February 14, 2014

February 18, 2014

The annual board workshop is this weekend, Saturday February 22 from 9:00 to 3:00 in the Elementary School Training room.  Topics to be covered include student safety, teacher retention, common core state standards, parent center, ALE options and general discussions.

If you would like to know more please let me know.

John Gray


Dear Parents,

Today I sent this email (see below) to all our school staff.  I thought parents and community supporters would like to see it as well.  I have not included the attachments as I have not worked out how to do it with this new blog system we are using.  Anyway, if you would like to email me I will send you any attachments you would like. 

When you read the email you will see that the administrators are asking for feedback and ideas on several projects we are working on.  Please let me know your ideas or one of our administrators.  We meet weekly and share the information at that time.


John Gray
Dear Staff,
I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what was going on around the District.  There are many things happening right now that the administration have been working on.  I would like for you to be part of the process.  I value your ideas and suggestions as I believe the more people involved will make these plans the best they can be.

The administration has put together a draft 2014-15 school calendar to share with everyone.  It is attached.  If you have improvements please see your PPC representative or an administrator.  We plan to sit down before the next board meeting to see if we can come up with one excellent calendar we can present to the Board.

We continue to work on security for our buildings and planning for the State-required active shooter drills.  Recently we put together a draft active killer (shooter) policy.  This has been based on training we have received from The Criminal Justice Institute (UALR) and material from Homeland Security.  I have shared the draft with our local Police Chief and our SRO.  This will become part of the district crisis plan.  Please take a look at it and let your administrators know your ideas for improvement.  I know they are planning to discuss this with you and the building crisis committees.  I will send the attachment in a separate email.

The Principals ended our last administration meeting by discussing the need to start our student handbook updates earlier this year.  I know they will be putting together a committee to work on it.  They will also be requesting input from each of our schools.  If you have ideas and suggests please let  your administrator know.

Similarly, this is the time of year we start working  on next year’s school budget.  The process we use is for the administrators to get together and look at our test data,  formulate  ACSIP plans, the previous year’s expenses, anticipated enrolments and what improvements we would like to suggest to the Board.  This is a good time of year to let your administrator know what your needs are for next year.  It may be you need to have an updated computer, reading books,  furniture, reference books, etc.  There are no guarantees to what we can afford in the budget.  There is one guarantee that if they do not know about your needs they cannot  budget for it.  I know our PD funding has been cut for next year by the state.  This was to help to pay for health insurance.  That means there will be changes in that area.  I also know that we now need to start adding digital classes in the High School due to a new law.  Our enrolment has remained stable so our staff increases will probably be minimal. 

It is also the time of year we send out the letters of intent to all staff.  We do this so we can start  preparing contracts for next year and plan our future staffing needs.  It helps if you can be as informative as you can on the attached letter.

We have two ALE opportunities from the Arch Ford Co Op.  Jason Birkman attended the last administration meeting to find out our interest on these two opportunities they are starting for next year.  The first is a K-6 ALE program for high-need students that would be based in Conway.  I think it will be called the Crossroads K-6 Program.  It will be a joint effort with Conway, Greenbrier and Vilonia participating.   The second is a 7-12 ALE program also located in Conway.  It will be for high need ALE students and would involve on-site counseling services by Point Behavioral Services.  This would also be another joint effort with various school participating.  Mrs. Watts, Mr. Pipkins and Mr. Logan have the details of these two opportunities for some of our high need students.

I am currently working on the High School Principal vacancy.  If you would like to be on the interview panel please let me know.  I will be selecting the members of that committee early next week.  The process will require some after school hours work so keep that in mind if you are volunteering.  I have a list of about 20 applicants at this time.  They are still coming in.  The process will go like this.  I plan to meet with the committee early next week.  We will formulate an employment rubric.  Then we will go through the applications and make a short list of applicants.  Then I will ask committee members to call references on each of the short list candidates.  After that we will meet again and decide on which candidates to interview.  After the interview process we will have a candidate to recommend to the Board.  Drop me an email if you would like to participate. 

Finally, we are working on updating the District Special Education Handbook.  Our new LEA Supervisor (Jill) has reviewed it and we have it reviewed by ADE as well.  I will send this attachment in a separate email.  Please look over it.  We are looking for ideas to improve it at this time,  then we can take it to the Board for approval.

That is all for now.  Have a Happy Valentine’s Day.  Let me know if I can provide further information on any of the above.


John Gray