SPS announces donations and confirmation of formal graduation and prom ceremonies at June BOE meeting

Sapulpa Public Schools’ June Board of Education meeting was held via video conference on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Board members and SPS administration were present in person at the administration building and via live-streaming video.

Athletic Director Michael Rose spoke about the new service agreement with Weaver Drug Testing Lab for 2020-2021 Student Activity Drug Tests. Rose stated that Weaver’s bid was cheaper than others they received and that they came highly recommended by several other local schools. He explained that the total budgeted amount for drug testing is increasing since middle school students will now be tested along with those at the junior high and high school. He said the company was “very responsive and communicative” in the discussions he had with them.

Superintendent Rob Armstrong announced several recent donations that various departments received. These included a centrifuge given to the high school science department, $5,000 to the Child Nutrition Fund from T-Mobile, $1,500 to the Activity Fund to fund senior events and recognitions from Webco, $2,000 to the nutrition fund from GenYouth to use specifically to provide district children with food during the pandemic, and $1,000 for District STEM Programs from Ardagh Group.

Armstrong then announced several “very important activities for seniors.” First, a somewhat traditional graduation ceremony will be held on Friday, June 26, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. at the football stadium. They will maintain social distancing requirements so only half of the stadium will be filled with students’ families. Prom will be held on Saturday, June 27th, also with social distancing in place. He said a “Senior Flipbook” would be available online sometime this week with details on both events.

As part of the Phase 3 Recovery Plan, summer sports have commenced with 30 student volunteers. They have daily temperature readings and other health checks to ensure they are well enough to participate. Additionally, all employees have a health check form they must fill out every morning before coming to work.

The largest part of the meeting encompassed administrators Donya Doudican and Kim Castaldi reporting some results of the surveys parents and students completed regarding optional scenarios for how school will operate next year. They had over 850 responses representing 1,450 students, which they said was a good amount of feedback. They said they will be able to give more complete data on those results soon, but for now, they were able to report how many households had access to reliable internet during the distance learning portion of the year (78 percent). They also learned which devices students used to access schoolwork, how parents preferred to receive information from teachers and administration, what positive things happened for their children during the pandemic, their major concerns with how things went, and what they needed more help with (such as technology or student engagement). Many parents struggled to oversee several different children’s schoolwork and the various kinds of technology and software used to access and complete it.

They also surveyed the teachers to see what their top concerns, top problems, and best practices were. Top concerns included students’ lack of internet connectivity, lack of student participation, and bad contact information for parents so that they were unable to adequately communicate with them.

Now, they are culling all the results and creating a strategic plan and action plans in case distance learning is required again next year. Armstrong concluded, “You do what you can do, try to make the best decisions you can on the info you have, and move forward.”

During new business, Superintendent Armstrong reported that FEMA reached out to the district about local assistance they are willing to fund. This would entail 75 percent of the expenses incurred due to COVID-19. He said they used the same assistance after the devastating storms last spring. The board approved this unanimously.

The next regular meeting of the Sapulpa Board of Education is expected to be Monday, July 13, 2020, at 6 p.m. in Room 200 of the Washington Administration Building at 511 East Lee Avenue. If the meeting cannot be held due to COVID-19, a notice will be posted on the School Board’s website and the meeting will be live-streamed on the SPS YouTube channel.