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California Middle School girls soon will have another sport to choose from in the 2019-20 school year.

The Moniteau County R-1 School Board of Education on Oct. 17 approved the addition of a middle school softball program.

The addition had been discussed last year, Superintendent Dwight Sanders said.

"We talked to MSHSAA last year about a Title IX issue," Sanders said of the Missouri State High School Activities Association. "That was, to offer another sport opportunity for girls, that we would have to offer to boys as well. But this year, MSHSAA said it wasn't really an opportunity of interest, just numbers."

In the past three years, middle school girls have participated in sports 10 percent less than boys, but this study was an "unduplicated number," Sanders said.

"One student may account for more than one sport," Sanders said. "So it's not 85 girls; it's 85 times they were enrolled in a middle school sport."

With this in mind, Sanders and MSHSAA came to an agreement to garner more interest for girls to participate in the sport. This hopefully will balance those participation numbers without requiring the addition of another middle school boys sport, Sanders said.

Last year, a survey was given to current seventh- and eighth-grade girls asking about their thoughts on softball. The results read that 14 girls would participate if given the opportunity. The board discussed that this addition will start the players early to "get them more competitive." A reminder was then given that each sport offered at the middle school is also present at the secondary level, except softball.

The district intends to use its own facilities. All games and practices are expected to be played in the fields behind the high school. The board will review and discuss scheduling, finding a coach and other matters regarding the new team as time progresses.

ACT scores reported

In other news, California High School recently received its 2017-18 ACT scores.

California's composite average score was 20.1, with 88 students taking the test. The subject scores were: English, 19.5; reading, 20.4; math, 19.5; and science, 20.6.

California High School Principal Sean Kirksey said these scores were the result of the state asking that each junior and senior student take the ACT. However, this will be the last year each junior and senior student must take the test.

"Not every student has taken the higher-level sciences or prep courses," Kirksey said. "This year, the math portion of the ACT didn't go any higher than Algebra 2.

"Not every student is on the path to go to college, some are going to work after graduation, or go to (State Technical College of Missouri). The state just wants to give every student the opportunity to go to college."

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