BY LEANN DILBECK –
The face of education is certainly changing for South Polk County as the doors of the impressive new Cossatot River High School are set to open this Thursday, August 15, in a ceremony that will begin at 5 p.m. The event will feature various dignitaries such as former State Representative and now the Executive Director of the Rural Education Association Bill Abernathy, Senator Larry Teague, Cossatot River School District Randy Sellars, and others that had not yet been confirmed as of press time.
Interim Superintendent Lyndell Martin is excited to be a part of this momentous occasion that will begin an entire new chapter in education for the families of South Polk County. “This is an ideal situation for a consolidated district. The elementary campuses remain the same but now the 7th through 12th grade students are merging into a larger system that will afford them tremendous more opportunities than their rural districts had before,” he commented.
Martin explained that it is crucial for students ages 12 and 13 to have opportunities to identify what they are good at and interested in. “We’ll be able to provide a better equipped agri program plus we’ve added soccer, track, golf…and they’re in the process of getting a tennis program together. This will be the second year for a band program, not to mention, all of the advanced course offerings that will better prepare our students for college and life after graduation.”
Martin explained that with this world-wide economy we function in today, education has become incredibly competitive. “Business demands so much more from education and we’re well equipped to prepare these students with our workplace readiness curriculum.”
For college bound students, there is an increased focus to graduate students that don’t require remedial courses and also produce students that are better able to compete for college scholarships to help off-set the ever rising cost of post-secondary education.
While Martin recognizes the situation as “ideal,” he also recognizes that this merge comes with big change, especially logistically. He explained that the new high school and the Wickes Campus will be transfer points for bussed children. “We know that when you have this much change, you are going to encounter some issues but we anticipate those and are prepared for them.”
He and the rest of the staff are excited to showcase this mammoth new facility that spans over 2.25 acres, all under one roof, to the community on Thursday and hope, particularly, that all parents and students attending will take advantage of touring the new building. The ribbon cutting will follow the speakers and officials estimate will be held at 5:30 p.m. to be followed by the Open House, “This will be a great time without any time pressure to tour and look around and really give these students an opportunity to get their bearings before the first day of classes.”