Press Release Carl Junction High School.
On Monday evening, the Carl Junction Board of Education voted to accept the invitation by the Central Ozark Conference to join their Large Division beginning with the 2016-2017 school year. Since October, the COC member schools’ Athletic Directors, Principals, and Superintendents have been considering a request by Carl Junction Schools to become a member of the Central Ozark Conference. On March 18 the COC Superintendents voted unanimously to accept the recommendations from the Athletic Directors and Principals to approve Carl Junction for full membership beginning with the 2016-17 school year. Until then Carl Junction will be an ex-officio member with no voting capacity. Through the process of considering Carl Junction for COC membership the Athletic Directors, Principals, and Superintendents evaluated the overall fit of Carl Junction both academically, athletically, size of student population, and location. Carl Junction will join Branson, Carthage, Neosho, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Webb City, and Willard in the Large Division. “A conference affiliation is not just about athletics. Three years ago our Board of Education began a process of evaluating our District compared to other districts with similar demographic information,” said Carl Junction Superintendent Dr. Phillip Cook. “The end result was a group of eleven school districts that consisted of nearly all of the school districts in the Large Division of the Central Ozark Conference and a few from the Small Division. There were no Big 8 schools on the list. Each year we use this comparable group to analyze our student performance data.” On the athletic side, most of Carl Junction’s junior high and high school athletic teams began playing COC members schools on a regular basis several years ago. “With our rising student population, we have lots of athletes needing playing time at every level,” said Athletic Director Jesse Wall. “When we play schools that are similar in size there are more opportunities for A and B Team competitions at the junior high level and at the high school we can have Freshmen, Junior Varsity, and Varsity levels. Our athletes don’t often have this opportunity in the Big 8.” Carl Junction has been a member of the Big 8 Conference for over thirty years. “I consider the Big 8 to be one of the top middle-level conferences in the state and each year the conference has contenders for state championships,” said Cook. “We have enjoyed over thirty years of membership, however, our demographics have created a fairly large gap between Carl Junction and the rest of the conference. I arrived in Carl Junction seventeen years ago and our high school enrollment was 680 students. Our current enrollment is about 980 and we will easily exceed 1,000 students in our high school next fall. McDonald County will be joining the Big 8 Conference in 2014, but I still believe the Central Ozark Conference creates a better fit for our school district.”