Collegiate, Professions Charter to be Sought

By Staff, 09/28/17 1:17 PM

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HOPE – The Hope Public School District will formally enter into discussions with the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana on Sept. 28 to create a conversion charter high school for grades 10-12 on the UAHT campus.

HPSD Superintendent Bobby Hart announced the formal discussions in an overview of the proposal before the HPSD Board here Monday night.

Hart said the discussions, which cap a lengthy pre-planning process involving HPSD and UAHT administrative teams, are set for Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. in a joint meeting of the HPSD Board and the UAHT Board of Visitors.

Completion of the plan is contingent upon approval of a formal charter conversion plan submitted by the HPSD to the Arkansas Board of Education in Little Rock.

Hart told the board that while 21.4 percent of Arkansans hold college degrees, ranking Arkansas No. 48 nationwide, only 12.2 percent of Hempstead County residents have degrees, based upon the 2010 U.S. Census and 2015 U.S. Census estimate.

“The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana and Hope Public Schools have entered into an agreement to develop an opportunity for students to earn up to 60 hours of credit while in high school,” Hart said.

Those 60 hours can be applied toward an academic associate degree or a licensed profession certification, he said.

The Hope Collegiate and Professions Academy will join aspects of the missions of the HPS and UAHT in a direct collaboration that creates a standing student body to be housed in the Johnny Rapert Library Complex on the UA-Hope campus.

The program will also integrate the service learning model developed through the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock for the Hope Academy of Public Service into its concept.

“Charter schools are public schools that operate under a ‘charter,’ or ‘charter contract’ which frees them from many regulations created for traditional public schools while holding them accountable for academic and financial results,” Hart said.

He said the “charter” represents a contract between the school’s sponsor and the ADE or State Commissioner of Education.

Hart said the HPSD will seek a “conversion charter” school status.

“Conversion schools can only draw students from within the school district’s boundaries,” he said.

The initial charter operates within a five-year window of authority.

Hart said students in the program complete credit toward an associate of arts degree and high school diploma at the same time without cost to the student or family.

“It’s going to be about what meets the needs of our students,” Hart said.

He said progress on the implementation of the plan will be reported to both the HPSD and UAHT boards monthly, and community stakeholder meetings will be conducted to develop local input into the plan.

“We have got to provide a method for our student population to get from where they are to where they want to be,” Hart said.

Also, Monday night, the board:

–Heard an overview on the accomplishment of three goals of the district’s strategic plan regarding student promotion rates; culture and achievement; and efficiency of resource use.

–Heard an overview from Arkansas Leadership Academy representatives Jerry Vaughn and Dr. Blaine Alexander on the progress of organizational leadership development within the district.

–Agreed to purchase band instruments and equipment from The Band House in Texarkana for the district’s music program at a cost of $39,120.12 per year over three years.

–Approved a statement of assurances required by the ADE.

–Approved a request by the Hope Lions Club for use of the Hope High School cafeteria on Nov. 3 for a chili supper.

–Accepted classified and certified resignations, including the retirement of Michelle Bittle as Yerger Middle School Assistant Principal.

–Approved classified and certified hires.

–Tabled for review action on a request for proposals to contract for district custodial services.

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