The Tahlequah School Board of Education met on Feb. 21 and discussed the addition of playground equipment for children with special needs.
The board approved a bid from the Happy Playgrounds company to install playground equipment and artificial turf for children with special needs at Sequoyah Pre-K and Greenwood Elementary. Jones said Cherokee Elementary, Heritage Elementary and Tahlequah High School all have playgrounds/areas that cater to students with special needs.
“Most of Sequoyah’s playground is asphalt, and always has been,” said Jones. “My husband went to grade school 40 years ago and everyone had a ‘Sequoyah scar’. It was kind of because you just broke your knees when you fell on asphalt, so [it’s going to be great] have an area that would have some grass and a small fenced in area with play equipment suitable for children of all shapes and sizes.”
Numerous bids were approved, including those for the 2023-’24 student photos and yearbooks, three 77-passenger buses and repairs to damage caused by water pipe breaks at THS in December 2022 – the replacement of the tile in room 222 and that of the coach office shower . The board also approved contracts for the 2023-’24 TPS yearbooks.
During the Superintendent’s Report, TPS Superintendent Tanya Jones discussed the Eighth Annual Hall of Fame Banquet, which took place on February 4 and sold 496 tickets. Jones said there are now 54 athletes and coaches in the Hall of Fame, which allows the community to see what TPS does for their students.
“It was never meant to be a fundraiser,” Jones said. “We really don’t make any money on this. Almost little to no money is made on that event, but what it does is bring athletes of the past and athletes of the present and the future to a place that builds a community that we had not before [Athletic Director Matt Cloud] started this whole thing.”
The board also accepted that SWISSuite should be used as learning discipline tracking software for the 2022-’23 school year.
“If we can look at it from an administrative standpoint, if we have kids who are referred all the time and we say, ‘Oh, it’s in the hallway at lunchtime,’ then we know as adults that we do a better job managing those areas. so it gives us some metrics to go along with behavioral choices so we can help kids make better choices,” Jones said.
The board approved an initial design and layout for Apptegy’s new TPS website for the remainder of the current school year. Jones said the district will most likely start using the new system on July 1, which will integrate the website and Messenger app into one.
The board accepted several school trips around the district, an increase caused by schools being unable to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can send quite a few people to professional development out of state, which is really cool to go to something big and a national conference,” Jones said. “You just get ideas and things that you normally wouldn’t.”
The board has approved several transfers and hires, as well as some layoffs, including Greenwood Elementary paraprofessional substitute Emily Shultz, TMS special care paraprofessional McKenzie Erickson, and THS English teacher Clarissa Peters.
All reassignment recommendations from the school’s principals, principals, assistant principals and specialists were approved, along with all retirement applications, including that of THS assistant principal Timothy Foley.
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The Tahlequah School Board of Education will meet on March 21 at 6:00 PM in the Board of Education Conference Room.