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DB implements new classes

COAL GROVE — More time to prepare for life after high school.

That’s the idea behind a new class period for seniors at Dawson-Bryant High School this year. Dubbed the Hornet Block, the class will be 35 minutes each day.

Students will have the opportunity to search for and apply for colleges and scholarships as well as prepare for the ACT. They will also be taught financial literacy during the class.

“We hope that for kids that plan not to attend college to maybe have some mock interviews set up and a time for men and women who are interested in the military to meet with recruiters,” Superintendent Dennis DeCamp said.

The Hornet Block is not the only thing that’s new for the district this fall. The middle school gym also got a makeover with new bleachers, a scoreboard.

The previous scoreboard had been 30 or 40 years old and needed to be replaced, DeCamp said, adding that the new bleachers doubled the capacity of the gym.

“We had a huge gym but little bleacher space,” DeCamp said. Gas heaters that were hanging from the ceiling were also removed, he said.

“(It was) just some things that needed to be done,” he said. “We had some extra funds in the facilities improvement budget.”

The district has also hired Tomilynne Blankenship to serve in the new position of director of student services.

DeCamp said the addition of the position is another way the district is trying to make a connection with every student.

“I don’t want to see any of our kids fall through the cracks,” DeCamp said. “Kids are why we’re here. The sole purpose is to see that the needs of our kids our being met.”

The district will be launching a new website soon.

The site will allow parents the opportunity to view their students’ grades 24 hours a day. Parents will also have access through the website to access their students’ lunch account balance.

For parents without access to the Internet, the district hopes to designate a place in one of the schools where parents can access the website. DeCamp said he is also looking for former students of the school to set up alumni page on the website.

Dawson-Bryant High School will have a new advanced placement social studies course and a new Project Lead the Way engineering class is being implemented at the middle school.

The school district is also hoping to implement a vocal music and drama program at the middle and elementary schools this year. DeCamp said he hopes to hire a teacher at least part time for the program. Several of the parents had requested the program, he said.

“I think everybody has a desire sometime in their life to express themselves through the arts,” DeCamp said. “I just think it’s something our kids have been missing out on.”

He said the district’s main focus continues to be doing what’s best for the students and that the administration is always willing to address parents’ concerns.

“Whatever we can do to make their child successful is what we’re going to do,” DeCamp said.