Teacher recruits backtrack on SHS jobs

BY CHAD HUNTER
Reporter
07/29/2019 04:30 PM
TAHLEQUAH – As the upcoming academic year approaches, Sequoyah High School officials are searching for band, math and robotics instructors to replace new hires who backed out, Superintendent Leroy Qualls said.

“We’ve had some teacher openings, and (Principal Jolyn Choate) just informed me we had some people back out on us that we thought we had,” Qualls told Tribal Councilors during the July 15 Education Committee meeting. “So we’re faced with the dilemma of advertising one more time and then biting the bullet after that, probably when school starts.”

Qualls said a difference in retirement systems potentially played a part in the loss.

“I speculate teacher retirement having a different system than we have, and there’s a reluctance to switch over,” he said. “That’s understandable with career teachers. We’ve got an attractive school. It’s just with career decisions like that, it’s hard to lure people to come in and to teach for us.”

Teachers report back to school Aug. 5, followed by students on Aug. 7. Qualls said this year’s enrollment of approximately 385 students includes 102 freshmen.

ACT scores

Choate told the committee that ACT scores have seen “increases and gains” between 2005 and 2018.

“The average (in 2005) was a 15,” she said. “The reason why I think that is interesting is because our composite score for 2018 was a 19.1.”

She added that in 2005, in general, only students who planned on attending college took the ACT.

“Now, everyone is taking the ACT,” she said. “We’re just two-tenths of a point behind the state average of 19.3. We’re a little bit further behind as far as the nation is concerned. The nation average is 20.8. So we have some things to strive for. I have no doubt we’ll beat the state and hopefully we’ll get up there closer as far as the nation’s average is concerned.”

New assistant coach

Qualls announced that Jeff Turtle has been named the new assistant girls’ basketball coach.

“(Turtle) came over from the boys’ side,” Qualls said. “Now, as of today, we’re going to advertise for an assistant boys’ and assistant baseball, which we need to get filled.”

GED graduation

Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley reported that the graduation for GED students on Sept. 19 will take place at the ballroom inside the new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, rather than at Northeastern State University as in the past.
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