Board, school officials pleased with Accreditation Report

By Jamie Miller

The final Accreditation Report has been received from the Arkansas Department of Education[more] and all of 11 campuses in the district have come back accredited or accredited-cited. Officials with the Bryant school district were pleased with the report and the results as they announced the information at the May meeting of the Bryant School Board Monday night.

Base salaries within the Bryant district are increasing in the 2013-14 school year in order to meet requirements of Arkansas Code 6-05-307. The increase will be a 1.22 percent and will cost the district an estimated $419,909. All eligible contract employees that are actively employed under a valid board contract on or after May 20, 2013 will receive the increase in one lump-sum payment net of withholding for the 2012-13 school year in a special payroll as soon as a practicable following Board approval.

After the state of Arkansas passed Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2013, it became necessary for the Bryant district to adjust the district's policy accordingly. Overall, the new policy details the district's requirements for applying for School Choice. When students apply to be accepted into the district, if there is an open spot and room for the student at the time of regulation, the student must be accepted according to state law.

Act 1469 regarding home-schooled students was also passed by the Arkansas General Assembly during the recent session. The Act “allows home-schooled students to submit requests to public school districts to be allowed to tryout for participation in interns holistic activities."

The district's policy was amended to reflect the current state laws. The school board adopted both policy changes.

Over the past several years, the district has dedicated resources to advance formal communications. A communication audit was done and a Communications Director was hired as a result of these efforts. A Communications Plan was also cultivated and presented to the board by Devin Sherrill, the Bryant District Communications Director.

The goal of a communications plan is to bring the community and the district together by giving adequate and accurate information from the district to the public.

"It is a privilege and responsibility for the district to communicate with the community," Sherrill said.

A Bryant District app is even being presented in the fall of 2013 for just another way that parents can stay informed about what is going in the district and with their child's school.

"This will be especially helpful for those parents that do not have Internet access at home," Sherrill said.

Several seventh grade students from Bryant and Bethel Middle Schools were recognized for scoring 95 percent or higher on the SAT-10 standardized test by Duke University. These Duke "TIP" Talent Identification Program, students are then given the option to take a college entrance exam. The Bryant and Bethel Middle School students took the ACT in February and many students qualified for the Arkansas Recognition Ceremony at UALR this month because of their exemplary scores on the ACT.

Mina Akhnoukh, Madeline Cole, Rachel Duckworth, Megan Herbold, and Bryce Wilkerson were recognized from Bryant Middle School. Sydney Calvert, Carissa Colclasure, Katherine Evans, Reese Graham, Tehya Hinkson, Caitlin Lott and Hannah Red were recognized from Bethel Middle School.

Jill Gaither, a teacher at Salem Elementary, was recognized for earning her National Board Certification in November as well.

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