As we say goodbye to January and School Board Appreciation Month, I would like to say thank you one more time to our board directors for their service to our district. My eyes have been opened to the demands that are put on a school board director during their time of service. What’s even more impressive is that these civil servants perform this demanding job with no expectation of compensation. Lynn Birchfield, Damon Goodwin, Cliff Preston, Tuff Thomas, Dustin Bagwell, Stephen Crecilius, and Richard Ray, thank you for your service! You are appreciated.
Weather Impacts SNSD
Christmas Eve brought record-cold temperatures with gusty winds. This hard freeze caused water supply lines in both the SHS Mid-Level Building and the Norphlet Fieldhouse to rupture. In both locations, about half of the building was impacted by water damage. Restore-It was contracted to do the cleanup and repair, and after a week most teachers were able to return to a safe and dry room. We thank Markus Osborn and the Restore-It crew for their prompt response. I also thank our maintenance team and our custodial team for working some extra hours during the holidays.
On Wednesday, January 18, severe thunderstorms rumbled into the area, and with them the warnings of possible tornados. The Buckaroo Team did a great job putting severe weather protocols into action and keeping students calm. I have received several compliments from parents on how well this situation was handled. I too commend our team for doing a great job of keeping our students safe.
The week of January 30 brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Our district was lucky in that we didn’t receive the amounts of frozen precipitation predicted by many. Classes were canceled on Wednesday and a late start was observed on Thursday. Many times in these situations, it is necessary to wait until the last minute to make the decision whether or not to cancel school. For this reason, parents are encouraged to have a plan for their child in case of a late start, early dismissal, or cancellation of school. I also encourage parents to rely only on SNSD platforms for information regarding our schools. The SNSD Website, the Buckaroo Blog, and the Smackover-Norphlet Facebook page are the media platforms managed by the district and the only platforms parents should trust for school info. In situations of high importance or emergency, texts and/or voicemails are sent to all current parents and employees. If you are a parent of a current SNSD child and did not receive the texts announcing the most recent closings, please report this to your child’s school office.
January Board Meeting Notes
- The January regular board meeting began by recognizing our school board members for their service in honor of School Board Appreciation Week. Directors were treated to dinner before the meeting and given gifts from several groups within our district.
- Kaleigh Jerry was presented as the student of the month. In presenting Kaleigh to the board, Principal O’Guinn listed Kaleigh’s accomplishments which included her being president of both the Jr. Class and FCCLA. She went on to describe Kaleigh as hard-working, a leader, and a student who is genuinely interested in her classes. Congratulations to Kaeligh in earning the SNSD Student of the Month Award!
- Jerry Burns was chosen to be the Employee of the Month. Mr. Burns has worked in our district’s maintenance department for over 30 years. He also drives a bus for the district. Wesley Lucas, SNSD Director of Maintenance, presented Mr. Burns to the Board and described him as someone who always has a good attitude, comes to work early, and always answers his phone. Congratulations to Jerry Burns for earning the SNSD Employee of the Month Award!
- Holly Strickland, Director of Academic Improvement and HR, gave an excellent presentation to the board explaining our school letter grades that were revealed in December. Smackover Elementary, Norphlet Middle, and Smackover High School each received a grade of “C” for the 2021-22 school year. Mrs. Strickland explained to the board how these letter grades are calculated and the plans in place for improving these grades. Some of the areas of focus going forward include performance and growth on state standardized testing, graduation rates, attendance, and community service. For more information on ESSER School Letter Grades, go to https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov/ and search for the school of your choice.
- The Board was informed of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) start-up grant of $86,573.10 received by Smackover High School in the area of Nutrition and Dietetics. The purpose of this grant is to implement new CTE opportunities aligned with programs of study that meet industry needs. Grant awards shall be used to purchase equipment, required training, and industry-recognized credentials. Schools receiving a State Start-Up grant receive 85 percent of the cost to implement the program based on the minimum equipment list provided. The district is responsible for the remaining 15 percent
- The board approved the hire of Brandon Walker to teach P. E. at NMS and be an assistant coach in football and basketball. Coach Walker is a graduate of Prescott High School where he was a standout wide receiver. He went on to play football for Henderson State University and did his student teaching at Benton High School. We are excited to have Coach Walker and welcome him to the Buckaroo Family!
As always, thank you for your support of our students, our staff, and our school district.
Superintendent of Schools
Smackover-Norphlet School District