MONTE VISTA— Sargent schools now have two full-time armed security guards on staff. The guards alternate every two days so there is always one guard on during schooltime, reported the Sargent School Board in a recent meeting.
“The guards have already been through a fire drill and threat assessments,” said Superintendent Greg Slover, “and the students have reported that they feel safer and more comfortable.”
Also new this year at Sargent schools is the Yondr cell phone lock-up program, which are basically locking soft bags for mobile phones to prevent use during school. Though students and a few parents initially complained about the program, the board reported that everyone is adjusting to the change. Several students have had to pay to replace their Yondr bags due to damage or loss, but teachers and faculty agree that students have been more focused during class time. Some students have even admitted to the positive impact of not having their cell phones as a distraction.
The Missoula Children’s Theater visited the Sargent Elementary School again this year, producing the musical Peter and Wendy. The theater group is a non-profit organization that travels around the country to bring the performing arts to schools. Sargent’s PTO sponsored the theater’s visit and student performance. The group held auditions on Monday, Sept. 17 and by Thursday, Sept. 20 students were performing the parts of Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and all the other mythical characters from the story of Neverland. A repeat performance was held in the school’s auditorium at 6:30 p.m. for more than 100 family and friends of the performing students.
Sargent Elementary School Principal Joni Hemmerling announced the school is looking for volunteer instructors to help with the youth swim-learning program. The school currently has teachers helping with the program but could use additional support from volunteers. Hemmerling also announced she will be working on a grant for funding to rubberize the school’s track and playground areas. The track is in pretty bad shape, she said, and a rubberized track would encourage track meets to be scheduled at the school. If the grant is awarded, track meets could start as early as the 2019-20 school year. One stipulation of grant funding is that the playground and track would also be open for community use.
Slover reported to the board that in a recent meeting with students, the students expressed interest in more college credit courses offered through the school. Sargent has a relationship with Trinidad State Junior College to provide basic study courses and some electives for junior and senior students. “The kids want more options in our college-credit curriculum,” said Slover. For example, the latest courses in technology, science and health careers have been discussed. Sophomore and freshman students asked if they, too, could have access to college-credit courses. The board agreed, however, that the pressure of these advanced online courses would likely be too great for younger students fresh out of middle school. They decided for the moment to keep the program open to only juniors and seniors.
The board reported that PSAT tests for ninth to 11th graders will be held on Oct. 10. Colorado students began taking the PSAT just a couple of years ago as a way of helping instructors assess student knowledge, prepare for SATs and have more scholarship opportunities.
In other board news, the school district continues to work on implementing a recycling program. And the new marquee outside the elementary school, purchased just last year, broke down. The marquee was paid for with PTO-raised funds and matching monies from the district. The problem is something with updating the software, reported the board. Both the fix cost and source for repair funds are yet to be determined.