New Cambria off to a great start

Despite decreasing enrollment over the last few years, the Macon County R-4 School in New Cambria is starting the year off well.

While there wasnâ??t a whole lot of work to be done over the summer, staff members were focusing on improving math scores and analyzing a new teaching curriculum implemented last year.

â??The last two years we have really tried to focus on our state assessments and the performance of our students on those assessments. One thing we have done is implement a K-12 math curriculum. We have gone to a Saxon math curriculum,â?? New Cambria Superintendent John Dunham said.

The Saxon math curriculum, which uses a systematic approach, has had great success in bigger school systems across the state and New Cambria has seen improvements in just the first year and they expect that to continue.

As many smaller school districts are seeing across the state, budgets are tight and New Cambria has adopted an $80,000 deficit for this school year.

â??Budgets are tight everywhere and we are no exception to that rule. This year we are probably going to deficit spend as the last couple years we have just broken even,â?? said Dunham.

Despite a projected deficit, officials say the school is still financially solid. And while the school hired a new full time special education teacher, they are also saving money by bringing back retired teachers to teach subjects that have smaller classes and meet only a few times a week.

As for the sports programs, a big change was implemented for this year. That change includes cooperatives efforts between New Cambria and Bucklin. With enrollment down in both schools and filling sports teams becoming a challenge, this gives athletes in both schools the chance to compete.

â??In looking to the future, the districts got together and went through a process last year over several months where we got the communities involved. We got students, parents and community members involved in committee meetings and decided we would go full blown into cooperative efforts,â?? said Dunham.

Sports involved in this cooperative include softball, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, track, and the academic team.

The school will be hosting the "Ford Drive For Your School" event October 13. This is a chance for people to test drive a new vehicle while raising money for their school.

For each car that is test driven, the school will get a certain amount of money. New Cambria hopes to raise between $4,000 and $6,000 to help support their sports teams.