Food services funds are in the black
Ferguson credited with success
The Pea Ridge School Board met last week to discuss district business and review operations following the first week of the school year.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming semester and the work our staff is doing with our 2,200 students,” said Jeff Neil, board member.
Assistant superintendent Keith Martin began by presenting the Student Services Report.
He noted that, in years past, the district’s food service operated at a $170,000 deficit. This year, the program is creating revenue of $140,000.
Martin attributes the 180-degree improvement to Julie Ferguson, food services director.
“She has managed to improve service while also cutting food costs,” he said. “That money can now be used for salaries or updates on campus.”
Martin reported that the HVACs throughout the district are running, modular rooms are operating and there is a waiting list for pre-kindergarten enrollment, thus he anticipates the class will stay full throughout the year.
High School principal Charley Clark said the facility is dealing
with unprecedented student numbers but “academically things are great.”
Leslie Moline, Middle School prinicipal, said staff has been working to resolve scheduling conflicts. Students are excited about new electives and classes offered this year.
Intermediate School principal Sarah Stokes reported a successful and safe viewing of the solar eclipse. She also spoke about the school’s focus on individual teaching. After initial tests, staff will review the data to personalize their teaching approach rather than “teaching to the middle.”
Tracy Hager, Primary School principal, said staff has been busy with new students and the subsequent paperwork in addition to making home visits to students who were excessively absent. Assessments are currently underway and the Primary School is also focusing on personalized learning.
Barrett Robinson, with the Pea Ridge Academy, said students are adapting well to being on campus after the school’s recent relocation.
“It’s great practice because, ideally, we want to re-enter them into the school full-time,” he said. “For now, some take one normal class per day and others may take up to five.”
Athletic director Kevin Ramey told the board he is excited to see the results of the athlete’s hard work and practice.
“Character development, continual improvement and communication are our main priorities this year,” said Ramey.
Ramey reported 353 students enrolled in fall sports this year — up from 340 last year. He said he expects that number to reach 500 with the inclusion of spring sports.
In other business, the board:
• Voted to approve the Student Internet Policy, using the same Internet filtering programs as years past. They also voted to approve the renewal of yearly contracts including those for school cleaning and student counseling servies;
• Spoke about the Junior Police Academy that the Pea Ridge Police Department would like to host in conjunction with the schools. They hope to bring in guest speakers from regional FBI and Secret Service agencies as well as local law enforcement in an attempt to bridge the current disconnect between youth and law enforcement officers;
• Hired Morganne Rhine, first-grade teacher; Retta Shirley, Middle School instructional aide; Scott Sisson, fifth-grade teacher; Nichole Taylor, Intermediate School teacher; Taylor Jackson, eighth-grade English teacher; Lincoln Carlton, teacher/instructional aide; and Kyle Ogle, High School math;
• Approved transfers of Cassey Connior from High School teacher to ALE teacher; Mindy Bowling from master teacher to assistant principal of the Primary/Intermediate Schools; and Josh Reynolds from Middle School to High School teacher;
• Accepted personnel transfers from Bentonville to Pea Ridge. “The space is available to accomodate the teachers and students,” said School Board president Sandy Button;
• Accepted resignations of Jennifer Decelle, Antronette Brown, John Osmond and Lisa Henry;
• Approved an out-ofstate school trip to Cassville, Mo.