The Magnolia School Board heard reports from the principals during Monday night’s meeting.

The death of Magnolia High School senior Kendrell Jamal Harris in an August 24 automobile accident weighed heavily on the student body at MHS.

“The loss of a student sometimes causes you to hit the brakes and rethink how excited you are about our year,” High School principal Chris Carter said. “Our kids are healing. Our staff is healing. We are trying to create a sense of normalcy at the high school after the loss of Kendrell.”

He added that there are exciting things happening at the high school. New additions this year include jazz band, fundamentals of television, and music theory.

Carter said there are 971 students participating in multiple activities on campus.

“We believe if you’re involved, you’re going to be successful.”

He told the school board there are 580 students enrolled in the high school: 222 sophomores, 171 juniors, and 187 seniors.

Carter said Blue Ribbon Life, an anti-bullying campaign, will be back on campus this year.

Magnolia Junior High principal Gwen Carter said there are a total of 591 students: 202 seventh graders, 182 eighth graders, and 207 freshmen.

She told the board there are 247 students enrolled in pre-AP or accelerated classes, which is 42 percent of the student population.

This year students will have Cub Academy. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the schedule will be adjusted to include an extra 30-minute period between second and third to give students an opportunity to attend academic classes such as intervention, tutoring, study sessions, review session, reteaching sessions, or make up sessions. Students who are not attending one of these classes may choose from a variety of enrichments like clubs, free reading, archery, extra time in band, choir, agriculture or technology.

Central Elementary principal Angie Waters said enrollment for the campus is 653: 195 fourth graders, 240 fifth graders, and 218 sixth graders.

Beginner band has approximately 121 students.

The new building is nearly move-in ready. It will house in-school suspension, gifted-talented, instructional facilitators, speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, and two mental health therapists.

“The new fake grass outside has been a hit, along with the sprinklers that are going all day long.”

Jill Rader, Kindergarten Center/East Side principal said total enrollment for the four grades is 798: 192 kindergarteners, 206 first graders, 202 second graders and 194 third graders.

She said the campus will be starting “Panther Partner.” One community partner will be asked to participate each month. The first month brought Peoples Bank personnel to the campus.

“They donated things for the kids,” she said. “They’ve helped with traffic. They’ve been in the classroom to greet. They’ve read to our kids.”

Walker Pre-kindergarten principal Natasha Coleman said the total enrollment is 140.

Of those, 11 are tuition-based. She said the campus added one more class and 20 slots.

She said there are 11 students on the wait list.

Superintendent John Ward said, “Word has spread about Walker Pre-K and what a good education foundation they are receiving down there.”

Ward thanked the principals for the work they’re doing at their respective schools.

“I have long believed that education is more than just the academics that our kids receive in the classroom,” he said. “Our principals have embraced that wholeheartedly and they are providing experiences on our campuses that are going to be something that our kids are going to remember for a lifetime. They’re going to look back on their time at Magnolia Public Schools and cherish the time they spent here.”

In other board news:

- Ward recognized four members of the maintenance staff that he said “don’t get near enough recognition or appreciation shown.”

Hunter Harrell, Robert Rudd, Ricky Lee, and Keith Garish, who was not in attendance, were honored.

- The Trap Team was recognized for winning the Class B Junior Championship in Illinois. It also won the FFA squad award. Members of the team are Olivia Ferguson, Magen Bond, Cammie Neill, Landon Chandler and Kendall Cheatham.

Mike Waters said he wanted to thank the Coach Dave Graham for bringing this sport to Magnolia.

“I would think this is the fastest growing sport out there,” he said.

- Board approved the purchase of new camera systems for Central Elementary at a cost of $94,400.55 for the main building and $22,335.79 for support buildings.

- Board approved a 2019-20 operating budget with $43,767,693.36 in revenue and $44,514,485.11 in expenditures.

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