SIKESTON - In a continuing effort to help older
students having trouble with speech and language, the
Sikeston Board of Education approved a linguistics
class as part of vocational resource education.
Andy Comstock of the Sikeston Career and Technology
Center, explained the idea came from a faculty meeting
at the beginning of the year when teachers were trying
to identify ways of improving academic testing. The
staff agreed that student reading skills were a major
He described the proposal as a two-pronged approach.
"We've been attending the Readership Academy and we've
been learning reading skills strategies that we're
going to use along with our district-wide goals of
increasing reading skills at all levels. We feel that
having remediation with our step one students and
implementing reading strategies throughout the
curriculum will also help those students score better
on the ACT and hopefully be life-long learners," said
"We would identify those step one students at the
eighth grade level," added Laura Hendley, director of
the SCTC. "Looking at what some of their scores are,
we would also be talking to some of their teachers for
them to make recommendations of students who might
possibly be having some reading difficulties."
With parental approval, the student's approval and
individualized counseling, the student would be placed
in a class to help them increase their reading skills,
she said. Students also would be tested before and
after being placed in the class to determine if any
improvement can be seen throughout the semester.
"And we would ask that you approve credit for this
class, credit for them to possibly make up an English
credit if they are currently failing first semester or
if they've already failed at the ninth grade level
with their English classes or that they be allowed to
use this as an elective credit toward graduation," she
said to the board members.
The second half of the program would be to help
students who were already juniors and seniors in
vocational programs with difficulties they may have.
"As amazing as is may sound, there are hardly any of
the vocational programs that lend themselves to
success for an individual who is a poor reader or that
can't read," noted Hendley. "In auto mechanics, in
today's society, if you can't utilize the computer and
you can't read probably at a 10th or an 11-grade-level
you're not going to be successful because you can't
read the highly technical books and manuals for each
of the different automobiles.
"So, we hope to do a similar program with students in
the vocational area and bring them in in small groups
for 30-45 minutes possibly once a week to try to help
them improve their reading skills. We've talked with
individuals who've participated in similar programs
and sometimes it's amazing the amount of progress
students can make in a short amount of time with some
The board also approved a resolution to relocate
Sikeston Public Schools' nursing program from the
former Sikeston Area Higher Education Center on South
Kingshighway to the grounds of Missouri Delta Medical
"The hospital is building a dialysis center on their
grounds and as result of a long-term relationship with
them they have made available to us a portion of the
second floor," said Steve Borgsmiller, superintendent
of schools. "This would give us an opportunity, if the
board would approve the resolution, to enter into a
long-term lease with the hospital. Also part of this
would be the school board taking a shell of the
structure, which must be approved by the State Nursing
Program as well.
"I've been in touch with Charlie Ancel and if there
was ever a win-win situation for our program and also
for the hospital, this would be an opportunity to
further that relationship for a long long time."