Purdy sets graduation for Mother’s Day

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Transition approved for new Latin graduation ranking

The Purdy school board adjusted its school calendar for the remainder of the year and voted to phase in the new Latin system that will halt valedictorian and salutatorian designation in three years.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor reported that since the January school board meeting, the district lost class days on Feb. 5 and 12 and had now lost so many days that one day would make up two lost days by the state formula. He recommended designating Feb. 16 and April 2 as what he hoped would be the last snow days needed, which the board approved.

A more difficult date decision came over graduation. The traditional graduation date of second Saturday in May conflicted with the sectional state meet in Camdenton, expected to affect several students. Playoffs for district baseball on May 18 and 19 in Pierce City softball held potential problems, while advance play offered a remedy for golfers. The state track meet was slated for May 19 in Jefferson City.

Facing no perfect solutions, board members opted to set graduation at 2 p.m. on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13.

With make-up days for winter stretching classes into the third week in May for all but the graduates, the start of summer school required at least a day off between sessions. Board members approved Chancellor’s recommendation to run classes from May 30 to June 27.

Derek Banwart, high school principal, provided a schedule for the proposed implementation of a Latin system for recognizing graduates in the cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude hierarchy over three years. As explained at the January meeting, the alternative system offered a way to recognize percentages of graduates, rather than class rank, positioning more students to be eligible for college scholarships.

Under the system, the 2018-2019 school year will remain as it is this year, recognizing the top 10 students and having the top two in the class speak at graduation. In the following year, the system would begin the change, though the top two students would still be acknowledged for the last time.

In the second and third years, students would apply for consideration over who would speak at graduation. Banwart said a panel would choose the best speaker. He said at his previous position in Republic, 15 of the 400 graduates would seek the speaking job, not an overwhelming number, but all would be considered if they applied. Class rankings would no longer appear on the graduate’s transcript, replaced by the Latin designation.

“If this will help our kids get to college, I’m all for that,” said Ken Terry, board member.

The board voted unanimously to make the change.

In other actions taken by the board:

• Two resignations were approved: Justin Martin, who taught band for one year for grades 6 through 12, and middle school science teacher Chelsea Crites. Both will serve through the end of the current school year.

• The board also accepted the retirement of Janet Boys, who stepped down as elementary and middle school principal last year. Boys has been working on special projects for the district this year, Chancellor said.

• To conclude the year, extra duty assignments were made for as yet undesignated coaching slots.These included naming Michael Dye and Bradley Maples to tag-team coaching fifth and sixth grade boys and girls basketball. Dye, a physical education teacher, served as assistant varsity basketball coach. Bradley, like varsity softball coach Lori Videmchek, is not a teacher for the district, but will be hired as a contracted employee for the specific assignment. He has been serving as assistant high school boys basketball coach.

Kylynn Harris, who has been serving as a substitute teacher for the district, will follow the model for Bradley and serve as junior high boys and girls track coach.

Jeremy Dresslaer, physical ed teacher and the varsity boys basketball coach, will lead the high school golf team.

• Traditionally school boards rehire administrators during the February meeting. Last year the board hired both principals, Julie Dalton and Banwart, for two years, making no action necessary.

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