theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

April 17, 2014

Vanoss Schools host open house today

Ada — VANOSS — It may look to some like the same old school of the 20th century at first glance, but Vanoss Public Schools have undergone major construction changes in the 21st century.

Nothing will make that point more clearly than when students, parents and residents of this rural area get together Thursday evening for an open house from 3:15 p.m. until 9 p.m.

School personnel will be showing off their new science and computer labs, for one thing.

If you're an alumni and haven't been back in a few years, you're in for big surprises.

 You won't notice it so much when you start to walk down the old familiar hallways. They're pretty much the same. It's when you open the doors and look inside the 21st century changes will become obvious.

Students no longer wander into a small classroom with two very small sinks and six folding tables and call it the science lab.

Sharon Phillips is still the school's science department chairman. She still exposes Vanoss students to a sophisticated variety of sciences, knowing all of her students need to pass six semester hours of science to get out of high school.

The old room is still functioning next to the new lab.

 The difference is that it, too, has been remodeled as a regular classroom.

  "Our former students see our new lab and they're very excited for us," Phillips said.

 The new science lab seems to have most of the whistles and bells that would be expected in a modern-day science lab.

 "You're standing in the parking lot," says Phillips as she shows off the new lab.

 It has 10 chemistry tables. Ms. Phillips wanted a lot of table space and she got it with the attractive charcoal colored tables, complete with sinks and with electricity available with outlets all over the room

 The main improvements are that there's a place for everything, students won't be battling for space, and teachers won't spend all their time getting down, and putting items up in a closet.

  Beverly Rambo, who's been at the school for more than 20 years, is the school's technology director and library head; and she can hardly wait to show visitors the new computer lab.

  State-of-the-art computer systems fill a large room, not to mention the latest software compatible with the educational goals of the school, is available.

 They don't just knock out frogs and dissect these days, though that is still done.

 They look at the DNA of seafood, for one thing. Biology, earth science, physical science, zoology, physics, Biology II and, of course,  chemistry are available to the students.

They've got pull-out drawers at the tables, where they can pull out flasks, beakers and all things science.

  They also have plenty of room to help kids pass the required six semesters of science in their last four years of school at Vanoss.

  Both are clearly proud of the school's improvements and with those to come, as are science instructors like Allison Shannon (chemistry, and physical science, and Carlene Henderson.

 The next big improvements may be the hallways, which still look a little "bunkerish."

 But that's been the least of their concerns up to now and is probably the easiest improvement to make.

 "There's no more bond money now," said Ms. Rambo. "We're still talking about how to do that."

 More than a few of the school's improvements have been the result of parents and students chipping in with hard, physical labor.

  The new science room has climate-controlled chemical storage room at one end, and Phillips keeps that room locked at all times except when student and teacher make arrangements.  

 Since 2003, the parents of Vanoss students have OK'd three new bonds to improve the infrastructure.

 Vanoss may sometimes be called  "the school in the pasture,” but that pasture is filled with 21st century educational teaching tools for its students.

 Truth is, the school draws its students from one of Oklahoma's larger rural areas and about 550 students a day attend school here.

 The first bond was passed in 2003 for a 3,900-square-foot library complex and some physical education remodeling work.

The second was a 2007-08 bond for a middle-school complex.

 In 2012 the third bond for a new science lab, a new ag barn and bathrooms and a softball field were added.

 The middle school computer room is one of Ms. Rambo's favorite additions. As with most departments now at the school, there are plenty of new computers with some amazing software to teach young students.

 Would you believe bio-technology, flight technology and even a flight simulator?

 Don't worry, mom, they're not going to fly out of the classroom, but they may be flying real planes some day.

 Principal Charles Hill and Superintendent Marjana Tharp and all the educators of this proud school are eager to show you what they've accomplished.

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