Priorities set at HSSD Joint Venture Day

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Following the Huntingdon Special School District Board meeting Thursday, board members heard brief presentations by primary school principal Christy Carey, middle school principal Scott Carter and high school principal Jonathan Kee before touring each of the schools as a part of Joint Venture Day.

After the tours which took a larger portion of the morning and lunch, Director of Schools Pat Dillahunty met with board members Lee Carter, Tim Tucker, Vicki Williams, Shawna Smith, Morgan Butler and Brittany Foster to discuss a list of priorities for the schools.

A possible upgrade of the high school baseball press box and concession stand  a high school roof and cafeteria were top priority items. At the primary school, additional classrooms were mentioned. At the middle school, the newest of the three schools, a special outside area near the special education students’s room would allow more activities for the students.

SPECIAL ATTENTION – Huntingdon High School principal Jonathan Kee interacts with students in Rhonda Pritchard’s room as Pritchard stands nearby at Huntingdon Middle School on Joint Venture Day.

Each year the principals and school board members designate a day to visit the three schools in the district to add improvements and set future goals.

Kee said this had indeed been a different year because of the virus pandemic.

Temperature checks were taken as students arrived for school. Breakfasts and lunches looked different. Athletics, transportation, learning means and school visitation all changed.

However, he said here were several positives that came along the way. 

Students ate lunch in the classroom with teachers that improved relationships between the two. Student behavior also much improved.

“It caused us to have to think outside the box,” he said. “It caused technology utilization and flexibility in delivery of instruction.”

Kee said there was a goal of the high school reaching an ACT composite of 21 and that a score of 20.8 has been attained.

During the tour of the high school, he said a new cafeteria, a new roof and a baseball press box are some of the needs at the school.

Kee announced there would be a couple of camps for students this summer.

A summer learning camp for grades 1 – 5 will be held for four days a week for four weeks. A learning loss bridge camp will be held for students in grades 6 – 8.

Porsche McClerking, who will become the principal of the high school July 1, said he had a vision of the high school becoming a place where generational change can happen.

AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL – Huntingdon Middle School principal Scott Carter talks to school board members about a special outside area he wants fixed for special education students at Joint Venture Day.

 Carter said teachers have been phenomenal and done a great job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He said a special education awning is needed and practice goals for the gym would be appreciated. The school is starting up the newly approved soccer program.

Teachers worked extra at night to keep up with the students’ progress, he said.

 Carey said the teachers there have worked really hard.

 Presently, the school is participating in a program called “Rock Your School” with the theme being animals. The school is decorated throughout with posters, etc. Some of the classes have even had live animal visits.

She said a new cafeteria at the school is needed and additional classrooms in the pre-k and kindergarten area. A new sign and awning outside is needed for the pre-k and kindergarten.

School board members visited the kindergarten classes where students were busy reciting word sounds and also the gym where students were involved in what was termed the yoga.

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