Coach Hoffman addresses Riverside School Board

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Riverside Athletic Director and girls' coach speaks at the September school board meeting.

Superintendent Tommy Knight introduced the new girls basketball coach and athletic director, Spencer Hoffman, at the Monday night, Sept. 14, school board meeting. Coach Hoffman updated board members on the junior and senior high girls basketball teams, as well as the middle school basketball program which will undergo changes this year.

He said the foundation of a good program starts in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. He will be assisting with the middle school teams working with the volunteer coaches.

Numbers have been down and Hoffman plans to combine the two middle school campuses. Instead of two schools (east and west teams) they will be one. He said the girls have 15 to 20 in each grade. The boys numbers are slightly lower.

Coach Hoffman went on to say instead of East and West teams there will be Maroon and Gray teams, like an A and B team situation. They will practice together giving all of the younger players the same opportunities.

Volunteer coaches will be urged to play eight to 10 kids a game. Hoffman will provide basic skills and drills for them to work on and will take care of the scheduling for games and practices. He said Riverside players are fortunate to have three gymnasiums available.

"I have 60 elementary kids in the high school gym on Tuesday afternoons," Hoffman said. "The high school players help with the younger players."

He invited board members to stop by.

Mark Manchester, high school assistant principal and former coach, will be assisting with the middle school basketball program.

Coach Hoffman said the benches at the tennis courts have been refurbished. The school purchased the lumber and paint and students in the agri department did the work.

"The agri department did a great job," Coach Hoffman said.

Principal Jeff Priest updated the board on grants providing benches and tables, EAST Initiative equipment and the new mentoring program.

"We received a Lowe's grant which provided eight benches and eight picnic tables," Mr. Priest said. "The tables and benches have been placed outside of the cafeteria. The kids can eat lunch outside, have a place to sit and visit.

"We have 50 junior and senior class members in the mentoring program and each mentor has three seventh and eighth grade students assigned to them. They will help the younger students adjust to junior high. They meet once a month. We see the seventh and eight grade students talking to their mentors in the hall. A representative from Families Inc. conducted a workshop with the mentors."

He went on to say the program is working out well. He said the staff will be mentoring with the ninth and 10th grade students filling in the gap and they will be ready to serve as mentors over the next two years. Mr. Priest showed the showed the board member tee-shirts designed for the mentoring program.

"On Thursday our kids received $300,000 in equipment for the new EAST classroom," Mr. Priest said. "Technicians were here teaching our kids how to hook up the equipment and how everything works. The program is student driven. If there is a problem with the equipment, the students will call EAST and they will be contacted by a representative who will walk them through the repairs. If they can't get the equipment working, then Mr. Zeigler (Matt Zeigler, EAST facilitator) will help. If they can't correct it, then a representative will come here to make the repairs."

Mr. Priest invited the board to stop by and visit the EAST classroom. He said the students are excited. One of their first projects will be to make a short movie thanking EAST for the equipment and the opportunities that come with it.

Larson Tate, project manager, gave an update on the east building project and the new bus shop located on the west campus. He said the bus shop should be completed in two weeks and progress is going well on the elementary building.

"We are hopeful to get in the dry before bad weather," Tate said.

He invited the board members to a walk through following the meeting.

Board members present were Mike Brown, Greg Douglas, Len B. Nall, Rick Austin, and Mike Brickell.

In other business:

*Board voted unanimously in favor of Superintendent Knight's recommendation to hire junior high math teacher David Cunningham as part-time bus driver; and Nichol Cooksey as part-time custodian on the west campus.

*Board voted unanimously approving a statement of assurances regarding Special Education declaring the district is following all state laws.

*Board voted to renew the service for model policy renewal and updates in the amount of $950, the same amount as last year.

*Mr. Knight informed board members of the upcoming date options for the required school board's in-service meetings.

*Principal Priest commended high school student Gracie Wilson who has been selected to perform in the National FFA Band.

*Announcements included the Meet the Rebels Nite at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in the high school cafeteria; and Maroon and Gray Games on Oct. 6.

The next school board meeting will be Oct. 5 on the West campus.

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