Back to School: Superintendents report smooth start on first day

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Mrs. Summers takes individual photos of her first-grade students outdoors on the slide Monday.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

The new school year had a smooth start at all three Carroll County schools Monday.

Superintendent Owen Powell said the Berryville School District had a great start Monday morning.

“We got classes going smoothly this morning,” he said. “It was great to see kids and faculty back on campus.”

Powell said Berryville has a lot to look forward to this school year, including completion of the construction on the new sports complex and the groundbreaking for the new high school.

“It will be exciting to see the groundbreaking on the new high school and middle school cafeteria,” he said. “Construction is ready to wrap up on the sports complex, and the Connect 4 program is looking good.”

Powell said it was great to see students at the Carroll County Career Center in Berryville on Monday morning.The Connect 4 program is offering junior and senior students from the Berryville, Eureka Springs and Green Forest school districts the opportunity to pursue a technical education during the school day. The program will focus on industrial maintenance, providing students with a cross-curricular background in different trades.

“C4 is looking good,” Powell said. “That and our construction project are the two most exciting things coming up this school year.”

Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said the Eureka Springs School District had a good first day.

“There are lots of kids here. It’s been pretty smooth up to this point,” he said. “So far, it seemed like the kids were all happy to be here. When you talked to them yesterday, they wouldn’t have been happy about coming back.”

Pruitt continued, “I’ve walked through the halls today, and the kids are all in their classrooms, working and smiling. Our teachers had a good break. It looks like they had a good smooth day and a good start back.”

The first day back was productive, he said, and didn’t have any major hiccups.

Pruitt said Eureka Springs has implemented a new curriculum in the elementary school, the American Reading Company (ARC) Literacy Lab.

“We’re excited to see how that goes. Our teachers are on board,” he said, “and we think it will be exciting for our kids to get to look at a new curriculum and learn not only as a classroom but also individually. We’re excited about that.”

Pruitt continued, “In high school, all of our students will be able to take their Chromebooks home, so that’s a nice addition there.”

He said the district also had about five students going over to Berryville for the C4 program Monday morning and will have some other students going to the North Arkansas College (NAC) Berryville campus next week for the MedProEd program.

“There are lots of opportunities,” Pruitt said. “We want to get in the classroom and work hard to get the students prepared. Hopefully, they will be successful when they get out, and good results will come in the end.”

Superintendent Matt Summers said the Green Forest School District had a good start to the new school year Monday.

“It was very busy this morning, of course… lots of smiles,” he said.

In the elementary school, Summers said the teachers did a lot of tours Monday, showing new students the different parts of the building. High school students had an orientation for each grade, he said, and each building covered a lot of procedural information.

“If you get all those expectations out of the way on the front end, you can get to the learning faster,” Summers said.

For the teachers, he said the first day back is always a high-energy day.

“You go into education to help kids, and here they are,” he said, laughing.

He said he expects class sizes to increase across the district this year. He said there are about 108 kindergartners this year, making for about 50 more students on campus than last year.

He said the district has a lot to look forward to this school year, including participating in the C4 program. He said about 10 Green Forest students are enrolled in the program. For half the day, the students will be in core classes, and the other half of the day they’ll be in C4 classes, he said.

“We think that’s a great number,” Summers said.

He said he believes the program will grow over the years.

“We’re really excited about that,” Summers said.

This Friday, Summers said, the Green Forest School District will dedicate the football field in honor of retired coach Bill Gotto. Summers said he anticipates a lot of Gotto’s former players, friends and family members will attend.

Overall, he said Monday was a smooth first day back.

“It seemed like everybody was ready to get back,” Summers said.

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