Green Forest schools recognized by two education groups

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GREEN FOREST -- Green Forest School District Superintendent Matt Summers delivered good news to school board members Monday night: Green Forest students and teachers have been recognized for their achievement by two different education think tanks this year, he said.

Green Forest Elementary School was named a "Higher Performing School" by the National Center for Educational Achievement last month. The center analyzed test results for the past three years and adjusted for poverty rates to identify eligible schools. Only the top five percent in the state were recognized.

In addition to this distinction, Green Forest elementary and middle school students were recently ranked by the University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy among the top 25 high-poverty schools in the state.

The rankings were based on results of the annual Benchmark examinations, which were administered to grades 3 through 8 in April. Only those schools where 66 percent or more of students qualified for free and reduced price lunches were considered.

Green Forest Intermediate School place 15th on the list in literacy achievement and sixth in math. Green Forest elementary school placed 18th in literacy and 13th based in math.

Also Monday, the superintendent updated board members on the reroofing of Grim Gym, which is now complete. Though the work is finished, the job is still not totally paid for. On Monday, the board considered two requests for change orders, or payment in addition to the original estimate, from the contractor.

The first request was for $775 to correct electrical issues on exhaust fans; the second was for a $12,309.06 for the removal and disposal of an additional layer of roofing.

The first order was approved. However, upon recommendation by Summers, the board declined to approve the second. Summers said he did not think the requesst was reasonable, given the fact that the contractor was given sufficient time to inspect the building and develop an accurate and complete estimate before work began.

In other business, the board:

* Approved the renewal of business trip insurance for district employees and board members. The insurance was purchased from Educational Benefits, Inc., through the Arkansas School Board Association, at an annual cost of $310.

The policy will provide $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage for each of the district's 193 employees and board members or up to $300,000 for a common accident involving multiple deaths.

A supplemental policy will provide $20,000 in coverage for each of the district's five full-time bus drivers.

* Approved paying an additional $100 this year to color guard instructor and coordinator Jenna Mere, which will bring her total annual compensation to $650.

* Approved the second reading of a revision of the district's policy on student medications. The revision was recommended last month by the Arkansas Association of School Boards.

The second reading incorporated some minor revisions by school nurse Lana Boggs. The policy must undergo one more reading before taking effect.

* Approved several fundraisers -- including a bake sale by the cafeteria staff to fund a Christmas staff retreat and a donation collection by the student group Youth Alive to benefit a Green Forest family who lost their home last month to fire.

* Received the annual school district report to the public, delivered by Director of Instruction Andrea Martin. The report outlined academic and financial data for the 2011 to 2012 school year.

Editor's Note: A typographical error in the print edition of this story indicated that color guard instructor and coordinator Jenna Mere received a total of $650,000 in annual compensation from the school district. The actual figure is $650. The story has been updated to reflect that fact.

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