Batesville School District discuss planned changes for junior and senior highs

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BHS David Campbell speaking at BSD town hall meet.

The Batesville School District (BSD) held another town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss their proposed strategic plan with an audience of parents, teachers, and administrators. The meeting, held at the Batesville Community Center, focused on changes for the junior and senior highs within the plan.

One major change presented was the plan to move sixth graders to the junior high so that grades 6-8 will be in that building. The sixth-grade teachers will be given the opportunity to move up with the students as well, but some noted teachers may want to stay in the elementary level depending on their certification.

Although BSD athletic director Dave King noted sixth-grade football would not be an organized effort on the district’s part because students at that age are offered Kiwanis League play,the plan also calls for an increase in sixth-grade offerings and opportunities.

The AD did state that offseason opportunities would be available to those who wanted to work out and that basketball would be offered as an extracurricular activity.

Other extracurricular options offered include band and choir.

BSD band director Joshua Poff said he was excited that this was a possibility because when it comes to working with the students on learning instruments, “…the younger we start them playing, the better they and our programs will be,” he noted.

With the move of the sixth graders to the junior high, the plan requires a move of the ninth grade class from the junior high to the high school building, adding approximately 250 students into that space.

David Campbell, principal of Batesville High School (BHS), said that he is excited about these students coming into his building and is looking forward to facing some of the challenges this addition will bring.

“What we’re going to do is get real creative and we’re going to create a ‘Freshman Hall,’” said Campbell. “So, those ninth graders will be centralized in our building. They’ll be close to our office, to the counseling offices, to the main offices, to everything that they need, and all of their core instruction will be in one wing.”

Since the junior and senior highs share a cafeteria, Campbell noted he was looking at two options for the added influx, including opening the campus lunch for juniors.

“Currently our seniors have open campus and they’re very responsible, and so we thought we would give that option to our juniors. We might tie it to things like GPA, attendance, tardies — things like that. We feel like juniors are mature enough to handle that, and if we did that, that would open up enough space for those 250 ninth graders.”

The other option would be to have two lunches, yet Campbell noted that might put a strain on our food services department.

“It’s doable,” he said, “but obviously the administration right now prefers option one — which is open campus for juniors.”

The Batesville School Board could make a decision on the strategic plan as early as next Tuesday.

Parents and concerned citizens are encouraged to go online to the district website at batesvilleschools.org and click on the FAQ or frequently asked questions tab, for more information.

Reported by Randy Seale

Listen for this and other local news on Ozark Newsline, every weekday on Arkansas 103.3, 93 KZLE and other W.R.D. Entertainment radio stations.

Image of BHS Principal David Campbell by Randy Seale.

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