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PSD reports to public

By Staff, 10/18/17 9:49 AM


PRESCOTT – Robert Poole, superintendent of the Prescott School District, said students in the district are showing growth, as part of the annual report to the public.

The report was given at the end of the October meeting of the Prescott School Board Tuesday. Poole said the district needs to be realistic as not everyone will be able to score 100 percent on the ACT Aspire test, but the district should never stop striving or working to improve.

He talked about the federal programs and where the money from them is used, saying the district couldn’t do a lot of what it does without the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) and Title I funds, as these programs allow students to eat free, buy school supplies for students and equipment. “All of the money goes back to the students,” he said.

In talking about the ACT Aspire test, Poole said, eight grade levels were tested, grades 3-11, and, for the most part, all showed improvement in most of the tested areas, though not all scores were in the ready category. Some of the scores were in the not ready and needs support area. The areas are: reading, math, science, English and writing.

What has helped improve test scored, he continued, are programs such as the adoption of communities at Prescott Elementary School, the RTI intervention program and a mentoring program. Prescott High School, he added, has added more electives for students and has launched a reading initiative, but the greatest impact will be the Professional Learning Communities when this program is implemented.

Angie Barbaree talked about improving reading at PHS. She said to do this the Advanced Reading program has been reinstated, with students earning rewards for reading books. Those who read 10 books get taken to lunch off campus, but have to pay for their meal, those who read 15 books get to see a movie at PHS. The reward for students who read 20 or more books hasn’t been determined yet.

At the start of the plan, she said, all students were given the STAR reading test in August. A lot of students, she told the board, hadn’t read any books, while some had read at least one. Those who hadn’t read a book, she continued, showed a drop in their growth, while those who’d read at least one showed almost a year’s growth over a two-month period. The more students read, she said, the more they grow.

Ann Franks, PHS librarian, said book traffic in the library has probably quadrupled since school started with this program.

“I believe reading makes a difference,” Barbaree said. “I think increased reading will improve ACT Aspire scores.”

Tina Smith, with the Arkansas Department of Education, was on hand to talk about the PLC program during the regular session.

This program, she said, impacts students in ways that can’t be imagined, and the PSD is unique in being the only K-12 district in the state to pilot a PLC program. Other districts working with PLC’s target specific grade levels, not the entire district. “I expect to see the most growth here,” she told the board.”

While the district got a grant to fund the program, it received no money. Instead, the grant consists of resources and access to the Global library of PLC videos, while 20 members of the staff will go to events to learn more. The program began with a needs assessment of the district done. This was followed by a planning project based on the needs. “This isn’t a canned program,” Smith said. “It’s geared toward the needs of the school, students and staff.”

She pointed out PLC’s are an entire school culture involving students, teachers and administration with the primary goal to make sure all students improve, because, as she said, all students can learn. There will be interdependent teams working together and PLC trainers helping out. All PLC trainers are published authors and had to prove they could write to become trainers.

The program began at Adlai Stevenson High School and proved successful. In fact, Smith said, the PLC program has been successful everywhere it’s been implemented.

The PLC program, she continued, will change the entire culture of the district as it’s focused entirely on students learning at a high level. The program, she continued, should prevent students from falling through cracks in the system, and be able to catch problems almost immediately. She compared the ACT Aspire test to an autopsy, saying things can be learned from it, but the patient will still be dead. She compared the PLC program to visiting a doctor and being told what the problem is then and there, so solutions can be found faster. “This takes out all of the excuses. It’ll be hard work but you’ll be successful here.”

The board approved the 2017-18 annual equity compliance report stating the district will follow all required rules and guidelines. It also approved a resolution for the six-year master plan, which only has one item – a new elementary school.

Poole said the district is waiting for the ADE to approve the plan. When this is done a millage increase will be sought to help offset the cost of building a new school. He pointed out the state will pick up 65 percent of the cost.

The location of a new PES hasn’t been determined at this time. The district will be meeting with an architect to have preliminary plans drawn up. These plans will include restrooms in all classrooms, cameras in all classrooms and hallways, secure doors and will limit access to the building. He told the board the partnership program with the state will be going away at some point and all projects done afterward will have to be fully funded by the district. The PSD, he added, has taken advantage of this program for several projects, including a new roof that will be put on PHS, air conditioning for the Prescott Sports Arena and new seating in the auditorium. He reminded the panel passing the resolution doesn’t tie the district into anything.

A second resolution was also passed. Under Act 1120, any employee receiving 5 percent or more above of their annual salary has to be reported and approved by the board. Normally this involves stipends and teachers working extra duty.

Enrollment is up three from September. Overall there are 982 students in the district, with 529 in PES and 452 at PHS.


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