Board deals with partnerships, mandates

HOPE – Partnerships and mandates were the key matters before the Hope Public Schools board Monday evening, as the board dealt with initiative-based and state required programs.

Two key reports before the board concerned community service curriculum and the district’s academic reporting to the Arkansas Department of Education.

Public Service Curriculum Coordinator Joan Crowder presented the district’s application for ADE-approved community service partnerships for students. Crowder said the partnerships involved are mostly applicable for high school students, given the greater likelihood they have readily available private transportation to participate.

Crowder said other students may participate, but the partnerships specifically involve projects where no HPS teacher is assigned to oversee students directly.

Proposed partnerships include student service at the Hope Animal Shelter; student assistance with cleanup and concessions for the Hope Parks and Recreation Department; student recreational activity assistance for residents of Hope Haven; student assistance for Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce events such as community coffees, the Hope Watermelon Festival, and downtown events; and student assistance with general duties at the Hope Charitable Christian Clinic.

The board adopted all of the proposed partnerships.

HPS School Improvement Specialist Carla Narlesky presented the district’s 45-day academics report mandated by the ADE.

Narlesky said the report focused on three key concepts of attendance, behavior and academics.

“We’re making the report more reflective,” she said.

She said the new reporting model is more in line with state requirements, and is driven by leadership team direction.

“We want these to be documents that are living and breathing,” Narlesky said.

Consequently, the next nine-week period will focus on teacher attendance, use of three-week teaching units, and reading instruction. Narlesky said changes include academic intervention provided throughout the instructional day; greater use of STAR testing data; and, elimination of ACT Aspire interim assessments because they do not correlate with the actual test.

The board also dealt with two mandated actions, including a resolution designating an alternative board meeting venue in an emergency which prevented use of the HPSD Administration Building.

The board also adopted a projection of infrastructure projects for state budget planning based upon the 2021-23 biennium.

Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said the projects, which involve roofing replacements, were preliminary in nature.

“The only way we would consider doing these is with partnership funds,” Dr. Hart said. “We were approved, but not funded, last year.”

None of the projected work would require bond financing, Hart said.

“We are not bound by anything in adopting this,” he said.

Hart said amendments to the projections are possible until February.

The HPS will continue to participate in the “Attendance Works” initiative, Hart said, noting when a student misses as few as two days per month, the result is 20 days per year in lost attendance.

He said the operation of the new Bobcat Clinic at the Hope High School campus will help stem some absenteeism through services provided directly to students; and, the HPS will continue to track student attendance through the “Strive for Five” initiative.

The board also adopted a resolution to make the HPS a partner with the U.S. Census Bureau, the State of Arkansas, and Hempstead County in encouraging participation in the U.S. Census.

The initiative will include supporting the dissemination of 2020 Census information and encouragement and support of events raising Census awareness and the impact of the Census.

In other actions Monday, the board:

--Set a special meeting for Friday at 8:30 a.m. at Yerger Middle School to consider student expulsion.

--Set a special tour of the YMS campus at 9 a.m. Friday.

--Adopted personnel recommendations.

--Adopted a student transfer consistent with the opinion of U. S. District Judge Susan Hickey as allowed in the exceptions to the district’s federal civil consent decree.