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Crossley outlines state of HPS

Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley presented the annual HPS Report to the Public here Oct. 18 in the Hope High School auditorium. The presentation is an annual requirement by the Arkansas Department of Education to provide overview information concerning local school districts in Arkansas. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public School

By Ken McLemore

HOPE – Working from a Powerpoint presentation that reflected the optimism of the Hope Public Schools as a community of students, faculty, staff and stakeholders, HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley presented the 2021-2022 HPS Report to the Public at Hope High School Monday evening.

“In an ever-changing world in the 21st Century, we have to have a way to address the challenges that occur,” Dr. Crossley said. “This represents where we are as a district, our vision: World class students, world class learning, world class citizens. World class; that’s where we want to stay.”


With a current enrollment of 2,295 students across seven campuses, the Hope Public Schools reflects a demographic that is 43.96 percent African-American, 33.15 percent Hispanic, 19.72 percent White, 2.67 percent Two or More Races, 0.36 percent Asian, and 0.14 percent Native American/Alaskan Native.

The district employs 190 certified faculty/staff, 126 classified personnel, with a teaching faculty average experience of 14 years.

“I think the average years of teaching here is very high; that’s good,” Crossley said.

Clinton Primary School is the largest campus by enrollment with 902 students, followed by Hope High School with 640 students, Yerger Middle School with 225 students, Hope Academy of Public Service with 220 students, Beryl Henry Elementary School with 201 students, Hope PreK with 83 students and the Creative Action Team School with 24 students.


The district is currently engaged in initiatives, including RISE literacy; energy savings partnership with Entegrity and development of solar power capacity; Magnet school grant planning; state-approved digital learning plan; ESSER budget plan for COVID-19 learning loss; and COVID-19 vaccination initiative and incentives, among others.

“The magnet grant is a $15 million grant to change and improve programs across the district,” Crossley said.

The district has been active in its response to COVID-19 and continues to monitor and respond to changes in Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance at both the district policy level and the campus implementation level.

“Gretchen Carlton at the Bobcat Clinic has done a great job as our Point of Contact to keep our numbers down,” Crossley said.


District fiscal operations reflect a projected ending balance for 2021-2022 FY of $4.5 million on a total operating and debt services budget of $17.6 million, with some $800,000 transferred to district building funds.

“If we do this activity, we should be able to fund and not wait on the state to fund our projects,” Crossley said.

Those figures represent an increase in minimum teacher salaries to $36,000 annually ahead of the 2023 mandate of HB1145; an increase in minimum hourly wage to $11 ahead of mandate of AR Issue 5; increases in projected ending balances since FY2019; and an addition of $720,000 to the district building fund.

Federal funds will represent some $4 million-plus in fiscal resources in FY 2021-2022.


Crossley said the district utilizes curricula both in-person and virtual that are based upon ADE Essential Standards. He said the district will adopt new English Language Arts for K-12 and Social Studies 5-12 curricula in 2021-2022. New math and science curricula will be adopted in 2022-2023.

Literacy programs will focus upon all students learning to read on grade level and increasing reading scores on standardized testing by 5 percent, with a 10 percent increase in students hitting grade level in 2022. Math programs will focus upon measurable growth by the end of 2021-2022 that reflects growth in all academic areas.


The HPS is now 1-1 in Chromebook or Chrome Tablet technology for all students with an ongoing upgrade program in place in a 3-5 year plan. Google Workspace for Education and CLEVER provide platforms for faculty planning, classroom use and web-based learning. ESSER funding has facilitated implementation of interactive learning displays for all classrooms; network rewire of all campuses; upgrade/replacement of telephone/intercom systems; upgrade of critical networking hardware; and purchase of equipment to facilitate video production through social media and the web for all campuses.

The district has revamped its communications and engagement sector to emphasize HPS as a “district of excellence” and continue to engage the Hope community through forums and other means to produce measurable, actionable feedback.

“We’re using our ESSER funds to make sure over the next four years our teachers have the technology they need in their classrooms,” Crossley said.


Special Services programs will benefit from new hires, contracted services and social, counseling and academic/career path services.

“It is our hope that by January all of our teachers will be trained in Trauma Informed Schools,” Crossley said.

Health services through the Bobcat Clinic maintains a base of 573 registered students, with 1,708 physical health visits and 1,358 behavioral health visits completed, 903 COVID-19 tests performed, 216 sports physicals provided and 63 immunizations given.


The district has begun a complete operational structure reorganization that will streamline the lines of action and communication within and across departments. New hiring norms and procedures are also being implemented.

“This will allow us to hire the most highly-qualified personnel,” Crossley said.

Evaluation processes will incorporate administrators in hands-on collaboration.

“Principals will walk the halls together to see what is being done on each campus,” Crossley said.


Facilities and transportation upgrades are ongoing throughout the HPS, including environmental upgrades, roofing upgrades, solar power initiative, bus fleet upgrades with adjustments to routes accordingly, and transportation data software upgrades to better serve student safety.

Crossley said the overall vision of the district is more clearly focused upon providing a better future for its students through increased enrollments in the Hope Collegiate Academy and Hope Career and Technical Education programs at the University of Arkansas-Hope and the Hope High School Concurrent Credit Program.

“I’m super excited about the progress I’ve already seen,” Crossley said. “And, what I have seen makes me proud.”

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