Leader Blues

Thursday, August 17, 2006

TOP STORY >> New high school opening Monday

Leader staff writer

Although tragedy struck Cabot Junior High North last week, there is good news for the school district.

It’s like Christmas in August for teachers such as Peggy Medlin, an 11th grade English teacher moving into the new 170,000- square-foot Cabot High School building.

Medlin was one of many instructors who had been teaching in 25 temporary trailers scattered across the 45-acre campus.
“It’s like heaven. It’s so clean and bright,” Medlin said, preparing her classroom Wednesday. Her classroom is on the north side of the building, facing Hwy. 38.

In another classroom, Kath-erine Tripp, a world history teacher, stapled robin’s egg blue paper to the bulletin board, a colorful foundation for displaying hieroglyphic charts and world maps.

Like the other 102 classrooms in the $13.9 million building, Tripp’s has a 32-inch television, a new computer, locking wardrobe, bookshelves, teacher’s desk, computer desk as well as a 14- foot dryerase marker board and two bulletin boards.

Designed by Steve Elliot, a Cabot graduate, the two-story, V-shaped building is arranged to support the district’s six career academies of agriculture, science and mechanics; business, finance and information technology; construction, engineering and automotive technology; health and human services; education, law and public service, and fine arts, journalism and communications.

There is modern technology throughout including a journalism lab, four computer labs, a professional-development center with seating 160 and more than 56 security cameras monitoring the entire building.

Dwight Daugherty teaches physics and advanced placement chemistry in one of the 12 new science labs. Daugherty has ten laptop computers for his students to use and the TurningPoint Student Response system.

Using the PowerPoint computer software, teachers can display questions, surveys, opinion polls and games that allow every student in the class to select a response via their wireless ResponseCard keypads or clickers.

The clickers are about the size of a small calculator. The data is immediately transmitted to the presentation. This will allow Daugherty to assess student learning, prompt student discussions, even award participation points or deliver quizzes and tests.

“UCA (the University of Central Arkansas) uses TurningPoint in a lot of their classes. There will be few colleges in the state that match us,” Daugherty said.

While many teachers were getting their classrooms situated this week, workers were busy with spot painting touch-ups and furniture moving.

“We’re excited for the kids to see it. For the first time in a long time, 96 percent of our classes are in one building,” said Tony Thurman, principal at Cabot High School.

Thurman and three assistant principals will move into their offices on Thursday.

The district’s 1,800 high school students will get a chance to tour the new building and find their classes Friday. Covered outside walkways on both floors of the building will help students get to and from classes even in inclement weather, without crowding the interior hallway.

A public open house date to let the community tour the building has not been set yet.

“I think students are going to feel differently about coming to school,” said Tammy Tucker, assistant principal.