Athletic director Neil Brackett spoke to the McDowell County Board of Education Monday night about how the community and school have embraced the new athletic facility at the high school.
“It’s been a scheduling nightmare, but the area is being utilized all the time,” said Brackett. “What you have done to the stadium is absolutely impressive, and when people come to see it, they absolutely love it.”
Brackett shared statistics from the athletics department. MHS supports 29 athletic teams, 14 men’s and 15 women’s. There was a total of 523 team members last year, 33 of those kids played multiple sports.
“For the third year in a row, our valedictorian was an athlete,” he said. “We are really proud of our athletes. We try to do all that we can to keep them involved.”
The average GPA for athletes last year was 3.3, down some from 3.5. There was 100 percent graduation rate, with 12 athletes being signed to play post high school.
Brackett continued with injury statistics from 2015 and 2016. In 2015, there were 69 injuries, compared to 90 last year.
“Sprains and concussions were our top two injuries. There were 25 sprains and 12 concussions in (2015); and 23 sprains and 16 concussions in (2016),” he said.
Fortunately, MHS athletes have the opportunity to be treated on campus with rehab and therapy for their injuries.
“Between 2016-2017, we had 1,096 people looked at during school hours and it has saved our kids from having to go to a doctor,” said Brackett. “Almost one-third of our student body are athletes.”
School board member Terry English said he would like to see participation numbers for the middle school, and what short- or long-term needs are present. Board member Amy Moomaw suggested putting the field schedule online for folks to view.
“That’s something I’m trying to work on, but if they need to ask, they can call me,” said Brackett.
In other business:
• Superintendent Mark Garrett gave his administrative reports.
• The curriculum feature was presented by sister schools within the district. One pair of sister schools are Glenwood and West Marion. Principals Amy Dowdle and Nakia Carson said their faculty is working together to build off of each other’s strengths by meeting once a month and planning curriculum together. Instructional walk-throughs are being performed, among other things. Foothills Community School and McDowell Early College are also sister schools considering their uniqueness, being located on other campuses and non-traditional learning. Early College students are working to tutor and mentor FCS students. Nebo Elementary and Marion Elementary said their collaboration involves professional development training and meeting on a regular basis. They plan to have a joint staff holiday celebration. Other partnerships include Old Fort and P.G., East McDowell and West McDowell and North Cove and Eastfield.
• Garrett updated the board on the Old Fort project. A work session was held on Monday, Oct. 30 with board members and the architect to allow the members to tour the facility and ask questions. Chuck Hamrick is beginning the preliminary drawings based on their conversation. On Friday, Nov. 3, there was a joint meeting with the county commissioners to update them on the project. The commissioners showed their continuous support to move forward in whatever timeline is feasible to get it done, Garrett said.
• Garrett stated the schools did not receive one of the grants they applied to help fund the Old Fort project. The next grant announcement will be in July 2018.
• Nebo principal Desarae Kirkpatrick presented the board with school improvement plan that has to be displayed on the school’s website for 30 days before being submitted to the state for review. “We have spent many hours collaborating and reflecting on Nebo Elementary as a whole,” she said.
• Teacher of the Year Benjamin Moore gave a report on teenage sleep and school performance.
• Lesly Sanchez was recognized for being second runner-up in the state child nutrition logo contest.