HOPE – Back to School for 2021-2022 was on everyone’s mind during the Hope Public Schools Board of Education meeting Monday, the first day of classes for the year.
“I saw lots of engagement from parents, principals were active on their campuses, and masks were being worn by everyone,” HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley told the board. “Although there were some scheduling challenges at Hope High School, it was a great day.”
Dr. Crossley said the school year began with 2,025 students reporting to the five HPS campuses on Monday, although he anticipated the final enrolled number to be some 2,322.
He said COVID-19 concerns are still high on the district’s priorities with 126 active cases in Hempstead County, but vaccination rates have climbed to 24-26 percent.
Board President Linda Haynes echoed Crossley’s theme, noting she head numerous good comments from parents and saw students excited to return to campus after a year of COVID-19 related “pivots.”
“We appreciate all the things we see already to the start of the school year,” Haynes said.
Crossley also expressed his appreciation for the support he was shown during a welcome reception at Hempstead Hall for Crossley and newly-installed University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Chancellor Dr. Christine Holt on Sunday, sponsored by the Yerger Alumni Association.
“I’m humbled, I’m grateful to be here in Hope,” he said. “It was a great event.”
Board members also expressed their appreciation to Zone 3 Representative Margaret Moss for her work with the YAA to organize and moderate the event.
“The Yerger Alumni Association really appreciates you for supporting them and their putting on the reception,” Moss said in response. “We are happy to have both Dr. Holt and Dr. Crossley here in Hope.”
The board dealt with a laundry list of back to school items, including:
–Approval of annual Arkansas Department of Education Statement of Assurance regarding compliance with state education law and regulations.
–Approval of facilities use requests for class reunion and pancake supper.
–Approval of update to GoGuardian computer application contract at a cost of $26,437.13.
–Adopted renewal of Arkansas School Boards Association legal services contract.
–Adopted personnel recommendations to begin school year.
–Heard updates on negotiations for employee dental insurance contract; rebid of Jones Field House renovation; and plans for highlighting excellence across the district.