The Duncan Banner


January 7, 2013

Schools to focus on safety, academics

DUNCAN — Academics and student safety are among the improvements school districts throughout Stephens County are hoping to advance in 2013.

As a person might set New Year’s resolutions, area superintendents know what goals they want to work toward for the new year – and their focus is landing on what’s best for the students.

Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer said there are always ways to improve, and Duncan Public Schools is no exception. While she wouldn’t call it setting resolutions, she said there are goals she wants to see the school district as a whole to accomplish.

“I think resolutions are overrated,” Labyer said. “We want to look for opportunities to improve.” She said she has certain areas that require more attention than others for 2013, and the No. 1 idea is to aim for student success in the classroom.

“I want us to have a focus on academic student achievement and the safety of our students,” Labyer said.

Duncan Public Schools won’t be the only district focusing on academic success this year. Empire Public Schools’ superintendent, Vicki Davison, said she wants her district to improve academically  this year. She said it’s easy to hope for better test scores, but she wants to go beyond that.

“We’ve got a lot of goals,” Davison said. “Curriculum has been a big push for us. We want to improve education for Empire students. We want them to have the best education they can have, whether it’s new technology in the classrooms or new textbooks.

“We’ve really been looking at every aspect of curriculum.”

She said there are plans to add more advanced curriculum for college-bound students at Empire High School and there are plans to help students pick a career pathway so their high school years can work toward a desired career.

This means the school is continuing to work closely with Red River Technology Center and Cameron University-Duncan.

“Curriculum is everything,” Davison said.

For Velma-Alma Public Schools, the primary focus is security, also among the goals of Duncan and Empire school systems.

Velma-Alma Superintendent Jerry Garrett said the V-A School District has already started making changes to increase student safety. Locks have been changed throughout the campus and all classrooms are locked during the school day.

“We’re tightening up everything,” Garrett said. “With weather, we have a radar; we don’t have radar on a shooter.”

He said the safety of Velma-Alma students is his primary concern and the district is working with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office to find ways to enhance safety procedures for the school campus.

“I really don’t think there’s a safe place in America,” Garrett said. “But school has to go on.”

Text Only
  • School closings

    Duncan, Comanche, Marlow, Central High, Bray-Doyle, Empire and Velma-Alma schools are closed for Monday March 3.

    March 2, 2014

  • Empire FFA Empire FFA champions

    The Waurika P.I. recently held its annual FFA Opening Ceremonies contest at the First Baptist Church in Marlow. Chapters from Stephens and Jefferson County competed for first place and an opportunity to attend the state contest in Stillwater.
    Seventeen teams competed with four coming back for the finals. The Empire FFA ninth grade team came out on top. Team members were Cale Schreiner, Anna Mitchell, Luke Davis, Alexia Newman, Ryley Dumas and Blake Cheatwood.

    November 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Ryan KerrDFFA Greenhand quiz finalists

    Ryley Dumas of the Empire FFA chapter and Ryan Kerr of the Duncan FFA chapter were two of 50 high school freshmen FFA members from across Oklahoma to qualify for the state finals of the Greenhand Quiz Career Development event held Oct. 21 on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

    November 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • Central High FFA national Central High FFA attends National Convention

    Central High FFA attends National FFA Convention
    A group of 11 students and five adults from Central High left the Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 30 on their journey to the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ken.

    November 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • Smoke Rings Duncan High yearbook team proves they’re ‘smoking hot’

    Deadlines, staff meetings and presentations are only a few of the reasons the Duncan High School Smoke Rings yearbook staff were awarded with Sweepstakes for the second consecutive year.
    This year’s yearbook “Smoke Rings” and newspaper “Demon Pitchfork” staff attended Fall Media Monday, hosted by Oklahoma Scholastic Media, on Nov. 4 at the University of Oklahoma. Staff members had their choice of various sessions to attend throughout the first part of the day, then awards were announced for the 2012-13 yearbooks.

    November 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • Schools receive A-F report cards

    Most school districts may not be happy about the results of the A-F grading system released Wednesday.
    The Duncan School District received a D+, a grade it shares with the Comanche, Empire and Velma-Alma school districts. Those grades make up half of the school districts in Stephens County.
    Other county results included Grandview with a C, Bray-Doyle with a C+, Marlow with a B- and Central High with an A. Central High was the only school district to receive an A last year.

    November 7, 2013

  • Waurika reacts to state standards

    November 7, 2013

  • Teacher of the Year Candidates Teacher of the Year candidates

    Nine Duncan teachers were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Duncan School District. And in two weeks one will be selected as Teacher of the Year.
    These nine teachers are this year’s teacher of the year nominees. They include Christy Jarboe, Emerson Elementary; Kyle McPherson, Plato Elementary; Cindy Millirons, Woodrow Wilson Elementary; Michelle Spurgin, Mark Twain Elementary; Amy Benton, Horace Mann Elementary; Tammy Bennett, Duncan Middle School; and Denise Clark and Lisa Snider, Duncan High School.

    November 5, 2013 1 Photo

  • DHS Band at OBA DHS Band places eighth in OBA contest

    Duncan High School Band’s marching season is drawing to a close. And for its final contest, the band placed eighth overall, while giving what Band Director Jeramy Haas referred to as its best performance.
    The band competed in the Oklahoma Band Association (OBA) contest Oct. 26 in Mustang. The contest featured 4A and 5A high school bands from around the state. And the DHS Band was one of the competing bands to make it to finals.

    November 3, 2013 1 Photo

  • 10-27 RRTC Otha Grimes.jpg Otha Grimes Scholarship benefits 10 nursing students

    Ten Red River Technology Center Practical Nursing students were recently awarded the fall Otha Grimes Scholarship by the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation.

    October 28, 2013 1 Photo