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Planned junior high improvements explained

Jackson R-2 Superintendent Dr. John Link described the latest plans
to expand and improve Jackson High School at the Board of Education meeting
Sept. 11.

Since the previous month’s Board meeting, Principal Cory Crosnoe
had met with choir teachers, music teachers and the architects to see what
changes were needed.

Enrollment K-12 is up about 175 students over last year, and the
bulk of those new students are in the junior high and middle school, Link said.
Add to that number the pre-kindergarten students, and total enrollment in
Jackson R-2 is up close to 200 students. “That bubble is not going away,” Link

The following are some of the changes to the junior high expansion

A door has been added to the junior high office that is exit only.
It will allow the school resource officer and principals to exit immediately to
the parking lot if something happens in the parking lot requiring immediate attention.

The entry to the building will have a new vestibule as do other
newer school buildings. This allows office personnel to see who is entering the
building before “buzzing them” all the way into the building. Currently, once
visitors come through the front door, they are free to roam the school.

Counselors’ offices are being moved next to the main office to form
a new suite of offices. There will be three counselor offices, one office for a
social worker and an empty office for future growth. By moving the counselors
closer to the front door, visitors will no longer need to walk through the
building to get to the counselors.

The existing library will be made into special education
classrooms. The current special education classes will be freed up to use for
language arts, math and history.

Two art classrooms will be moved to allow them access to a door and
kiln room. This frees up room in the cafeteria for more seating.

An alternative classroom in the basement will be moved upstairs “to
civilization.” The old windowless room will be used  for storage.

A new media center will be built where the courtyard is now.
“That’s going to be a very big media center and it’s going to be really nice,”
Link said.

Choir will take over the entire band and choir area.

An addition on the back side of the building will hold a full-sized
band room and four smaller classrooms where different band sections can

Band is one area that especially needs additional space. The band
corridor will be built wide enough to have instrument lockers.

A new parking lot will be constructed behind the building, and will
eventually have a road going to East Lane.

The estimate for the cost of this project is $5.7 million, which is
a high estimate. The goal is to let this project go out for bid in November and
have construction begin before the end of the year.

In other action

• MCDA Honors Choirs: There
were 48 Jackson students selected to sing at the State Capitol this summer in
the Missouri Choral Directors Association Honors Choirs.

Grades 4-6 Honor Choir: Charlotte Cook, Keira Crawford, Meredith
Lawler, Owen Masters, Lucas Skidmore, Elaina Baugh, Ella Fliege, Julia
Willingham, Micaela Ship-ley, Allie Aufdenberg, Graham Gentry, Kaylie Cook,
Lily Conrad, Owen Leckie, Shandi Rogers, Katy St. John, Gavin Shinn.

Grades 7-8 Honor Choir: Alexandra Gilmore, Anna Ahrens, Ashlee
Meyer, Audry Sauer, Bryce Gentry, Clarissa Vaught, Courtney Huckabee, Eli
Clubbs, Eli Fox, Eva Carrasquillo, Kaedmon Winborne, Kya Pope, Lydia Shinn, Micah
DeLoach, Natalie Dry, Natalie Hawk, Owen Hayes, Rebekah Mansfield, Riley Ries,
Sadie Middleton, Tormey McManaman, Zoey Zyduck.

Grades 9-10 Honor Choir: Cameron Crawford, Cooper Childers, Layla
Flie-ge, Layton Lipke, Madalyn Hicks, Makenna Wessell, Peyton Lintner, Sam
Malone, and Zoe Freeman.

These students were recognized by the Board.

• Joy of Reading: Dr. Lance McClard, principal of North Elementary,
led a student slide presentation about “Sparking Joy with Reading.”

“If students love reading, that’s the best intervention there is,”
McClard said. “If  students are at home
reading or wanting to go to the library, then we know that they’re going to
continue to get better at reading, and they’re going to be lifelong learners,
and that’s going to open up doors for any opportunities that they want,”
McClard explained.

During “open library,” students can read in the library and get a
card punched. After their card has 15 punches, they earn a reward, such as
lunch with McClard.

There is a reading tower full of book choices. Members of the Mark
Twain Club read the Mark Twain  Award
nominee for that year and go to a Mark Twain party.

Other activities include taking home a book to read on the
student’s birthday, participating in Read Across America, and having guests
read aloud to students.

• New junior high electives: Junior High Principal Cory Crosnoe
said when his school had ninth-graders, a lot of their electives were set
because “they had classes they had to take.” After the ninth-graders moved to
the high school, and seventh-graders joined the eighth graders at the junior
high, that opened the door for more creative electives.

Three of the new electives are “American military history,” “Native
American studies” and “Forensics.” Presentations were given on these three

History teacher Kyle Mabuse said his military history class was
popular; it has been selected by more than 120 students. “A lot of these young
men and women are thinking about a military career,” he said.

Science teacher Joseph Spurgeon said it was difficult putting a
forensics curriculum together for junior high students. There are no curricula
or text books written for the junior high level. “You have to wait until
college to take this stuff,” he said. He took college material and brought it
down to the level of seventh and
eighth-grade students.

Another difficulty was the proper handling of the subject matter.
“How can you study some of the worst things our society can throw out [i.e.
serial murders], and approach it in a positive way?” he asked.

The class blends law, sociology, science, geometry and trigonometry
as students study crime scenes.

Other new electives cover the topics of photography and

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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