Hope Public SchoolsSchool News

Hope school board addresses end of year items

Allen Flowers, representing Omega Psi Phi fraternity of Texarkana, presented a mentorship program proposal to the Hope Public Schools Board of Education at its May session. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

HOPE – The Hope Public Schools Board of Education dealt largely with end of year matters at its May session May 16 at Hope High School.

Two executive sessions which dealt particularly with closed session discussions from April concerning classified personnel policy updates on drug testing, certain positions and classified travel reimbursement as well as a revision of classified compensation index and stipends schedule resulted in separate actions by the board.

Prior to the executive sessions, Rev. Alvin Hunter, who chairs the Personnel Policy Committee for the district addressed the changes in public comment to the board.

“We have worked to get these policies to you where they would be addressed for the 2022-2023 school year,” Rev. Hunter said.

He said discussions about differences between administrative recommendations and the PPC had generally been resolved relating to travel stipends and compensation index factors.

That discussion by the board was carried forward in the executive session Monday as HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley noted, “This is a continuation of last month’s discussion.”

The board adopted the classified policy changes but split the administrative recommendation on the compensation index and stipends, accepting four of the five recommendations and tabling the fifth.

After the second executive session of the night, the board adopted the administrative recommendation for personnel with the exception of a dyslexia therapy position which was withdrawn.

The board heard three presentations during the evening, including a report by Dyslexia Coordinator Karen Ivers, who said the HPS will have five certified language therapists, including two with master’s degrees next year.

Ivers said of the 369 students districtwide which the program has served since its inception in 2015, 259 have been at Clinton Primary School, 70 in grades 5-7 at Hope Academy of Public Service and Beryl Henry Elementary School, and 40 at Hope High School.

She said the program will celebrate its annual “Take Flight” graduation Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Hempstead Hall.

Allen Flowers of Omega Psi Phi fraternity in Texarkana addressed the board to explain a young men’s mentoring program to begin in the 2022-2023 school year that will include two groups of eight male students. Flowers asked the district to provide uniform tee shirts for the groups to be worn during meetings and at official events. He said the program will offer mentor guidance through guest speakers, including leaders in the local business community.

The board took no action on the proposal.

Southwest Arkansas Today, better known as SWArk.Today, President Jim Hawley, Vice President Mark Ross and General Manager Bren Yocom presented a proposal for a media partnership with the HPS, which Dr. Crossley said would segue nicely into the district’s Bobcats Work internship program.

The proposal particularly includes a technical linkage between the HPS and SWARKToday that will also direct input of school activities and events information, as well as create livestream coverage for Bobcat football and basketball games.

The partnership will allow SWarkToday to produce and sell advertising for the coverage as well as provide its own coverage personnel, according to Hawley and Ross.

“We want the students to be involved, we want them to come back and work for us after their college years,” Hawley said.

The board took no action concerning the proposal.

In other matters Monday, the board:

–Accepted the findings of its annual state financial audit.

–Adopted changes to student handbooks.

–Adopted a one-year extension to the food services contract of Aramark.

–Adopted a Statement of Assurances for the district’s special services program.

–Accepted a school choice transfer application into the district.

–Adopted an administrative recommendation from a student conduct hearing.

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