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Ahfachkee Open House Highlights Improvements

By E. Bowers

BIG CYPRESS - The Seminole Tribe’s Ahfachkee School welcomed the community at its Open House at the school campus on Sept. 30.

Ahfachkee School principal Dr. Patrick Gaffney highlighted the accomplishments of the students. For the second consecutive year the Ahfachkee students’ test scores have increased, while maintaining a 90-95 percent attendance rate. The kids want to come to Ahfachkee, said Dr. Gaffney, the attendance rate is high . . . because the kids want to be here.

According to Vice-Principal Dr. Sharon Byrd-Gaffney, the rise in test scores can be attributed to the Ahfachkee staff, students, parental support, and help from the Tribal leaders.

Goals set for Ahfachkee, which included integrating Seminole culture into the curriculum, establishing a Pre-School program, and providing guidance and counseling services, have largely come to pass.

In addition, the number of students who were placed in the advanced category has jumped 10 percent in Language Arts and 16 percent in Math since the 96-97 school year, as well as a 12 percent jump in overall attendance.

We did exactly what we told you we would do, said Dr. Byrd-Gaffney.

The parents enjoyed dinner, served in the school cafeteria, along with entertainment provided by Shana Banana and songs by Ms. Price’s Character Club. Afterwards, the parents were encouraged to view the Ahfachkee classrooms and facilities.

Noting Ahfachkee’s progress since the 96-97 school year, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was ready to implement its own measures, to now, Dr. Gaffney stated, No one person can take claim for that (improvement) it was a total team effort.

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