The Hope School Board met in the Administrative building on Monday (8-21). The minutes were approved and the expenditures which were seconded and passed.
Dr. Crossley reported the 3rd and 4th grade math levels have jumped. Overall, the Elementary scores are up. Middle School writing is up, and Hope High reading scores are up particularly in 9th grade.
When asked what his biggest concern was Dr. Crossley responded grade level material being taught. Middle level has a long way to go in reading. In Math, the expectations are there but the strategies may need to be tweaked. There is a new assessment for which the network hasn’t been fully built out except for science. It should be a two-year process to really know where the district is. Mr. Powers asked how damaging were the COVID years with the response that the district took a hit with standards and in terms of behavior. While 3rd and 4th have gone up, there is a gap from 2019. Reading scores need to be focused on and Dr. Crossley expressed a concern over having expectations without providing the skills. Dr. Crossley talked about his own teaching experience and said while there has been growth there needs to be more.
At the meeting was Hosea Born who spoke of the need to empathize with the youth rather than assign blame as they are facing definite challenges. Born, who grew up in Missouri and went to Fayetteville, taught here with Americorps. He is opening up a center here called Rocktown of Hope. It will be an after-school program with parent involvement desired. Born asked for a letter of support from the school district and help getting through the first year in terms of staffing, transportation and partnership. Rocktown is applying for a T-Mobile hometown grant. This would enable the center to install HVAC, shelving and benches. The center would be open 5 days a week and will serve 60-80 students. If partnered with the school district they will work with the district to identify which students need extra help. Rocktown wants to target high poverty students as well as students of single mothers. Born was asked who else they were connecting with in terms of grants. He talked about having completed Americorps and that he will bring those connections. Born also said he hoped to work with organizations such as the Lions Club. Plans are for the center to hire people and do background checks on them, bringing in both certified and classified staff. It is working with 21st century funding and is located on 105 W. 2nd St. In Hope.
The Board Members response to the book, “The Energy Bus” and their vision for Hope Public Schools was the next topic with the statement about the need to have a vision for anything you want to accomplish, be positive and have goals. To accomplish things working together is essential. When asked what their vision was Board Members responded, “For each child to work to the best of their ability and be productive citizens, have to have structure, must provide structure.” The board must not get complacent and comfortable and not want to change. Bubba Powers stated he wasn’t sure that he agreed that writing, reading and arithmetic were the “end all” and talked about the pride and respect the community needs to have. Mr. Courtney said he doesn’t get bent out of shape about campus scores because they don’t tell the full story. Student grades is his focus. Bubba Powers said there seems to be more joy from the graduating class in recent years. Ms. Moss said her vision was to see student improve their reading skills and said it hurts to see the students graduate without being able to read.
The program Great Minds, additional consumables, for second and third grades were discussed and there was a motion by Mr. Courtney to accept the program. this was seconded and passed.
Personnel was the last topic of the meeting with one resignation and two new hires. After a closed executive session there was a motion to accept by Ms. Johnson, which was seconded and passed.