Achieving with our community

Published 3:50 pm Monday, February 22, 2016

By Rickie R. Harris

The spring semester has barely begun and it already is full of activity. West Orange – Cove is packed with programs that include community.

West Orange – Stark Elementary recently hosted a STAARY Night event which invited families of students, kindergarten through fifth grade, to participate in hands on activities which support reading, writing, and math. The event shared information regarding upcoming testing and also featured community partners.

The elementary campus also hosted grade level math auctions for third through fifth grade students recently. Students were able to used banked “Pay Day” funds accrued through math classes to bid on various items ranging from board games, Lego sets, skateboards, and more. These auctions allow our students to experience financial literacy concepts; and, they are made possible through the generous donations and support of local businesses and individuals. Thank you!

At West Orange – Stark Middle School, the campus presented an Advanced Studies Fair. This inaugural event allowed students enrolled in advanced English, math, social studies, reading, and science classes to exhibit projects. More than 150 projects were displayed. They ranged from marble rollercoasters engineered from folded paper to a comparison of lip gloss created from various brands of crayons. Students did a great job of explaining their ideology and processes to family and community members!

West Orange – Stark High School will host the campus finals of the Stark Reading Contest Sunday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Carl Godwin Auditorium. The winning Mustangs will earn scholarships and advance to the Orange County Finals.

Also at the High School, approximately 100 seniors registered to vote and all seniors are currently earning their CPR certification.

The West Orange – Cove Education Foundation surprised six teachers at the beginning of this month with grant awards. Teachers at WO-S Elementary and High Schools were presented with more than $20,000 to purchase additional math, literacy, and instructional materials. A grant presented to the commercial photography class will allow students to photograph our local community, present their photos in an exhibit, and auction their work to benefit local non-profit agencies.

This month, campuses are also presenting Black History Month programs. This past week, WO-S Elementary third graders presented their program at North Early Learning Center and to the public. The Middle School also presented a program Friday. Both programs were outstanding. WO-S High School will present their Black History Program Friday, Feb. 26.

We are also in the process of developing a new program. It is called Men of Excellence and will bring male figures into our schools, stadiums, and gymnasiums to support academic and social development district-wide. I would like to encourage any father, uncle, brother, grandfather, or male who can share time to attend a meeting Tuesday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at the WO-S Elementary School cafeteria. Details will be shared at the meeting regarding Men of Excellence goals.

And again, I would like to remind all parents to take advantage of our Family Access Parent Portal. Family Access includes student gradebook, attendance, and other data that facilitates parent and school communication. Applications and information packets are also downloadable on our website:

As contemporary author John Maxwell said, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.