PSB hears about Open Court, elections

By Staff, 05/24/17 10:18 AM


PRESCOTT – Sandra Evans returned to the Prescott School Board, replacing Herbert Adams who resigned for health reasons.

Adams took Evans’ spot on the panel when she declined to run for reelection years ago. She was also tabbed to be the board’s secretary during its May meeting Tuesday night.

Shannon Henderson, talked to the board about the Prescott Elementary School curriculum, saying PES has been piloting the Open Court program for the first grade. Two classes were taught Open Court, while two others were taught in the current method the district uses. When it came to identifying sounds, which is an important aspect of literacy, Henderson said the classes not participating in Open Court showed a 72 percent increase, while the classes participating in Open Court increased 94 percent.

She told the panel the Open Court classes had more challenges for the students than the other classes went through. Henderson pointed out during her time with the Prescott School District there’s never been a literacy curriculum, but one is needed. Teachers, she continued, want a consistent curriculum especially when it comes to the community program the district will be using next year. The idea is for all teachers to be teaching the same things so all the students get the same opportunities.

Open Court, she said, is a K-5 program that delves deeper and gets more challenging for the students each year. It also includes interventions for struggling students, and something for students who excel as well. The program includes: phonics, reading, writing and spelling in one block. However, the program isn’t cheap and would cost $104,000 for K-5 plus another $5,000 for professional development.

Henderson said Robert Poole, superintendent, talked with McGraw-Hill, the parent company, and managed to get the price dropped to $62,388 for the K-5 program, with the $5,000 for training separate. But, she added, the district would get $41,000 in free materials and professional development during the year. The program also has a digital version.

Poole told the board no action needed to be taken at the time, but it could address the program at the June meeting.

The board approved a resolution for school choice for the 2017-18 school year as well as a list of students accepted under school choice. The board was provided a list with 16 applicants and was told two were rejected and six students will be transferring out of the PSD.

Enrollment, the panel was told stands at 979, with 540 in PES and 439 in Prescott High School.

Poole read a letter from the facilities division of the Arkansas Department of Education congratulating the district on the success of the recent bond election. He told the board the district will be moving forward on the projects, but the roof at PHS will likely not be done until next summer when school lets out. The rest, he said, should be in place before school begins for the 2017-18 school year.

School elections are also coming up. Three seats will be open in zones 2,3 and 4. Anyone interested in running for the board can pick up a petition at the Nevada County Clerk’s Office at the Nevada County Courthouse. The filing period will be July 5-11, ending at noon on July 11.

In other business, the board approved the district going to a summer schedule of four days, from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday for June and July.

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