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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Salem school year off to a good start

Saturday, August 27, 2011

(Photo)
Enrollment at the Salem School District is holding steady as the new school year begins. 720 students were present on Aug. 15, the first day of the new school year, and Superintendent Ken Rich expects more students to enroll over the next two to three weeks. Last year, the district averaged 727 students.
As the new school year begins, it appears that enrollment at the Salem School District is holding steady.

The Salem School Board met on Aug. 15, at the end of the first day of school.

"Our first day of school was a great one here at Salem," said Superintendent Ken Rich said. "We're off to a very, very good start. We had 720 students here today. That is down, just slightly, from last year's three quarter average of 727."

Rich pointed out the number of students typically goes up slightly the first two or three weeks of school, as students moving from out of state arrive and others enroll. During the meeting, the board approved seven requests from Izard County students who want to transfer to Salem and one transfer request from a Highland student.

High School Principal Wayne Guiltner said he had 325 students present for opening day, and he expects at least 15 additional students to enroll over the next few days.

According to Rich, the only first day glitch was some timing issues with bus routes that have been changed, but the good news was, "Very few students were on the wrong bus this afternoon, so that's a great day there."

Elementary School Principal Corey Johnson said students and teachers he visited were "very exited about their first day."

Guiltner praised teachers and the student council for work to decorate hallways and create a positive atmosphere.

The most excitement at the high school during the day was over the "Smart Boards," that were installed in high school classrooms over the summer.

The interactive boards connect with a computer and allow users to go to the boards and use them like touch screen computers.

The new devices drew a lot of interest and teachers had planned activities so students could try them out.

"It think it's going to make an impact in the engagement of learning, so they were excited," said Guiltner.

During the meeting, Superintendent Rich asked the board to transfer $55,000 from the operating fund to the building fund. That is the amount of funds the district had left over in the operating fund at the end of the last fiscal year.

The state facilities division has approved a long planned roofing project in the gymnasium/physical education area of the school. The state partnership program will cover most of the cost, with the $55,000 in local funds paying most of the school system's portion.

The contractor chosen for the project, which will add a raised metal roof to the flat roof on the gym, is ready to start as soon as materials arrive.
Rich explained that doing a construction project while school is in session is usually something to be avoided, but he is not expecting problems in this instance.

"We're not going to be tearing the roof off. We are going to be placing a roof, basically, over the existing roof and building up a small portion on the weight room," said Rich. "They will be working off the back side of the building. There will be very little disruption to our students or the school day."

Superintendent Rich gave board members a short description of the district's Adequate Yearly Progress report. An in-depth report will be given at the Sept. 19 meeting, which is the district's annual public meeting.

"Both the high school and the elementary are meeting standards and are an achieving school, as they are required to be by the No Child Left Behind Law," said Rich. "Some very good test scores in both elementary and high school."

Rich added that, each year, schools are expected to show an increase in the number of students who are rated "proficient" so that, by 2014, schools can meet the goal of 100% proficiency, which is a challenge many school system will have a difficult time reaching.

With just three weeks until the first home football game, the project to improve Greyhound stadium drainage and install new turf on the playing field is right on schedule.

Goal posts were reinstalled on Aug. 15, and Rich gave board members time lapse photos showing the new athletic grass growing week by week.

"We did our last application of chemical today for killing weeds and it's filling in quite nicely and looks good, and it's going to be ready for the first game," said Rich.

Rich laughed as he told board members that junior high team players are already clamoring to practice in the end zone of the stadium. Rich had to tell them 'not quite yet.'

The junior high team will be the first to use the new playing surface, Sept. 1, against the Mammoth Spring Bears.

Sept. 2, the varsity squad will take on Jonesboro West Side at Greyhound Stadium.

The September school board meeting will be held in the high school, due to it being the annual public meeting, to explain the schools' progress in meeting state and federal standards.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.



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