Back to School: Local superintendents anticipate exciting, successful school year

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Green Forest second-grader Allie Tipton clutches her supplies for the first day of school on Monday. See more photos on Page 7.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

Carroll County students are taking their first step into the new school year this week, and the path ahead looks promising.

Green Forest students returned to class Monday morning, and superintendent Matt Summers said that the first day was a smooth one.

“The start of the day has been fine. There have been no major issues at all,” he said. “The first day back, that morning bus route is always a concern, and breakfast and lunch are always concerns, too. There have been no issues there, so we’re good.”

Summers said there is some growth in enrollment for Green Forest High School.

“That’s exciting. It’s an area where we’ve not seen as much growth as we have in the lower grades,” he said. “Today’s numbers really aren’t a factor because the first day is kind of sketchy. I think a week from today we’ll know where our numbers are. I don’t anticipate us slipping. I see us being right where we were last year, maybe a little larger.”

Enrollment is going to change between October and January this year, he said, because of the expansion of Tyson Foods in Green Forest.

The district already has some exciting events coming up in the next few weeks, Summers said, including a visit from Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

“Gov. Hutchinson will be visiting our high school students for a 20-minute assembly,” he said. “Then he will be going into our computer science classrooms, visiting with students and looking at what we do. We do our computer program through Virtual Arkansas, and we hope to have a live feed that day.”

Summers continued, “They reached out to us and said ‘Could we come to your school?’ We said ‘Absolutely!’ His topic is going to be computer science and coding.”

Green Forest schools will also be holding events on Monday, Aug. 21, on all campuses in connection with the total solar eclipse.

“It’s going to be a busy second week of school,” Summers said. “Right now, we’re just excited. It’s been good so far, and we’ve had no issues.”

Berryville students will be returning on Wednesday, and superintendent Owen Powell said that Berryville staff members have been hard at work preparing for the students’ return.

“We started last Wednesday, and we have had five days of teacher training and professional development that carries through this Tuesday,” he said. “We’ve had a very positive start. I feel like our staff is excited to get the new year started.”

With several new faces among the staff and new programs being rolled out on the different campuses, Powell said this will be a year of great change for the school district.

“I’m really pleased with the new staff that we have. I think it’s going to be a great year,” he said. “We have a lot of exciting things coming into play this year, such as the high school going one-to-one with its technology. That’s really big. We’re super excited about that. Our students are going to love it.”

The high school will also be switching to a seven-period day, he said, and incorporating Bobcat Time, which will be used for intervention, remediation and mentoring.

“Having that Bobcat Time is really going to benefit our students,” Powell said. “I’m really excited about all that, and then the possibility of building a new high school and other facilities is awesome.”

He said the district will also be working with the Green Forest and Eureka Springs school districts to develop the Connect 4 program, which will offer technical education to interested junior and senior students.

“It won’t start this year, but we’re going to work on it this year and have it ready to go for the 2018-19 school year,” Powell said. “There are a lot of exciting things going on in Berryville schools. I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction in a lot of ways.”

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: