HOPE – The educational philosophy of the new superintendent of the Hope Public Schools can be boiled down to one word: ALL.
Dr. Jonathan Crossley brought that point to the Hope Kiwanis Club here Tuesday.
“We’re talking about generational education,” Dr. Crossley said. “We’re talking about putting students in the pipeline to make that generational change.”
He said concepts such as the Hope Collegiate Academy, The Hope Career and Technical Center and the Hope Academy of Public Service are parts of a whole that includes all six campuses of the district… all of which make the Hope Public Schools work.
“Let’s re-imagine what a high school diploma looks like,” Crossley said.
Utilizing the college ready approach of HAPS, the immersive college experience of HCA and the CTC, along with concurrent credit study at Hope High School, Crossley said the district has the tools to provide every student with the “next step” preparation necessary to thrive beyond high school in this era.
“Picture a student in your mind; any student, and think about that student for twenty seconds,” he asked the Kiwanis members. “What do they deserve?”
The answers revolved around three concepts: first, whatever is best; second, whatever provides opportunities; and, third, whatever offers support and guidance.
Crossley said those were the tenets at the heart of what he intends the HPS to become by building upon what is already possible. He said the student he thinks about is his father.
“He stepped away from high school to assist the family with paying the bills,” Crossley said. “He had a rough time navigating the system and administrators and teachers did not provide the needed supports to help him.”
Crossley said his father eventually overcame that barrier in his hometown in South Carolina, but the pain stuck with Crossley and pushed him to obtain an education.
“That drives me to want to support students better today,” he said. “All students deserve our best; just like my father did all those years ago. We have to be close to the lives of our students if we want to help them.”
Too many Hope parents and students are not getting the best they deserve because they do not know or understand the opportunities and support available, he said.
“When we call parents and students and tell them about what is available, they don’t know they qualify,” Crossley said. “We need to get that word out, and that is a community issue.”
Partnerships already in place have built the foundations for all students in the Hope Public Schools to graduate from Hope High School with transferrable college credit, an AA degree from the University of Arkansas-Hope, a skilled trade certification from UA-H, or readiness for entry into the military.
“I think we are leveraged to do some great things with what we already have,” Crossley said. “It’s time to make the whole thing a comprehensive strategy and get everybody on the same page.”