CARSON CITY — Kevin Murphy has been at his new job for eight weeks now.
The new Carson City-Crystal Area Schools superintendent is settled in. He is the former superintendent of Houghton Lake Community Schools, about 100 miles north of Carson City.
“We (he, his wife, Mary, and their three children — freshman Kennedy, sixth-grader Jackson and second-grader Taylor) moved into the area about a month ago,” Murphy said. “It’s very important for us to get in the area and get settled so the kids are ready for school.
“I live about a half mile from my work,” he added. “It is a bit easier, since Carson City is the hub of the school district, but I am certainly cognitive of the surrounding area (including Crystal and Hubbardston) that makes up the greater community too.”
Murphy’s first official day on the job was July 1. He has been going over data and information to become familiar with his new district.
“Paperwork always tells a limited picture, but since August there have been a lot of people coming in and I have been establishing a working relationship with the school board and establishing trust with the community,” he said.
School Board President Tom Wilcox said he and his fellow board members — Vice President Ben Adkins, Secretary Kelly Decker, Treasurer Randy Stearns and trustees Kriss Hummel, Gregg McAlvey and Nikki Suchek — have enjoyed their new working relationship with Murphy so far.
“He is really good at what he does,” Wilcox said. “It has been really pleasant having someone very knowledgeable at their job. We had a workshop with Kevin going over the role of board members and the role of the superintendent. Once the school year commences, we are planning another workshop and spending more time with Kevin and his ideas for the district.”
Murphy is looking forward to the start of school on Sept. 4 and seeing the activities and energy of the district in person.
“I am excited to see our teachers in action,” he said. “I am also ready to meet more community members and families once school starts. People are welcoming and willing to speak their minds about projects. It is important that people can feel that openness from their superintendent and their board.”
Carson City-Crystal High School Principal Devin Pringle said several new programs will be implemented this year.
“We will be offering four Advanced Placement classes at the high school this fall,” Pringle noted.
Those classes include biology, psychology, calculus and literature. Advanced Placement classes provide high school credit and also give students the opportunity to test for college credit.
“Our new academic league will provide some exciting new opportunities for our students to compete,” Pringle said. “This year we will add forensics, talent show, art exhibition, technology competitions, ELA competitions, Science Olympiad, debate, and Model U.N. to our schedules. This will provide dozens of students an opportunity to plug in and shine.”
The high school has also started a Parent Teacher Organization this year to help foster positive communication and school improvement, according to Pringle. Meetings will take place at 6 p.m. on second Mondays in the high school media center, one hour prior to school board meetings. Jenny Kipp is president of the new PTO and Amy Houck is secretary.
“We had an introductory meeting in May and a second meeting just this past week (Aug. 13),” said high school teacher Kathy Kurtze. “The main thing we’re hearing from parents is that they would like to know more about what is available for their students academically, what great things are going on in the classrooms and what they need to know to be ready for college and careers. This is a great venue for open discussion, as well as for short planned presentations by the staff of the high school. We look forward to continuing to see the group grow and are encouraged by the turnout and response we’ve had in our first two meetings.”
Visit carsoncity.k12.mi.us and click on the “High School” tab to find “HS PTO” in the menu.
Upper Elementary School
The Upper Elementary School will be continuing its popular Hero in the Hallway program, an anti-bullying program for fourth- through eighth-graders. Students are rewarded for positive behavior. Students and staff may nominate students for the honor.
Winning students receive a Hero in the Hallway T-shirt and their photograph will appear in the pages of The Gazette.
Coach Bryan Lynch will head up the new season of middle school football for seventh- and eighth-graders. The first practice is scheduled for today, Aug. 27.
“We are looking for good things from this new middle school athletic program,” said Upper Elementary/Middle School Administrative Assistant. Lainie Niemi of the new football team.
Lower Elementary School
The Lower Elementary School will have an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Class lists are posted in the entry hallway and grade level supply lists can be found at carsoncity.k12.mi.us online.
Principal Carol Wiles said class sizes currently range from 18 to 24 students.
“This year we plan on having several evening events for parents and students to help with homework, math and reading,” Wiles said. “Our Parent Club is very active in helping both the Lower and Upper Elementary schools and students, as well as providing educational activities and programs.”
The Parent Club meets at 7 p.m. on second Tuesdays at the Upper Elementary School media center.
Student lunches can now be paid for online. Food purchases can be monitored online as well.
Call Food Services Director Kerin Naumann at (989) 584-3175 for more information.
Parents can review grades and class attendance online. Instructions can be found in school packets that can be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Call the middle school office at (989) 584-3903 for more information.
Information about school board meetings, band concerts, snow days, staff details, resources and more can also be found at carsoncity.k12.mi.us online.
Transportation Director Dennis Lance said there are a few minor changes to some bus routes this year.
“Drivers will be trying to contact students the week before school starts with this year’s bus times,” Lance said. “If a student has not been contacted, please call the bus garage at (989) 584-3649, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. We will be happy to give their bus times then.”
Parents are reminded to have their students at the bus stop at least five minutes before the regular arrival time. Students should stay back from the bus at least 15 feet. They should not approach the bus until it has come to complete stop and the driver has opened the door and signaled to board the bus.
“All of us at the transportation department are looking forward to seeing the students come back to school and are looking forward to a safe and happy school year,” Lance said.
Daily News intern Lonnie Allen contributed to this story.