Oct. 13—The Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education met Tuesday, Oct. 12 to hear public comments, receive principal reports, and vote on routine agenda items, as well as set an election date to fill the seat of Ed Myers.
Tahlequah resident Nancy Dyson spoke on behalf of the Gifted and Talented program and hopes TPS will continue to fund it.
"I have donated to the program in the past. I will donate $500 to help them fulfill their program," she said.
Kristy Hodgson, Matt Hodgson, and Courtney Short called for board member Chrissi Nimmo's resignation for making comments and posts on social media.
Carol Bruner asked TPS officials to be attentive to books selected in school libraries. She presented a book she found in a neighboring public library that contained sexually explicit imagery. Leon Ashlock, TPS superintendent, asked if the book was found in a public or school library, and she admitted it wasn't.
Ashlock asked TPS principals to come to the meeting to receive gifts for their accomplishments throughout the pandemic.
"We monitor our employees. This is Principals Month. They do an outstanding job. We don't get an opportunity to recognize them often enough," said Ashlock. "We want to dedicate our Tigers ROAR to our teachers. We have a gift for them. It's hard to be a principal in any kind of school."
Dana Dobson, Child Nutrition director, said that 97.4 percent of families have turned in applications for free and reduced lunches.
"It's been tough because it's been hard to justify to the parents why we need to get these forms turned in, because our children eat for free. It's hard to convey this message. Our families have done an amazing job at getting these forms," said Dobson.
Ninety-one students still need to turn in forms before Oct. 31. District funding is tied to the completion.
Sequoyah pre-K recently had its book fair, and site administrators are planning a visit to Rockin' R Farms. A jog-a-thon is set for Oct. 28.
Cherokee Elementary has chosen its robotics team, which is practicing after school. It held a jog-a-thon last week.
Greenwood Elementary had its first community engagement event and invited the police station, firefighters, and Grand River Dam Authority.
"Over 100 families attended. It was good to see them. We had a popcorn sale," said Assistant Principal Chrissie Christian.
Heritage Elementary has held its Student Council elections. They are deciding on a schoolwide service activity that will take place later this year.
"We are hosting two interns from the Riverhawks scholar program. It's a program for people with disabilities who get a certificate. This is the first time they are put into an education internship," said Heritage Principal Amanda Vance.
The students at Heritage are raising money to purchase swing sets.
Tahlequah Middle School has added an intensive eighth-grade science course to prepare students for high school.
"They got deeper on subjects. Teachers are more a facilitator of learning," said Principal Abbey Keys.
They have also added a gardening and botany class wherein students grow their own plants.
Tahlequah High School Principal Lacie Wilson reported that over the course of the pandemic, several students have dropped out. During the 2019-2020 year, 20 dropped out, but in 2020-2021, that number jumped to 40. Since then, two have come back, five have transferred to a different district, and one received a GED.
The board approved a number of contractual agreements, which are considered routine.
Tanya Jones, DeAnn Mashburn, Debbie Underwood, Kathy McClure, Cindy Robertson, Julie Crittenden, Laura Rogers, Lisa Lewis, Barbie Casey, Crystal Hendricks, Cheryl Arnall, Amanda Dry, Tiffany Cacy, Jessica Morrison, and Samantha Allen will serve on the Textbook Adoption Committee.
The board approved a resolution to hold a TPS Board of Education primary election on Feb. 8, 2022, to fill the seat that is filled by Ed Myers. If a majority — more than 50 percent — is not reached, they will hold a general election on April 8.
They have hired Vicky Garvin, TMS/PT para sub; Tristian Wood, Greenwood/para pro; Gentry Riet-Kerk, TMS/special care para; Ashley Lawrence, THS/special care para; Tyree Parker, THS/PT para sub; Ashley Gower, THS/nurse; and Michael Russo, transportation/bus driver.