ES schools growing and glowing

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The Oct. 10 Eureka Springs School Board meeting opened with the school district’s annual Report to the Public, where Supt. Bryan Pruitt said there are 616 students in the three schools, and 60.2 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. Last spring, 38 seniors graduated, but 46 students enrolled in kindergarten this year.

Pruitt stated since last year’s report, the district installed LED lighting for the entire campus. The slab has been laid for a new greenhouse, which should be installed within three weeks. An upgrade for the air-conditioning in the middle school gym is in progress.

First on Pruitt’s goals for the next year was to increase the steps on the salary schedule so the district can continue to retain teachers and compensate them appropriately. He said a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in progress for building a safe room on campus big enough for everyone from all three schools. The building would also be available during a community disaster.

Pruitt also mentioned planning is underway to initiate a one-to-one computer program whereby every ninth grade student would be issued a Chromebook which that student would keep at least through high school.

He said the C-4 apprenticeship program, a partnership between the Berryville, Green Forest and Eureka Springs school districts, is progressing. Tyson Foods is investing $1.3 million in the project that will teach technical and industrial skills such as robotics, industrial maintenance, welding and other specialties.

Pruitt said the special education program has five instructors and 10 paraprofessionals for 78 students.

Test scores

Counselor Rachal Hyatt told the board overall Eureka Springs ranked 48th of 248 districts in the state just after Rogers at 47. Berryville ranked 84th, Green Forest 148th and Huntsville ranked 168th.

Hyatt said third graders were above the national average in English, middle school scores exceed the national average in most subjects, and ninth and tenth graders were above the national average across the board.

Gifted and talented

Middle School Principal Cindy Holt said there 55 students involved in the Gifted and Talented program beginning with an enrichment program for kindergarten through second grade students. Those in the third through eighth grades get focused attention outside the classroom. Activities for those in high school include Chess Club, Quiz Bowl and Odyssey of the Mind.

Principals’ reports

High school Principal David Gilmore announced there 195 students enrolled in high school this year, and weekly advisory time where students can get tutoring is available.

Principal Cindy Holt said the middle school has adopted a more challenging math program that expects students to pick up skills a grade earlier.

Principal Clare Lesieur said the elementary school follows guidelines of “The Leader in Me” as presented in The Seven Habits of Happy Kids by Steven Covey, a program that creates a culture of student empowerment. Lesieur said she has heard kids handle issues and there has been a decrease in discipline referrals.

Lesieur commented that her students spend at least 40 minutes a week on keyboarding.

Outdoor classroom proposal

Student Carson Mowrey presented a slide show with plans for an outdoor classroom. Mowrey said students chose a likely spot on the campus, and on one slide he showed a photo of the location with a hand drawn representation of what they envision. He intends to ask art students to create a mosaic for one wall of what they intend to be an open building.

Mowrey said they would pursue grant funds to pay for the project.

Board business

  • Chose Debbie Davis to fill the empty seat on the board.
  • Elected officers: president– Chris McClung; vice-president– Al Larson; secretary – Gayla Wolfinbarger.
  • Elected Larson to be the C-4 representative.
  • Upon Pruitt’s recommendation, the board increased the monthly insurance payment for each employee from $303 per month to $315 per month.
  • Added to the salary schedule revisions paying bus aides $15 per route. Four students presently require a bus aide.
  • Tabled until the November meeting a decision on whether to have school board elections in May or November. Pruitt said Berryville already chose May and Green Forest will decide soon. It would save the district money to have the election at the same time as the other districts.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 5:30 p.m.

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