NEWS HEADLINES

Alvord to add volleyball to sports menu

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, March 1, 2014

It will be a couple of years before it trickles up to the varsity level, but as of next year Alvord will offer girls’ volleyball at both the middle school and high school levels.

Athletic Director Curtis Enis reported to the school board Thursday night the results of two surveys, cost studies and research into expanding the district’s sports offerings. The board discussed the topic and requested more information at its last meeting.

“I think volleyball would be an excellent addition to our girls’ athletic program,” he said, addressing the issues of participation, scheduling, coaching, cost and the possible conflict with other sports in a 15-minute presentation before the board voted unanimously to add the sport.

It will start next year with three teams at the middle school level – a seventh grade team, an eighth grade team and a combination B team.

The high school would field a freshman team and a JV team as well as another B team made up of freshman and sophomores.

For two years, Alvord would not compete at the high school varsity level.

“We would play an ‘outlaw’ schedule at the high school level next year,” Enis said. “We would just go out and get games, play a lot of teams’ JV and freshman teams and not try to play anybody’s varsity for a couple of years.”

Two years from now, when UIL realignment comes out again, Alvord would petition to get into a district and play a varsity volleyball schedule with the opportunity of making the playoffs, he said.

At the junior high level, they would petition to get into a district next year, looking for 10 to 12 match games and a couple of tournaments.

According to two surveys Enis has taken, interest is apparently high. He said 30 girls at the 6th and 7th grade level said they would play volleyball, and another 30 at the 8th and 9th grade level indicated a similar interest.

“A group of Alvord elementary-aged students have been playing in volleyball leagues in Decatur,” he said. One student, seventh grader Kinly Walker, spoke briefly to the board Thursday, requesting they consider adding volleyball.

The district even has some coaching experience already on hand. Middle school reading and English/language arts teacher Katherine Kelly coached four years of volleball at Azle, while middle school special education teacher Chasen Jackson coached three years of volleyball at Jacksboro and North Hopkins.

Enis said the district actually needs to add a girls’ sport at the middle school level to be in compliance with federal guidelines.

“We currently offer four sports – cross-country, football, basketball and track – for middle school boys,” he noted. “We only offer three sports – basketball, cross-country and track – for middle school girls. We need to add a sport to our middle school girls’ program.”

At the high school level, it’s balanced because tennis is currently offered only for girls. Enis recommended if volleyball is added, the district open up tennis to any boys who might want to play, thereby restoring the balance.

Most other school districts of Alvord’s size already offer volleyball.

“In our current football district, we’re the only school that doesn’t play volleyball,” Enis said. “It’s the same for our current basketball district. In the region, only Alvord and Winnsboro do not play volleyball.”

At last month’s meeting, board members questioned whether adding another sport would dilute the athletic talent and hurt other programs. Enis said that should not be a problem.

“In my experience, being involved when you have sports that overlap, it’s not an issue as long as the coaches work together,” he said. “You can set up practice schedules that do not overlap. As long as the opportunity to participate in both sports is there, and as long as the two head coaches respect the other coaches’ sport, it’s not a problem.”

The plan would be to re-do the gym floor at the old Middle School and use it for practice and games the first two years.

“Then when you decide to go into the UIL and start playing a varsity schedule, you could play all of your games at the high school,” Enis said. “Leave the old middle school gym as your practice facility. That way you could leave your stuff up and make that exclusively a practice facility.”

OTHER ACTION

The school board did a few other things at their Thursday meeting:

  • They spent about 30 minutes going through the annual evaluation process for superintendent Bill Branum. No action was taken.
  • They heard reports from the elementary, middle and high school campuses on enrollment and upcoming activities.
  • Board member Kevin Wood reported on a couple of meetings he attended recently on state and national educational issues.
  • They officially called an election for Places 6 and 7 on the board, to be held May 10, with voting to be held jointly with the City of Alvord.
  • They amended the 2013-14 school calendar to make March 6 a regular school day and March 7 a half-day. That will make up for missed instructional days due to ice on Feb. 3 and 6.
  • They voted to compensate employees for those bad-weather days.
  • They changed the names on the bank account for the Walker scholarship and declared $1.9 million of their fund balance to be committed for HVAC and roof repairs, building improvements, buses and student computers.
  • They hired a secondary art teacher to start in August. Kevin Renner, a teacher with 17 years’ experience who is currently working in the Red Oak ISD, will work at the middle and high school campuses.

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The Alvord ISD board will meet Tuesday for the purpose of amending their May 10 election order and considering contracts for the superintendent, high school and elementary principals, athletic and technology directors, the district nurse and the high school, middle school and elementary counselors. The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the administration building.

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