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Nevada program recognized by state

By Staff, 03/31/17 11:13 AM

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ROSSTON – Students in the Nevada School District are getting ready for state testing.

This was the message from Nevada Principal Michael Odom to the Nevada School Board at its March meeting Thursday. Odom said the district will be using the ACT-Aspire testing, but the district hasn’t been teaching to the test. Instead, students have been prepared for the testing format and time limits so they’ll be ready. “We’re trying to keep the students motivated by rewarding those who do well,” he said.

He bragged a bit on the district’s sophomores saying they were selected to participate in a study done by the University of Michigan on the topic “Monitoring the Future”. This study, he said, began in 1995 and is anonymous, though the results will be published. The district received $500 for its participation and the money will be used to reward the students.

At this time, Odom said, the district is focusing on zero and uncompleted assignments. The district began a program where students who had no zeros or uncompleted homework assignments were rewarded with a movie and popcorn. Those who had uncomplete homework or zeros were required to work to get caught up. Odom told the board this is being done by breaking up the nine-week system in half with students monitored every four-and-a-half weeks. The results, so far, he said, have been a drastic reduction in students with zeros or uncompleted homework. The last 4.5 weeks, he said, showed there were no zeros or incompletes in the seventh and eighth grades.

The program was reported to the Arkansas Department of Education, and Nevada is being watched as a pilot, as well as creator, of the program. According to Odom, the ADE is telling other schools about it.

He told the board there will be some students attending the April meeting to show off the technology they’ve been working on. April’s meeting will be the night before Nevada’s prom, scheduled for April 28.

Odom said the district has received a lot of calls concerning kindergarten registration. He pointed out the last day for seniors will be May 3, with graduation May 11. Kindergarten and sixth grade graduation will be May 25.

Superintendent Rick McAfee told the board the Arkansas General Assembly is in session and voted down a bill that would have required schools in the state to start after Labor Day and end by Memorial Day. This would have resulted in 18 fewer school days a year. The measure was fought by the ADE.

A voucher bill also failed in the House, he said, but may return as a Senate bill. If it passes, it will mean private schools would be paid around $666 per student using tax money. “This would be taking money public schools could use,” he said.

A bill was passed approving weapons to be carried at colleges and churches. The bill was also signed into law, but there are now efforts to amend the law which would allow schools, bars and churches to have “gun free zones”, especially around athletic events. However, anyone planning to carry a weapon would have to pass a course.

McAfee said the next three weeks of the session will be critical as the legislators will be passing bills simply to get them out of the way so they can go home.

The board approved changes to the new bleachers for the Nevada gym. McAfee said the end caps of the seats will all have Blue Jay logos on them and will look nice. He recommended the board go with Hussey chairs, saying Nevada would have the same type of seating the Razorback basketball team has in Walton Arena. Along with changes to the seating, which includes cup holders on the back of the seats in front of them, except for the first row, the gym will get new benches for the players on the floor and a new scorer’s table as the existing table won’t fit with the new dimensions. In all, the changes will cost an additional $13,936.24 more than the $125,000 budgeted for the bleachers.

Work on this project will begin when school ends.

Work on the gym’s ceiling will begin on April 17 and is scheduled to be finished by May 1. McAfee said the ceiling will be ready for this year’s graduation. The new ceiling will dampen noise in the gym, reducing it by at least half, making it easier for patrons to hear what’s going on.

The district is accepting bids for two or three old school buses. The board approved selling the buses two years ago, but had no takers. However, McAfee said, there has been some interest shown in them recently. One of the buses will run, but the other won’t. Bids will be opened at the April meeting.

The board accepted the resignation of the district’s special education teacher, who resigned for health issues. It also hired its licensed and classified personnel for the 17-18 school year.

 

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