The Blair Oaks R-2 School District is aiming to upgrade its athletic scoreboards and to have its eighth-grade students score higher in math.
The agreement the Board of Education approved Tuesday night with South Dakota-based Daktronics does not commit the district to a specific scoreboard purchase, but similar to Jefferson City Public Schools' recent agreement with the company, the ultimate sizes and features of the equipment would be determined solely by what money can be raised through selling sponsorship agreements.
Blair Oaks Superintendent Jim Jones said the scoreboard would cost "zero money from the district" and would not involve any potential bond issue money. A bond issue question of whether to authorize payment for the construction of the first phase of a new high school will be among the questions voters in the district see on the April election ballot.
The agreement with Daktronics approved Tuesday will have the company develop the marketing plan to sell advertising sponsorships to pay for scoreboards. Jones said he's not certain at this point how long those sponsorship contracts would be for, but he said they would encompass all the district's athletic facilities.
Jones said the district is looking to upgrade its baseball/softball, football/track and high school gym scoreboards to be fully digital, though the sizes would probably be similar to what they are now. He said the new equipment would hopefully be in place for the fall. The board would have to vote on any purchases before going forward.
Another thing district leaders hope to improve next year is eighth-grade students' math scores on state assessments.
The board saw elementary, middle and high school assessment data from the latest set of state data released earlier this month to reflect the 2017-18 school year.
Overall, Blair Oaks' students perform well in all subjects assessed, including its eighth-graders who take Algebra 1. Of those students who took the more advanced math class, 97.2 percent scored as having advanced or proficient skill levels in Algebra 1, compared to 46.7 percent across the state.
However, of the eighth-grade students who did not take Algebra 1 and took the standard eighth-grade-level state math assessment, only 11.9 percent scored as advanced or proficient last year, compared to 29.7 percent across the state. Blair Oaks' score on that assessment is also significantly lower than other area school districts' such as Eldon, California, School of the Osage and Linn.
Jones said it's important to note not all eighth-graders are represented in the 11.9 percent tally. He said the district could boost its score by having all its eighth-graders take the standard eighth grade end of course state assessment, regardless of whether any of those students have taken the higher level of math available to them. However, Blair Oaks is not going to do that and will continue to assess students based on what curriculum level they're at, he said.
As other comparisons from last year, 61.1 percent of the district's high school students who took the state's Algebra 1 assessment scored as advanced or proficient, compared to 46.7 across the state; high school Algebra 2, 76 percent advanced or proficient, compared to 47.8 percent across the state; seventh-grade math, 51.1 percent, compared to 37.9 percent across the state; sixth-grade math, 73.9 percent, compared to 41.1 percent across the state; and fifth-grade math, 57.3 percent, compared to 41 percent across the state.