Before the regular meeting, the board recognized a standout volleyball player and the district’s first-ever cross country team.

First, the board recognized Sarah O’Donnell, who made it to the 2nd Team All-Conference for volleyball.

“This first young lady we’re going to recognize — she had a heck of a volleyball year,” Superintendent Stacy Stevens said. “She ended up being 2nd Team All-Conference, and if you came and watched any volleyball, you know she had an outstanding year. She absolutely crushed the ball and played well all-around.

“[The team] had a very good year, a very successful year. I would tell you that going on, Coach Simily probably didn’t know what kind of a record and how successful we would be this year. I can tell you the young lady we’re recognizing tonight had a lot to do with our record this year.”

Next, the board recognized members of the middle school and high school cross country teams. Stevens said after attending almost every cross country meet of the season, he had gained a great appreciation for the work put in by the student athletes.

“I always talk about certain sports and say that you can’t fake certain things,” he said. “I used to say that about basketball, and I still do. You can’t fake getting up and down the floor. You either get up and down the floor or you don’t.

“Let me tell you, cross country takes it to another level. You can’t fake going out there and running 3.1 miles at the high school level or 2 miles at the junior high level. It shows how much work you’ve put in.”

Cross Country Coaches Calvin Malloy and Sonya Hovick spoke briefly about the team’s first season, saying the runners had all made the district proud and exceeded expectations.

“Every single one on the team was very good,” Hovick said. “They all medaled in their last meet. They did their best all season, and I was proud of them and proud to coach them.”

“There’s only one time you get to be the first ever,” Stevens said. “This is the first team. You get one shot at that, and they did a great job. They represented our district so well and we’re so proud of them.”

In the regular meeting, the board first heard a technology report from IT Director Cory Smith, who gave the board a rundown of the technology situation in the district.

Smith said the total number of devices (including desktop and laptop computers as well as Chromebooks) in the district has increased from 515 in the 2014-2015 school year to about 900 for the 2018-2019 school year.

Smith said the district had also recently switched to Charter Spectrum for internet services, saving the district about $10,000 a year.

He said the district is in a good place technologically, but with time the board could expect to see the need to update the camera system in all campuses except the new middle school, and given the increase in device maintenance, could also see the need to employ additional IT staff.

Title I Reading Educator Tracey Newman provided the board with a Title I report, saying that the Reading Recovery Program had exceeded state averages in terms of program success.

“The national average for the 2016-2017 school year was 75 percent,” Newman said.  “At West County this past year we were at 94 percent, and that was the highest that we’ve done.”

Lisa Puller next presented the board with a 21st Century report and a library report. She played the board two animated videos produced with the help of students to describe all the new after school activities being provided through the 21st Century Grant, and the new things provided by the library.

In his superintendent’s Report, Stevens said there was some concern about a loss of funding due to tax cuts at the federal level.

“If it should go through, the way Missouri is tied to it in terms of our state taxes, it’s potentially a billion dollars in lost revenue,” he said.

The board voted to approve the filing dates for the April 2018 board election for Dec. 12 to Jan. 16. The board members who are up for reelection are Jon Barlow and Rick Lawson.

The board received its 2016-2017 audit report, with Stevens saying he was proud to report another clean audit with no concerns found. The board approved the audit report.

The West County Board of Education recognizes the high school cross country team for its successful first season. Front row, left to right, Superintendent Stacy Stevens, Madelyn Whitter, Rebekka McSpadden, Cassandra Miller, Mikayla Sherrill, Kara Hovick and Coach Sonya Hovick. Back Row, left to right: Luke Steiniger, Joshua Neeley, Christopher Porterfield, Cameron Stevens, Ryan Retzer, Cody Moore, Dylan Emily and Coach Calvin Malloy.

The West County Board of Education recognizes the high school cross country team for its successful first season. Front row, left to right, Superintendent Stacy Stevens, Madelyn Whitter, Rebekka McSpadden, Cassandra Miller, Mikayla Sherrill, Kara Hovick and Coach Sonya Hovick. Back Row, left to right: Luke Steiniger, Joshua Neeley, Christopher Porterfield, Cameron Stevens, Ryan Retzer, Cody Moore, Dylan Emily and Coach Calvin Malloy.

The West County Board of Education recognizes the middle school cross country team. From left to right: Superintendent Stacy Stevens, Dawson Dowd, Carter Reed, Chasten Horton, Claire Stevens, Alivia Simily, Coach Calvin Malloy, Sydney Cash, Ella Pratt and Coach Sonya Hovick.

The West County Board of Education recognizes the middle school cross country team. From left to right: Superintendent Stacy Stevens, Dawson Dowd, Carter Reed, Chasten Horton, Claire Stevens, Alivia Simily, Coach Calvin Malloy, Sydney Cash, Ella Pratt and Coach Sonya Hovick.

The West County Board of Education recognizes Sarah O'Donnell for her successful volleyball season and being named to 2nd Team All-Conference. Left to right, Stacy Stevens, O'Donnell and Board President <span><p class=Shawn Meinershagen.” width=”800″ /> The West County Board of Education recognizes Sarah O’Donnell for her successful volleyball season and being named to 2nd Team All-Conference. Left to right, Stacy Stevens, O’Donnell and Board President Shawn Meinershagen.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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