By Sam Wall
The school board kicked off Tuesday’s meeting by honoring Salem High School and their athletic training staff for receiving the National Athletic Training Association’s Safe Sports School First Team Award.
Schools that are considered for the award must meet the organizations criteria for promoting a safe and injury free environment for their student-athletes, including: a comprehensive athletic healthcare plan, one that promotes safe and appropriate environments for athletes, provides proper sporting equipment, develops injury intervention strategies, rehearses an emergency action plan and promotes a culture of safe play.
Chris Tucker, the head coordinator of athletic training at SHS, was there to receive the award on behalf of his staff and other medical professionals from the area that have contributed to the school’s impressive athletic training program.
The award is given to only 500 schools nationwide a year, so winning the award was something that meant a lot to Tucker and his staff.
“This is an honor, and a national honor. I’m very proud of it. Out of 65,000 high schools in the nation, we were one of 500…I appreciate the commitment from the school board on letting me to my job as well as I can do it to get this honor,” said Tucker.
There were many others that also received recognition for their contributions to the program: Joel “Trimmy” Hickerson, athletic trainer; Kari Whitney, athletic trainer; Dr. Blackwood, sports physicals; Dr. Bolin, sports medicine; Dr. Farmer, orthopedic surgeon; Ken Cook, Salem Rescue Squad; Remco Schreuders, physical therapist; Aaron Gresham, sports bracing consultant; and Zach Owen, sports bracing consultant.
Tuesday’s meeting also concluded the presenting of the school’s spring SOL assessments with presentations by South and West Salem elementary schools.
Principal Margaret Humphrey presented South Salem’s results to the board. Math scores were a focus for the school after the 2013-14 results were made available. Both third and fifth graders scored higher in the 2014-15 year than in the 2013-14 year. Fourth grade scores were down, buts as Humphrey stated, those numbers are a little misleading.
The scores for third grade SOL pass rates in math was 65 percent in 2013-14. The staff saw this as unacceptable and worked toward improving the grade level’s future math scores, and they did just that. The fourth grade scores for 2014-15, which would be the third from the previous year, jumped up to an 82 percent pass rate.
Humphrey contributed the spike in scores to the staff’s dedication as well as help from tutors at SHS and Roanoke College. Reading, science and history SOL scores all went up from the previous year.
Principal Debbie Carrie presented West Salem’s spring assessment. Math scores went up in all grades, with scores ranging from an 80 percent pass rate for third graders to an impressive 95 percent pass rate for fifth graders.
Reading scores were almost equally as impressive with all grades having a pass rate of 80 percent or above. History and social science pass rates jumped from 94 percent to 100 percent pass rate in the 2014-15 school year.
All schools yielded positive SOL results, but still continue to strive for even better pass rates for the upcoming year.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.