In the wake of the success of Letcher County Central High School’s archery team, an overwhelming number of students have expressed interest in joining the squad.
LCC Archery Coach Mike Sexton told the Letcher County Board of Education Monday night that 110 students have signed up for archery. With about 60 students regularly showing up for practices in the old diesel mechanic bay at the former Letcher County Technology Center building, Sexton said it is a challenge to conduct efficient practices with archers having to share 15 bows.
“It’s continuing to be a problem to match kids who are the same strength,” said Sexton.
Some students have purchased their own bows. However, “not everyone can go out and buy a $180 bow,” said Sexton, adding that arrows and targets are also needed.
“I am desperately in need of equipment,” said Sexton.
Sexton, who said he can’t give students the proper amount of practice time with the amount of equipment the team currently has, asked the board for financial help.
Board Member Wi l l Smith asked if the archery team could receive funding from the Letcher County Schools Education Foundation. Board Member Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. suggested Sexton build a strong booster club and hold monthly fundraisers.
Sexton said the archery team has collected about $4,600 through various fundraisers, but he wants to save some money for the end of the season to help cover costs associated with participating in state, national and world competitions. State and national competitions will be held In Louisville and world competition will be held in Wisconsin.
“I’m anticipating we’ll be back at state competition,” said Sexton. “I think we’ll be traveling to nationals and world competition.”
Last school year, the archery team placed eighth in world competition and ninth in state competition with the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
Sexton told the board that he will go ahead and spend money the archery team has raised to purchase bows, which he said are an immediate need.
“I’ve got to have it,” said Sexton.
Board Member Mendy Boggs said she wants the school district to help the archery team financially.
“If you haven’t heard from us by next board meeting, come back,” said Boggs.
Amanda Sturgill, interim principal at Cowan Elementary School, told the board that a new archery program will begin in a few weeks at Cowan. Eighty students are interested in being a part of the archery team and parents have raised $3,000 to help get the program started.
In other business, Quillen suggested that thank you letters be sent to individuals who worked for the district last school year and played a part in the increase in test scores.
Quillen credited the following people for their work in the school district: Anna Craft, former Letcher County Public Schools superintendent; Linda Hall, former district director of curriculum and instruction; Lesa Whitaker, former district director; Scott Teague, former district director of special education; Danny Vance, former principal of the Letcher County Area Technology Center; Mike Harris, former board member, and Johnny Spicer, former board member.
“We appreciate it,” said Quillen. “They have raised the bar high.”
The district, which met its goal in the second year of the Unbridled Learning school assessment, has been labeled as a high progress district, ranking at the 67th percentile, up from last year’s district ranking of the 15th percentile.
Nine of 11 schools in the Letcher school district improved scores from the previous year. Arlie Boggs, Cowan, Letcher and West Whitesburg elementary schools; Arlie Boggs, Fleming-Neon, Letcher and Whitesburg middle schools; and Letcher County Central High School all had higher scores compared to last year’s scores. Arlie Boggs Middle School, Fleming-Neon Middle School, Whitesburg Middle School and Letcher County Central High School have reached proficiency. Arlie Boggs Middle School, Letcher Elementary School, West Whitesburg Elementary School and Letcher County Central High School have been labeled “high progress” schools because of the large increase of scores from the previous year.
“Our teachers are very excited about our test scores,” said Regina Brown, president of the Letcher County Teachers’ Organization and district director of special education. “I think they have dug in and they have worked very hard. Instructional aids, cooks and everybody have tried to assist in helping bring our test scores up.”
Brown thanked Supt. Tony Sergent for sending thank you letters to staff members.
“Mr. Sergent, we appreciate your support of our staff,” she said.
Harry Collins, a teacher at Arlie Boggs Elementary School, said he was taken aback by Sergent’s letter.
“I read that and it was in his handwriting and it said Arlie Boggs Elementary,” said Collins. “I have been teaching a long time and I have never gotten anything like this in my teaching career. I’d like to say as a teacher in Letcher County I really appreciate it, Mr. Sergent.”
Collins said that from now until mid- December, Kentucky teachers and classified employees are asking state legislators to reinvest in education.
“We are producing the greatest product in the state of Kentucky,” said Collins. “We are producing future minds. It is raise your hand for education time.”
Collins said students, school employees and board members are encouraged to write letters to legislators encouraging them to provide more funding to public education.
“We’re trying to send a message to them,” he said. “We’re a pretty good group and I think they know that. We are trying to lobby for our children.”
Quillen suggested the board draft a letter to legislators.
In other business, Supt. Sergent said Blair Construction has 60 contractual days to complete the re-roofing project at Letcher Middle School.
Architect Bill Richardson said Randy Blair and his employees should complete the project within the time limit, Sergent said.
As of Sept. 27, district enrollment totaled 3,215. It was 3,228 on Sept. 27, 2012. The district student attendance percentage for the second month of the 2013-2014 school year is 93.4 percent. This time last year it was 94.19 percent.
The board also:
• approved the appointments of the following people to the emergency school closing committee: Supt. Tony Sergent, Kenneth Cornett, Twyla Messer, Frances Sexton, Randy Bailey, Gerald Smith, Arlie Lee, Timothy Coleman, Gary Pridemore, Brian Johnson and Edna Cornett.
• accepted an offer of assistance in the amount of $28,714 from the School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC). To be eligible for the assistance, the school board is required to match local funds.
• approved Arlie Boggs Elementary School’s request to hold a fall festival on Nov. 1. The board also approved requests by West Whitesburg Elementary School students to sell school tumblers and Whitesburg Middle School students to sell cookie dough as fundraising activities.
• entered into a 60-month lease agreement with Xerox for a copier at Fleming- Neon Middle School. Cost is $412.51 a month.
• agreed to contribute $717.85 to the Council for Better Education for a funding adequacy study.
• learned of the terminations of Peggy Cook, school secretary at Whitesburg Middle School, and Allan I. Brimmer, a bus driver at LCCHS.
• learned of the hiring of the following classified employees: Jennifer Adams, instructional assistant I at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School; Angela Cates, school secretary II at Whitesburg Middle School; Whitney Lumpkins Adams, cook/baker district wide; Lisa Collins, cook/baker at MJP; and Kristin Quillen, instructional assistant I at MJP.
The board entered executive session at 8:42 p.m. to discuss an individual employee and litigation cases involving Michelle Murphy and Mark A. Spangler.
The board came out of executive session at 9:40 p.m., after which Kiser said no action was taken.
The next board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 in the Lendell Smith Memorial Conference Room of the Letcher County Schools Bus Garage.