SIKESTON - Sikeston Public Schools continuously strives to see that its students have the best education possible. And hiring the best of teachers is one way of making it happen.
Tuesday afternoon the Board of Education hired more teachers to fill needed positions.
Kate Biller will be at what has been known for years as Bailey School, located on Moore Street, where she will teach the alternative program at the elementary level.
Marnii Peel will be another new face at the elementary level where she will teach in the mental retardation program.
Also at the elementary level, Tim Young was hired as an elementary physical education teacher.
The new school year will bring with it Terry Flannigan as a physical education and health teacher at Middle School and in secondary education Barbara Shriver will teach the linguistics class at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.
Educators expressed their satisfaction at the meeting with this year's summer school program. A total of 878 students attended at three different locations under the instruction of an estimated 70 teachers.
"It is quite an undertaking," noted Dr. Paul Kitchen, assistant superintendent. "We operate one of the largest summer schools in the area and it is no small task. We also provide in our summer school free breakfast and lunch to all of our students and that's always a very popular item and transportation back and forth.
"Over 30 percent of our student body is involved in summer school. I might point out that doesn't necessarily mean they can be counted as summer school participants but they are involved one way or another in the program."
Kitchen pointed out this was the first year an intensive reading instruction was incorporated into the summer curriculum. The idea was to take elementary students doing poorly in reading and put them into specific classes.
"We feel like that worked very well," he said. "We're also trying to get our class sizes as reasonable as possible. Keep in mind that one of the big difficulties with summer school is the fact that it changes so fast. We might think we have a certain number of students who will be attending and come the first day of school but we may or may not have that. And we may think we have a class that's going to make but then it doesn't make the second day."
Next summer, Kitchen said the R-6 District is looking into having more enrichment programs, especially for the elementary students so those students are not necessarily tied in to what is considered the basic elementary program.
"One of the big challenges we have with summer school is keeping student motivation levels up and we're hoping that some of these things that we've talked about will help that. But one big thing about summer school is that it has stayed very popular with parents."
Also brought up was orientation for new teachers which is set for Aug. 6-7. The back-to-school orientation for teachers will be Aug. 13-14.
Students attending Sikeston Public Schools will start class on Aug. 15.