Officials report successful school year
By Kelby Newcomb
Carroll County school districts experienced significant growth and other changes this school year.
Superintendent Owen Powell said the Berryville School District has had a successful year, making progress on building projects and increasing security on campus.
“We’ve had a really good year and a safe year,” he said. “We’ve done several things to step up security, such as adding another school resource officer (SRO) and adding the certified school security officer (CSSO) program. I feel really good about that.”
He said they have also tightened security on some of the buildings.
“It’s been a very busy year with construction,” Powell said. “We opened up our new sports complex and hosted a track meet for the first time in a decade. Our kids also played for the first time ever on their own baseball and softball fields. Seeing kids compete at the new facility was really exciting.”
He said construction is underway on the new middle school cafeteria and media center and the new high school building.
“It’s great to see those structures going up,” Powell said. “The new middle school additions and the new high school will be awesome to have completed.”
Berryville had 123 seniors walk at graduation on Sunday, May 12, he said.
“It’s been a successful year,” Powell said. “I’m pleased with the first year of the C4 program. It’s nice to see it’s grown. We’re really happy with that.”
Superintendent Matt Summers said the Green Forest School District has had a successful year overall.
He said the high school graduated about 88 students this May.
“The school year is a marathon, not a sprint,” Summers said, laughing. “When you get to graduation and see the students walk across the stage, you feel like you’ve done something right.”
He said one of the biggest changes and challenges for Green Forest this year has been the growth the schools are experiencing.
“We added a new kindergarten teacher at Christmas,” Summers said, “and we’re adding a first-grade teacher next year. We’re adding positions and accommodating the growth as we need. It’s a good problem to have.”
He said the district also worked to increase security this year, adding two additional SROs for a total of four on campus and implementing the new CSSO program.
“I think the CSSO program had a very successful year,” Summers said. “Are there changes coming? Absolutely. We’ve learned lessons and will continue streamlining the program.”
He said the Green Forest School Board made it a priority to keep the district as safe as possible.
“We’re still learning lessons and growing,” Summers said. “Change can be painful. We want what we’re used to, but the world has changed. You don’t come to campus without seeing a police officer now.”
He said he attributes the successful school year to the staff, students and families who make up Green Forest schools.
“I want to thank the parents, kids and staff for a good school year,” Summers said.
Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said the Eureka Springs School District had an excellent school year and even experienced some growth.
“Our school has grown this year,” he said. “We’re going to be hiring two additional middle school teachers. We must be doing a good job, or else they wouldn’t be coming.”
Pruitt said the district worked on improving security this year, remodeling the elementary entryway to make the building more secure and adding a school resource officer (SRO).
“That has been a good thing for us,” he said.
He said the district has continued to work on its Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) building and also plans to do “a facelift on the elementary school,” improve parking and eliminate some drainage issues on campus.
“The elementary is not in bad shape,” Pruitt said. “It’s just time to do some work on the building.”
Eureka Springs has added new curriculum and educational opportunities this year, he said, such as the Connect 4 Program and the Med Pro Ed program at North Arkansas College in Berryville.
“Several students have taken advantage of those programs,” Pruitt said.
He said the district also purchased the American Reading Company (ARC) Literacy Lab curriculum for kindergarten through sixth grade.
“That was a big investment,” Pruitt said, “and we hope to see some results. We’re excited to see our report card at the end of the year.”
The high school graduated about 35 seniors Saturday, May 18, he said, and the district is looking forward to offering new programs and opportunities for students next school year, such as the completed outdoor classroom.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities for our kids,” Pruitt said. “We want them to come back wondering what’s new at the school. Everything is aimed at encouraging growth and helping our students be successful.”