Academy-Clinton partnership set
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – The Hope Academy of Public Service of the Hope Public Schools recently became a practicum site partner for the William J. Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock.

HAPS is housed in the historic Augustus Garland/HAPS building on Sixth Street in Hope.

“Three to six graduate students will be in our district and in that building at least two days a week working with faculty and students to develop a public service curriculum that mirrors the Clinton School,” Hope Schools Superintendent Bobby Hart said. “These young people will visit with stakeholders, civic clubs, parents, to help us determine what our needs are toward public service; they will identify projects, and help our students to envision something greater for their community than for themselves.”

He said the Clinton School places graduate students in practicums nationwide and worldwide based upon their public service interest, but the HAPS arrangement is unique in Arkansas.

“These students have expressed an interest to us in changing the world through education,” Hart said.

He said the intent of the partnership is to involve the HAPS students as directly as possible with the graduate students throughout the school year.

The school district is also working toward other partnerships with the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana and will seek partnerships with other higher education institutions, Hart said.

The grades 5-8 academy recently notified parents and students of acceptances for the initial cohort of 200 openings at HAPS, and a founding class of some 157 students has been identified to date.

The Academy is an open enrollment campus of the HPS for students who reside within the school district that will emphasize a rigorous curriculum built around collaborative, computer-based and project-centered learning to prepare each student to think as a college-ready scholar.

The district is currently seeking conversion charter school status from the state for the campus.

Enrollment requires the HAPS Commitment to Excellence to be signed by all HAPS students and parents. The document represents the compact between students, parents and the school upon which each is accountable for conduct, commitment and support. A campus handbook will also be provided which will outline district and campus policies.

Academy students will also be required to develop a community service component to their academic year, part of which will be carried out one Saturday per month based at the HAPS campus.

Students not immediately accepted for the 2016-2017 school year may be placed on a wait list.

The first day of classes at the HAPS campus will be Aug. 15.