By Emily Younker
Four local school districts will use this week to emphasize to students that graduation matters.
The campaign by the Joplin, Webb City, Carthage and Carl Junction districts targets all students, said Webb City Superintendent Ron Lankford.
“Something we’re really trying to embed is the idea that just as kids are ready to start school at age 5 ... (we’re) all sharing the same expectation that just as we start school, we need to stay in school,” he said.
Public service announcements created by the districts, featuring students who dropped out and later returned to school, are scheduled to air soon.
Joplin schools are displaying pro-graduation signs at classroom doors, sponsoring writing and poster contests, or creating slide show presentations for students. McKinley Elementary School invited its teachers Monday to dress in graduation caps and gowns. Today, they’ll wear their college sweatshirts, and more events are planned later in the week.
The Joplin district has put a renewed focus on its graduation rate, which in the spring was 75.7 percent, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. District officials have listed improving the graduation rate as a major part of the strategic plan.
The Carl Junction School District has planned morning announcements for all students on the importance of graduating, said Tracie Skaggs, public relations director.
Georgiana McGriff, Carl Junction High School principal, said other initiatives that are focused on graduation rates include bulletin boards that highlight reasons why students should stay in school and a mentoring program that targets at-risk freshmen.
Several local banks will provide customers this week with printed messages related to high-school dropouts, such as income disparities and unemployment statistics.
Graduation and dropout rates have garnered much attention recently across the state, which adopted the slogan “Graduation matters in Missouri” in April after a dropout-prevention summit put on by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Joplin, Webb City, Carthage and Carl Junction districts participated in the summit and soon formed an alliance aimed at improving graduation rates. Their efforts resulted in the current campaign, which coincides with the National Education Association’s 88th annual American Education Week.
By Emily Younker
- Carthage, Jasper County
Carthage attorney, reformer of revenue department, dies
James R. Spradling, a Carthage attorney who was noted for his reform of the Missouri Department of Revenue in the 1970s, died at 5:50 a.m. Monday at McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital.
Suspect held on gun and immigration charges
A 25-year-old man is being held on weapon charges after allegedly threatening another Carthage resident with a handgun.
Suspect in custody in robbery of restaurant customer
A 20-year-old suspect is in custody at the Jasper County Jail in connection with the robbery of a customer Friday morning at the Sonic Drive-In restaurant in Carthage.
Jasper schools locked down after liquor store robbery
Schools in the Jasper R-5 School District were locked down Tuesday at the request of the Jasper County Sheriff's Department in response to a robbery in Jasper.
Jo Ellis: Cool off with free summer concert in Carthage
The Carthage Council on the Arts is offering a concert in Central Park by the Route 66 Swing Band on Saturday, July 20. Made up of area musicians, the band will start playing at 7 p.m.
Arrests at Carthage motel linked to car dealership burglaries
Authorities believe they have solved a series of break-ins at car dealerships in Southwest Missouri and other burglaries with the arrest of a man and woman at a Carthage motel.
Special session set for contract work moving sheriff's office
The Jasper County Commission will meet in special session Wednesday to award a contract for financing work in order to remodel part of a county-owned building as the new headquarters for the Jasper County Sheriff's office.
Steadley trust planning session attracts 40-plus Carthage leaders
Carthage officials and representatives of organizations in the community gathered Friday to start a process aimed at identifying future needs that can be addressed by funding from the Steadley Memorial Trust. Discussions were led by Ralph Ochsner, a Kansas City-based consultant hired by Steadley directors to oversee the effort.
Bondswoman charged with false imprisonment
A bail bondswoman from Carthage is facing a charge of false imprisonment for allegedly attempting to put a man in jail without a judge’s order, then taking him home and handcuffing him to the banister of a staircase until a friend of the man paid her his bond money.
Man’s last statement to be given to defendant
A judge ruled Monday that the Jasper County prosecutor must provide attorneys for Darren J. Winans with a videotaped statement co-defendant Matthew D. Laurin made about the Sheldon murders shortly before killing himself.
- More Carthage, Jasper County Headlines
- Carthage attorney, reformer of revenue department, dies