New school to be Hill Farm Elementary; secondary principals report to Board

By Jamie Miller

The newest addition to the Bryant School District was named Hill Farm Elementary School, it was announced Monday night by[more] the Bryant School Board at its regularly-scheduled September meeting.

All construction is on schedule for the new school as well as the ongoing high school project. According to Richard Stipe, Construction Manager, there has been $13 million spent to-date on the building which is close to 50 percent of the funding budgeted.

Karen Mitcham and Anne Taulbee were recognized at the meeting for their recent achievement of becoming National Board Certified teachers. Laura Cross was also recognized for her 25 years of service as the District’s Chairman of the Personnel Policy Committee.

It was announced that the number of AP Scholars in the District in 2011 was up 32 students as compared to the previous school year. In all, 53 students were congratulated on their achievement of scoring well on their Advanced Placement Exams.

In 2009, the Bryant District began implementing Response to Intervention (RTI) for students who were not finding success in the traditional instructional practices. There has been a noted growth in the 2011 test scores from all of the elementary schools in the district. As a result, RTI is beginning to be implemented in the secondary schools of the District as well.

Sue Reeves, Bryant Middle School principal, and her team presented the board with their plan to reach the students that sometimes “fall through the cracks.” Reeves explained that Bryant Middle School was “not seeing gains on tests scores like they would want.”

She also stated that there were 114 students that transferred to the school and almost half of them were below proficient in math and literacy. As a result, the school has double-blocked literacy classes for those students who did not score proficient and a sixth through eighth grade double-block math class.

Todd Sellers, Bethel Middle School principal, addressed the board with his team as well, stating that, “It’s all about catching kids before they fall through the cracks.”

Scott Curtis, Freshman Academy principal, explained that the Academy resorted to double block literacy and math classes as well for those students who need to bring their test scores up.
“We make relationships. Consistency is the key,” Curtis said.

Jay Pickering, Bryant High School principal, followed up by saying they too are having double-block literacy and math classes.

The next meeting of the Bryant Board of Education will be Monday, Oct. 17, at the Professional Development Center on the north end of the high school campus. 

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