From The Superintendent’s Desk

Buckaroo Nation, 

I hope everyone is enjoying the shorter days and the cooler weather as we head into November. Parent/Teacher Conferences were held on the afternoon and evening of October 20.  I want to commend our parents for their attendance at this important element of your child’s educational experience. It was excellent as some teachers found it necessary to stay beyond the 7 p.m. scheduled closing to finish all conferences. I want to thank our teachers, our staff, and our parents for making this day a productive one for all, which ultimately benefits our students.

STEM NIGHT

On the evening of October 25, Norphlet Middle School hosted “STEM Night.” Those in attendance participated in fun activities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. With over 300 visitors, STEM Night continues to be one of the highest-attended district activities scheduled by our schools. Local companies and businesses, whose products and services center around STEM, set up games, experiments, and projects in the classrooms of NMS, providing hands-on fun for students of all ages. The evening culminated with a laser light show in the Norphlet Gym sponsored by Lockheed Martin. We thank Mrs. Boerwinkle and the other faculty members that made STEM Night such a great success. We also want to recognize and express our appreciation for the following sponsors who contributed to our STEM Night: Lanxess, Aerojet-Rocketdyne, South Central Service Cooperative, SouthArk Community College Industrial Tech, SouthArk Community College Health Sciences, Murphy USA, Cross Oil, Delek, SAU STEM Center, Lockheed Martin, Army National Guard, and Smackover State Bank.

OCTOBER SCHOOL BOARD MEETING NOTES

The regular October school board meeting opened by honoring the Student of the Month, Alyssa Mae Thomas, as she led the board in the pledge of allegiance.  Mrs. Bernadette O’Guinn, principal at Smackover High School, presented Alyssa to the board and described her as a student who in a short time has become a role model for other students. As a student, Alyssa’s teachers describe her as attentive, respectful, and very hard-working, with great pride in her work. Multiple times she is described as someone who cares deeply for her fellow students and is eager to help them when needed. Congratulations to Alyssa for being selected as SNSD Student Of The Month!

  • Jane Doyle was selected as the district’s Teacher of the Month. Mrs. Doyle teaches Special Education at Smackover Elementary. Mr. Steelman, principal at SES, describes her as a teacher that “goes well above the call of duty and continuously does things that are not required or/nor expected to do.”  Congratulations to Mrs. Doyle, our Teacher of the Month!
  • Michelle Kinley was selected as the Classified Employee of the Month.  Mrs. Kinley is a reading interventionist at SES. She is described by her principal as “having a special talent for working with students who have individual needs.”  Congratulations to Mrs. Kinley, our Classified Employee of the Month!
  • The board approved Commissioned School Security Officer training for select employees in the district, adding yet another layer of security to our campuses. The plan calls for a group of current school employees to be trained in November with an additional group to be trained in the coming summer months. Trainees will receive 60 hours of intense instruction and practice in security standards that include de-escalation techniques, active shooter scenarios, medical trauma, intuitive shooting techniques, and law enforcement response integration. Once all training is complete, the District will have a team of over 25 highly trained commissioned school security officers with training at or above that which is required by our State Police. 
  • Approval of payment on the final invoice for repairs to the District’s central office was passed. The central office employees have moved back in and regular school board meetings will again be held at this building.  
  • The Superintendent’s Annual Report to the public was presented at the regular October board meeting. Topics including public engagement, district finance, accreditation status, licensure, professional development, district academic improvement, and federal programs, were all addressed. The full report can be viewed on our district website under the “State-Required Information” menu. 
  • At Norphlet Preschool, an asphalt drive leading to the backside of the preschool building was installed earlier this month. This should make pick-up and drop-off for these youngest of Buckaroos much smoother (pun intended).  Earlier this summer a new asphalt parking lot was installed on the north side of the campus.  These projects have improved the Norphlet campus both functionally and aesthetically.  
  • Mrs. O’Guinn gave the board an update on the progress of PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) at Smackover High School. Each month, a principal from one of the schools in our district updates the board on their school’s progress. She described Smackover High School’s progress as being ahead of schedule as many PLC teams have identified essential standards and are developing units around these standards.  

PLC UPDATE

In the spring of 2022, SNSD was awarded a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education totaling more than $300,000 for the purpose of implementing the PLC process in our district over the next 3 years.  The overall goal is to increase student learning in our district.

So what is a PLC?

PLC stands for Professional Learning Community. It is a process in which educators collaborate in recurring cycles to achieve better results for our students. During these “team” meetings, educators analyze student data and collaborate on best teaching practices for each student for which the team is responsible. Our goal is to make SNSD a community of educators who are continuously learning in order that our students learn more.   

Where are we now?

Currently, all PLC teams in our district are in the planning phase. Each team is in the process of determining the essential state standards that apply to its academic subject area.  

Terms To Know

“Essential Standard” – Essential standards are those state standards that are determined by PLC team educators to have skills and knowledge that are expected to be retained beyond the unit and course, can be applied in more than one subject area, are prerequisite skills for the next course or grade level, and prepares our students for high-stakes external exams. Units are developed around these essential standards to form a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all team educators to follow.   

As always, thank you for your support of our students, our staff, and our school district.

Go Bucks!

Robby Frizzell
Superintendent of Schools, Smackover-Norphlet School District