Poteau Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Don Sjoberg was a very happy camper at the Poteau Public Schools School Board meeting Monday night at the Bert Corr Administration Building.
The first thing that pleased Sjoberg was when Deputy Superintendent Monty Guthrie announced that Poteau’s public school dropout rate is 1.9 percent, while Oklahoma State’s is 2. 4%.
Another thing Guthrie shared with the board is that with respect to average cumulative test score comparisons with Poteau Public Schools, all LeFlore County school districts, and the state, Poteau Public Schools have higher numbers than the other two.
Guthrie showed Poteau Public Schools are in the range of 30% advanced/proficient test scores, 69% basic and above, and 32% below basic for this school year.
LeFlore County is within 16% of advanced/proficient test scores, 55% in basic and above, and 44% below basic for this school year, while the state’s numbers are respectively 24, 60 and 40% for this school year.
Guthrie also shared information regarding the remediation rate, in which he compared “learning losses” over the past three years for Poteau Public Schools, the county as a whole, and the state. Poteau’s “learning loss” was 2% over the past three years, while the county’s cumulative “learning loss” was 12% and the state was 10%.
“We don’t adjust our curriculum or our teaching to compete with other schools, but it’s certainly satisfying to see that our staff members’ dedication to effective teaching is paying off,” Sjoberg said. “The most recent example of our commitment to academics is the adoption of our 175-day school calendar. We are able to pay our teachers for the extra days they work beyond what other districts have in their school calendars.Having kids in school more days sends a message to Poteau parents, even families and businesses looking to relocate to southeast Oklahoma, that Poteau is committed to the excellence in education.”
A fourth thing that pleased Sjoberg, which he mentioned in his superintendent’s report Monday night, is that the district received two “complimentary” audit reports on its infant nutrition program and its child nutrition program. alternative education.
“The Alternative Education Program scored 88 points out of a possible 90 on their scale of what we have to offer children,” Sjoberg said. “That explains why we have a lower dropout rate because this program is designed to intervene with children who are potential dropouts.”
Another thing Sjoberg mentioned in his report was about the Donors Choose program.
“It allows teachers to apply to an organization called Donors Choose, and teachers are allowed to request classroom materials for amounts up to $800. Several of our teachers have taken advantage of this.”
On personnel matters, the board approved the resignations of Poteau Elementary School teacher Damita Hale, goalies Edward Johnson and Ron Rogers, Poteau Pirates basketball coach Brandon Wood and PHS goalie Steve Dosier.
Sjoberg shared with the board the current transfer ability figures by class. The only grade currently where the district is at full capacity is pre-kindergarten, while kindergarten (11), first grade (11) and second grade (10) currently have the highest allocations for transfers.
The board approved that the cafeteria tables at Poteau Elementary School and Pansy Kidd Middle School as well as a former high school walk-in freezer be declared surplus.
The board approved the 2022-23 school calendar, which has been modified since the February meeting as it was developed with representatives from the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), whose district representative is Johnette Stites, and the Association of Professional Education Association – of which Post Teacher Terri Chitwood is a representative. Sjoberg also said the district has had normal discussion opportunities with the Advisory Council of Superintendents, made up of teachers and administrators.
The board approved Jenkins and Kemper CPA, PC as the school’s auditor, approved the Municipal Accounting System, Incorporated for the district’s software contract for the upcoming school year, approved the fundraising of the Poteau Upper Elementary School Kickball Tournament, approved activity fund transfers, and approved Poteau Public Schools. Chief Financial Officer Vallerie Martin as the new person added to the Community State Bank signatory list for the district as she replaces Hank Harris.
Monday night’s meeting was perhaps bittersweet for board member DeAnn Williams. Williams attended his final meeting as a board member as his successor, Dow Wilson or Phil McGehee, will be voted on April 5 and sworn in at the April 11 meeting.
“She’s leaving her constituency, so she won’t be qualified to continue as a board member,” Sjoberg said. “She served for seven years and made the needs of all students the district’s priority. She expected a strong school program while insisting that high-risk children have programs in place to help them succeed. From all of us in central office and the many district staff who uphold your ethical standards, thank you.”