Celebratory reception set for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Tool Elementary
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Rep. John Wray, which superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple, Billy Sparks, board president Rick Vieregge, Perry.
the news Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored Jan. 14 with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Texas House Rep. John Wray, which Superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple (Vice President), Billy Sparks, Rick Vieregge (President), Perry, Tim Mattingly (Secretary) and Mike Monroe. Not pictured are board members Gary Woolverton and Dustin Youngman.
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—School trustees heard that Malakoff ISD is the smallest district to ever have back-to-back years as nominations for the National Blue Ribbon School recognition. Now in its 34th year, the Department of Education program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels. A final criterion is that nominated schools have an enrollment of 20 percent or greater from an economically disadvantaged population.
Tool Elementary School was listed as one of just 26 schools in Texas to be nominated and its enrollment is nearly 80 percent from an “economically disadvantaged population.”
Principal Christal Calhoun credited the diligent work of her staff, teachers and especially the students for achieving the scholastic results on her campus. “The staff and kids are very excited,” she said.
Calhoun then described how she broke it down for the 213 children enrolled in pre-k through fifth grade at her campus. At a suggestion from one of the teachers at Tool Elementary School, “We first looked at a map of the entire United States and then of Texas. Then I told them how many schools there were in Texas, including private ones, upwards of 8,000. But they still didn’t get it. But when I showed them a clear plastic barrel containing 8,000 dry black beans and pulled out 26 of them, then I pointed out just one of these. Then they understood what a distinction the Blue Ribbon nomination really is!”
Since the announcement came Jan. 13 and Calhoun passed the news to her students, she said parents have been calling to find out when the “Blue Party” was going to happen and what they could do to help. The district has set a congratulatory reception for 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 at the school. “All our loyal supporters from the community are invited to attend,” Calhoun said.
During the Jan. 14 school board meeting, Calhoun wrapped up her campus report by looking toward Assistant Superintendent Sybil Norris and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny. Snow for their assistance and guidance in setting the goals that need to be met and the necessary reporting instruments to bring the school through the process to win the 2016 Blue Ribbon Award. The final selections are made in September, school trustees heard. Malakoff Elementary School earned the National Blue Ribbon Award for 2015.
“We, the students and staff, are committed to coming to school every day and doing our very best,” she said. The average daily attendance at Tool Elementary School is an unheard of 97 percent and 14 new students have been recently enrolled, she added. The school, and all the other Malakoff ISD campuses, are beginning twice and thrice weekly individual tutoring sessions.
“Not many school boards get to see that!” Board chairman Rick Vieregge said. “This is a real honor,” Perry said. “We’re the only school district below 5A to do that!”
Snow reported that the State Board of Education has invited him and select teachers to join them in Austin April 8 for special recognition of their Blue Ribbon Award. Snow added that after school tutoring begins on his campus as well and that it’s a real grind that makes for long days, but one that he and his staff feel makes all the difference.
Both elementary schools are seeing the addition of iPads for third-sixth grade classrooms, so every class will have access to six to eight of these, Snow said.
In addition to special gifts and recognition for the school board members during January’s School Board Appreciation month, trustees were treated to a music video produced by students of Malakoff Middle School, that has also been played on the local radio station during morning drive time. Trustees were impressed by the words and sentiments expressed, both personal and individualized. “These are really neat kids,” Middle School Principal Quinton Watkins said.
In other business, trustees:
• Accepted the 2014-15 audit from Smith Lambright and Associates, who noted a strong fund balance of $5.6 million and a new accounting of unfunded liability from future retirement earnings. “You don’t have to budget for it,” J.W. Lambright said. “Just know that your share comes to $1,468,000.”
• Noted the school attendance is now being measured in minutes instead of days.
• Reviewed the highlights of the Texas Academic Performance Report. Malakoff ISD met state standards or above in all important indicators, Norris pointed out. The full report is available on line at www.Malakoffisd.org and as printouts at each campus and administration building.
• Heard progress on baseball field lighting and other improvements have been hampered by the wet weather and possible options for getting around that in time for the season to start.
• Reset the July board meeting from the third Monday in July to the second Monday, July 11, to accommodate a request from the superintendent.
• Evaluated the superintendent’s performance and extended his contract another three years, through 2019.