Superintendent Geri Gilstrap had a ton of great things to say about Stilwell Schools. They have been managing their COVID situation well with a 50 percent drop in numbers after their first semester.

“We’re achieving this by doing temperature checks, cutting off water fountain use and allowing the kids to bring water bottles. They have a re-entry plan to get into the building and rapid testing accessible to the school,” Gilstrap said.

She said that she's happy to see the younger children are showing they can adapt to the changes too by wearing their masks and being sanitary. Even though their numbers are down, they will continue these things. 

The superintendent also mentioned their educators were able to be vaccinated Feb. 22, hosted at Stilwell High School (SHS). For such a large school, they have only been out nine days for the entire school year. Three to four of those days were at the mercy of bad weather. New Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines were also handed out to the kids to help further educate them about COVID prevention.

SHS was given the National Post Secondary Institute (NPSI) Award. It is given to only eight schools in the nation for the opportunities they give children for their future, such as Oklahoma Promise, being able to take college classes at the high school, promoting careers, and internships. 

About their partnerships with multiple colleges and schools, she said, people need people. 

Partnerships such as Maryetta, where they partner for sports and agriculture programs, and eighth grade students are given the chance to play sports with freshmen. She said this would help unify the kids and help them to feel more comfortable attending high school.

They will be applying for multiple grants including the 21st Century.

“That grant is just great. It gives so many opportunities to the younger and older kids, like learning to code computers or learn ballet. During June, they join Boys and Girls Club to give the children fun things to do, like walking to the store for snacks or taking trips. She said they have a supplemental online program for the 4-year-olds, where each child is given a Dell computer for educational activities, for 15 minutes a day, five days a week. 

“If they do that, they will be able to keep that computer at the end of the year,” Gilstrap said.

With teacher Jonathan Ford, they have expanded their Science Technology Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) class.

They added an E-Sports team that does many activities and competitions. 

Due to COVID, they took a virtual trip through a real Indian village and saw that history, as well as, learning to build computers and  how to code, she said.

“With so many good things happening and the school year coming to an end, that means it's time for enrollment packets, prom, and graduation!” said Gilstrap.