Archive for Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Teachers, school earn high marks

May 26, 2004

All the tests are in and the grades counted.

It turns out, Tonganoxie High School can take a deep breath -- it passed -- according to this year's graduating class.

About 20 percent of this year's seniors gave their high school educations an A, while nearly 52 percent put THS in the B range. Another nearly 28 percent handed out C's, while none gave D's and one student thought the school deserved an F.

Shane Howard said he gave his high school education a B. He was pleased with the faculty, but said the school itself needed structural help.

"There were improvements that could have been made, especially within the school itself," Howard said. "Not just the education provided. The school needs improvements, I think."

The school district is looking to meet those needs with a bond issue that, if approved by patrons, would include a new building on the school's 80 acres on the city's south side and renovations to the elementary and high schools. The bond proposal carries a $25.3 million price tag, which Howard said could be a hard sell.

"It seems like a large sum of money to have pass," Howard said. "I would think a lot of things would have to happen, like a lot of donations, too, probably."

Howard agreed with the majority of seniors in giving his high school education a B, a slightly more favorable mark overall than last year's seniors.

The Class of 2003 had two fewer students give A's to their high school educations, while six fewer students -- about a 7 percent decrease -- handed out B's. Last year's class gave seven more C's, while two students thought the school fell in the D-range. No students last year gave failing grades.

Teachers on target

How do Tonganoxie High teachers rate?

Pretty well, if you ask the Class of 2004.

Just five students thought teachers deserved D's, while no one handed out the dreaded F.

That meant 17 students (18.1 percent) gave their teachers A's, 58 (61.7 percent) gave out B's and 13 (13.8 percent) issued C's.

"I'm probably going B-plus," said Michael Stephenson, who will attend Kansas City Kansas Community College in the fall.

Stephenson then plans to pursue studies in jazz guitar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

The senior said teachers always were available to help and provided adequate individual attention.

"Yeah, definitely there was always a lot of that," Stephenson said.

Choosing top teacher or two, however, was tough to do, Stephenson said.

Shane Howard, also mentioned it was hard to pick one or two, but he did discuss David Walker.

"Mr. Walker got me interested in media," Howard said.

Walker, who teaches media and biology, helped Howard decide to go into journalism.

In the fall, Howard will attend Kansas State University and major in broadcast journalism. He already was awarded a Dev Nelson Scholarship in the journalism field.

Along with giving good marks to teachers, students thought class sizes were satisfactory. Of those surveyed, 77 (81 percent) thought class sizes were about right for adequate learning, while one person thought classes were much too big. Just 14 students (14.9 percent) thought sizes were a bit too big for effective learning.

"I think the teacher-student ratio is pretty solid," Howard said. "If you ever needed help after school, they'll help you. They're willing to help you out as much as possible."

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