Tucker BOE hopes to pass excess levy

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By Beth Christian Broschart, Staff Writer
The Inter-Mountain

PARSONS - The Tucker County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eddie Campbell have several major goals for 2014, including trying to pass a successful excess levy, officials said this week.

Meetings have been held across the county to gather parent, student, teacher and resident input for the push to pass a levy, Campbell said.

"We hope to build an increase in college and career readiness in Tucker County schools and hope to continue to improve academic performance with higher student expectations, rigorous classroom instruction and more academic support programs and course offerings," Campbell said. "These would include additional advanced placement courses, expansion of arts programs, homework support and Common Core implementations."

Campbell said Tucker County Schools will continue to build a positive school culture, and ensure that students are learning and performing competitively with other students in the state and country.

"We hope to increase professional development opportunities for teachers to help ensure student learning," Campbell said. "We also are working to provide a smooth transition to the new online testing for students. We will continue to strive to promote creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills in its use of technology."

Campbell said Tucker County Schools will continue to dig deeper into Common Core to increase student achievement at all levels.

"I would love to see students have expanded support for personalized learning opportunities to explore areas of their greatest interests and passions," Campbell said.

Looking at accomplishments in 2013, Campbell pointed out Tucker County High School athletic programs continue to thrive and compete at the state level.

"The football team has made the state play-offs five out of the six past years," Campbell said. "Both the boys and girls basketball teams have won the region and made it to the state tournament multiple years in a row. Both basketball teams were awarded the 'sportsmanship award' at the 2013 state basketball tournaments."

Campbell said the track team has won regionals four years in a row.

"Last year, the girls track team placed third and the boys track team finished seventh in the state," Campbell said. "The teams combined for a total of 35 state medals - a new school record."

Tucker County remains competitive in its search for grants, having secured more than $300,000 over the past several years, he said.

"Grants were secured to expand science, CTE, technology and after-school recreational sports programs," Campbell said. "Funds are being used to build a state of the art greenhouse and high tunnel, further developing our Farm to School Program, expand career readiness programs in CTE courses, purchase and integrate mobile iPad labs into daily instruction and start an after-school mountain bike and ski program."

Tucker County schools rank far above average in attendance and graduation rates, Campbell said. Tucker County High School students scored above state mastery averages in 75 percent of all grade level subject areas on the 2013 WESTEST.

"The Tucker County High School Career and Technical Education Program continues to grow and improve," Campbell said. "Last year, 88 percent of TCHS students were enrolled in a CTE course. TCHS student program completers have achieved high scores on the ACT Work Keys Test and have ranked in the top 10 in the state."

Other specific improvements in Tucker County schools include new bleachers at the football field, two new school vans and a trailer, spirit buses to support student teams, and the addition of advanced placement classes including Spanish and government, Campbell said.