• Area students perform in state speech competition

    Large Group Speech teams performed at the state competition Saturday in Ankeny. Students are judge by a panel of three judge and get ratings from each one.

    Red Oak was represented by 23 students performing in 10 events.

    Seniors Angelica Cerda and Ellen Fellers received straight ones (all three judges gave them a one rating) for their Ensemble Acting “Caution: Librarians Ahead;”

    Sophomores Leatha Bennett and Jessa Davis received straight ones for their Ensemble Acting “Bottled Up;”

  • Safer Schools

    The security conversation continues at area schools, and new technology, school boards have decided, is the next step to keep students safe.

    The Stanton Community School District is the first to install an electronic entry system, which keeps all building doors locked throughout the school day, allowing access by key card or buzz in. 

  • How Safe Are Your Kids: Part 2

     MONTGOMERY COUNTY —While all three local school districts have enacted protocols in the last year to protect students and prevent shooting incidents, many of those precautions are being disregarded, according to a Red Oak Express investigation. 

    During the investigation, schools in Red Oak, Villisca and Stanton all demonstrated assorted security breaches, including doors that should have been locked and open access to hallways and classrooms.

  • SWCC levy easily passes at school election

     Once again, the Southwest Community College tax levy easily passed with an 81 percent majority in last week’s election.

    “Osceola, Creston and Red Oak all passed with a high percentage. So it’s been really positive,” SWCC Vice President Tom Lesan said. “The lowest it’s ever been is around 74 percent. We’ve always been really lucky.” 

    Lesan said the 20.25-cent levy has always passed since its 1966 inception.

    Locally, around 90 percent of the votes were in favor of the tax.

  • How Safe Are Your Kids: Part 1

    Before the 2012-13 school year, elementary school principal Dawn Hochsprung oversaw significant upgrades to her facility’s security system.

    Among the changes included locking the school’s front gates at 9:30 a.m. while requiring all visitors to ring a bell for entry. Those visitors were then required to report to the main office and sign in immediately.

    In a letter to parents at the beginning of the year, the longtime administrator informed parents staff would be checking visitors’ identification as well.

  • A new approach to autism

    RED OAK — “I was one of those kids who always played school,” said Ann Gigstad. “I really love what I do.”

    After teaching special education in southwest Iowa and Omaha for 19 years, Gigstad now serves as the Autism Strategist for the Red Oak schools, a new position in the district.

    “When I went to high school, I had the opportunity during a study hall to work with a special education teacher at Nishna Valley. It always clicked with me so when I went to college, it was what I wanted to do.”

  • More than just books

    Storytelling started as chalk on cave walls, according to Red Oak Public Library Director Kathi Most, and then the scroll was born.

    “It was dramatic when it switched from scrolls to books,” Most said. “Everyone feared the end of scrolls was the end of stories, but it wasn’t, of course.”

    While books may not be dead, Most said the transition to a technologically driven society is just as dramatic for some, and nowhere sees it more than libraries.

  • Three school board seats up for election

    School board elections are just around the corner, and the filing process is now underway.

    Nominations for open seats can by filed by Aug. 1 and the election will take place Sept. 10.

  • $49 million project, including new high school, receives most support

    RED OAK — After a series of community meetings, the Red Oak school board of directors reviewed the feedback on the district’s facilities, making the first step in a 30-year project.

    Following a facilities study, Randy West of BLDD Architecture, compiled a list of 15 potential scenarios for the future of the district’s buildings. The community, though a series of three meetings, narrowed the results into their top three choices, of which the board will take into consideration when building a master plan in the coming months.

  • School facilities discussed at first community meeting

    RED OAK — The Red Oak Community School District has begun a series of meetings to garner community input on the future of the district facilities.

    About 35 faculty members, parents and administrators were present at last Monday’s meeting to hear the results of a recent facilities study and provide feedback on how to improve the buildings’ quality.