Board works through year-end agenda

HOPE – In the wake of an historic graduation season for the Hope Public Schools, the HPS Board of Education was left with year-end business to complete in its regular monthly session Monday night.

Among the 140-plus seniors to graduate from Hope High School on May 14 were 19 students from the Hope Collegiate Academy of the University of Arkansas-Hope, the first class from the innovative total immersion collegiate campus to graduate from HHS and UAHT simultaneously.

The program is unique among high school-collegiate partnerships in Arkansas.

HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart presented the board with a letter from HCA Director Sallie Nix which acknowledged the historic achievement.

“The Collegiate Academy has made it possible for its 19 seniors to earn over 1,209 credit hours as they gained their Associate degree, which 18 of the 19 earned,” Nix wrote.

She said the remaining student should complete the AA degree requirements this summer.

Nix said none of the students were required to pay for their collegiate hours.

“As our community celebrates this year’s graduating seniors and the first group of HCA graduates I hope that you feel a great sense of accomplishment in making these programs possible for your students,” Nix said.

The inaugural HCA class included Arelli Alexandra Alardo, Za’nautica Unique Barker, Eric Blake Barton, Michaela De’shanay Clark, William Darton Davis, Na’khia Rayvon Green, Ke’ara Shania Key, Kristina Daneille King, Montezerrat leija, Annabeth Grace Martin, William Drake Martin, Nataly Ramirez, Ashton Breanne Revels, Noemi Bernice Salazar, Jared Evan Santifer, Quincy Daniel Stovall and Ayden Elise Sundberg. HCA honor graduates were Brooke Christine Hurt and Kenzi Beth Taylor.

The graduation ceremonies for HHS were also marked by a return to Hammons Stadium in a “live” ceremony under COVID-19 protocols replacing a first-ever “virtual” commencement in 2020. Some 900 people attended the event to see the HHS Class of 2021 personally receive diplomas.

The board addressed year-end business including:

--First reading of student handbook revisions for 2021-2022.

--Adoption of school improvement plans for all campuses.

--Adoption of Federal Title V-1B application.

--Adoption of annual school improvement plan revisions.

--Federal funding purchase of updated Waterford software for grades K-2 and new software for grades 3-6 for a total expenditure of some $120,000.

--Federal funding purchase of updated STAR testing software at a cost of $63,927.29.

--Approval of a request for data for doctoral research.

--Approval of invoicing for superintendent search services.

--Agreed to change the meeting date for the regular June board meeting to June 14 at 5:30 p.m.