HOPE – The Hope Lions Club learned recently that newly-installed Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley believes the HPS should be more than classroom instruction.
“Hope in Hope,” Dr. Crossley said. “We are on the precipice of something transformational in our community.”
Crossley believes the HPS should be the catalyst for support which allows its students and their parents to engage opportunities that benefit them directly, but primarily for the realization of each student’s educational opportunities.
“You need students leaving high school ready for the next step,” he said. “In a global economy, here in Hope we need to do our part.”
Crossley speaks in terms of “two generation education,” which provides support for parents for their children to utilize educational opportunities now available. He said he is investigating specific ideas such as expanding the social services component of the HPS; expanding the responsibility of principals, career coaches and guidance counselors in explaining opportunities and listening to parental and student needs; and “feeding opportunity to starve fear.”
Bringing that about will require an understanding from parents and students of expectations that go with their responsibilities while providing “cradle to career” opportunities.
Crossley said research shows that a child that is exposed to a higher number of vocabulary words in infancy usually does better than a child exposed to fewer vocabulary words.
He said many students are disadvantaged not because of a lack of effort, but because they have been taught through negative expectations.
“I can teach you how to play lacrosse by teaching you what not to do; but you would never learn to play lacrosse,” Crossley said. “We need for students to treat each other better and teachers not talking down to them.”
He said engaging parents to take opportunities for their children will require engagement that parents understand and are relatable. Large group meetings, for example, are not always effective if they are not relatable, he said.
“Let’s make it fun for both parties,” Crossley said.
Partnerships already in place create opportunities 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, Crossley said.
“You don’t need a perfect ACT score; you need to simply qualify,” he said.