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Dr. Bobby Hart Gets Ready To Begin New Job In Searcy, Says The People Make Hope Special

By Staff, 06/28/21 5:37 PM
Dr. Bobby Hart is set to begin his new job July 1st as Superintendent of the Searcy Public Schools.  He took some time out to visit a little about his tenure in Hope.
Dr. Hart said the highlight of his time in Hope was “getting to know, meet and to know…some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met”.  He continued, “From parents to students to teachers to community members, Hope is a very special town.  I know everyone from here realizes that.  The city of Hope…has welcomed myself and my family in…the one thing that always comes to mind when I think about Hope is people…the people are what makes this town so special, not just the people that have come from here and have gone on to do some really great things but the people that are here currently.  They’re all fantastic people”.
During Dr. Hart’s tenure, the Hope Public schools instituted some groundbreaking programs such as the Hope Academy of Public Service and the Hope Collegiate Academy.  He spoke about what prompted those programs.  “We really just wanted to meet a need and that need was to help kids get prepared and go to college,” said Dr. Hart.  He noted the degree attainment rates were a little below state average and the district wanted to boost those.  Dr. Hart also noted many of the students are first-generation college students and the district wanted to give them an “early indoctrination into what its like to be on a college campus”.  With the University of Arkansas creating the transfer scholarship, local students can take that hourly rate from Hope to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  “It’s makes a four-year degree an accomplishment that is doable for kids,” says Dr. Hart.  He said his successor, Dr. Jonathan Crossley, shares the goal that students leave Hope High with a an associates degree and high school diploma or a tangible certificate in a workplace readiness situation.
Dr. Hart began his superintendent career as public schools were transitioning to a rating system by the Department of Education.  He called that a “tremendous learning experience for me, both personally and professionally.”  Dr. Hart notes, “I think we’ve come out of it on the other side in a better place as a district.  The high school, at one time, was classified as being in academic distress.  I was able to learn how to advocate for our school system in front of the State Board of Education”.  He said no district is ever really failing despite standardized tests.  Dr. Hart says he thinks the district needed to lift up the entire community.  He says he is most proud of “the change of culture we’ve had over the last several years where there’s a focus on students and learning”.
Some of the programs undertaken during the Hart years have attracted students back to the district.  Dr. Hart says they didn’t intentionally plan on that but instituted those programs to take care of the kids already in the district.  He said some of the students outside the district noted some of these programs “were a good thing” and decided to take advantage of them.  While the state board of education turned down the district’s request for charter status, they did encourage the district to go forward.  Dr. Hart also lauded the partnership the district has had with UAHT.  He said the board of education gave them “a lot of strange looks but there was also a lot of encouragement”…so the Hope School District proceeded.  He said numerous districts have called to inquire about these programs and Texarkana instituted a collegiate academy the year after Hope.  Dr. Hart says this interjects energy into the district.  He notes the 2,250 students in Hope are worthy of “everything we can give them”.  Dr. Hart said the six campuses are filled with teachers who work extremely hard and are very well qualified.  He notes he doesn’t want the special programs to overshadow the district as a whole.
Dr. Hart says he hopes that people will ultimately say the district is in a better place because he was here.  He says he will have very fond memories of Hope.  Dr. Hart says he hopes people will realize if they work together, they can get a whole lot accomplished.  He said if they just do right by kids and families, there will be a successful school system.  Dr. Hart says if he leaves any legacy, it’s legacy of cooperation and a willingness to work with everybody.