Because Rolla High School is designated an A+ School, students can qualify for an A+ scholarship giving them free tuition to a Missouri two-year college.

Because Rolla High School is designated an A+ School, students can qualify for an A+ scholarship giving them free tuition to a Missouri two-year college.

Stephanie Grisham, RHS A+ coordinator, said the name scares some students.

“Some students think they don’t qualify,” she said at Thursday night’s Rolla Board of Education meeting.

Eligibility requirements are:

• Attendance at a designated A+ School for three consecutive years prior to graduation (with a military dependent exemption).

• Grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. “That’s a C+ average,” Grisham said, and that’s the sticking point for some students. Apparently, because the scholarship program is named A+, the students think they must maintain a perfect grade point average.

• At least a 95 percent attendance record for grades nine through 12.

• Fifty hours of unpaid academic tutoring or mentoring, including eight hours of job shadowing.

• Good citizenship record with avoidance of unlawful use of drugs and alcohol.

• Confirmation and completion of the FAFSA federal student loan application.

Grisham said that starting with the Class of 2015, students must be proficient or advanced on the algebra 1 end of course test.

They may retake the test, and if they are not proficient or advanced in algebra I by the time they graduate, they will have to score a 2.5 grade point average the first semester in college to receive the reimbursement of tuition.

Also, students will only be reimbursed for 105 percent of their degree program requirements, Grisham said. That means if a program requires 60 hours for a degree, the A+ program will pay for no more than 63 credit hours.

Currently, 46 students are enrolled, she said. Last school year, 470 students were enrolled and they completed 10,549.05 tutoring hours for the 2011-12 school year, 14,697.65 cumulative hours for grades nine through 12.

There was a 3.7 percent dropout rate, higher than the 3.2 percent state dropout rate, and Grisham said, “That concerns me.”

There were 123 A+ graduates in the Class of 2012 and 53 of them planned to use their scholarship funds, totaling over $1 million.

Those 123 graduates had 9,405.89 total tutoring hours and a 3.29 average cumulative grade point average. Average cumulative attendance was 96.87 percent.

The average number of tutoring hours per student was 76.47 with 19 students each finishing more than 100 hours. The highest number of hours finished: 335.

In other business or discussion:
• Rolla Junior High School teachers Christi Dalton (English) and Katy White (mathematics) told the board about their use of technology in the classroom. They focused on the use of My Big Campus, a Facebook-like program used by the students and teachers. The two teachers demonstrated the use of the computer program, projected on a screen.

• The board selected Hoener Associates Inc., a St. Louis architectural firm, for the district’s architect services. Nine companies had submitted proposals. Hoener has been the district’s consultant.

• Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis reviewed the progress of the school calendar formulation. He said the tentative calendar is available on the school’s website.

• Board Appreciation Week, a recognition week supported by the Missouri School Boards Association, is Jan. 20-26. In honor of this week, Dr. Zalis presented certificates of appreciation to board members, and Rolla Community Teachers’ Association gave roses to each member and to board secretary Nancy McWhorter.  In addition, the RCTA presented a humorous video of Wyman Elementary School kindergartners talking about  their favorite school activities, what they think board members do and how much they believe board members are paid.