Marked Tree School gives Annual Report to the Public

Friday, September 23, 2016

Before Monday night's school board meeting, Marked Tree School District gave their Annual Report to the Public.

During her section of the report, Superintendent Annesa Thompson said the district is expected to bring in over $4.5 million in revenue and spend close to $4.4 million in expenditures. Regarding facilities, she said they are currently reviewing bids for the gym's plumbing renovation.

The school is also doing some landscaping work. Thompson said the roses at the gym and between the ROTC and band room contracted rose rosette disease, which is caused by an airborne mite and is not reversible. The roses were pulled out, and new ones are scheduled to be planted in front of the gym in the next 30 days. Thompson said they want to fix some other landscaping issues to look good for the community because "a lot of people don't come into the school, but nearly everyone drives by the school."

Thompson said last year, the district applied for projects with the state to do some demolishing and replacement of sections of the elementary. She said the projects have been approved, but they do not know yet if the state will partner with the district on funding for those projects. She said those conversations are the next step of that process.

On school improvement status, Thompson said the Elementary and Middle School are both listed as needing improvement while the High School is achieving, though she pointed out the status is based on 2014 data. The High School's graduation rate, based on current data, is achieving.

MTHS Principal Matt Wright was chosen to lead a year-long learning initiative for high school principals throughout the region, and Thompson was invited to serve on the Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner's Advisory Group.

During principal reports, Wright said they had changed part of the focus of their core beliefs at MTHS. "Instead of education for all kids, we want to change to education for each kid," Wright said. He also pointed out that thanks to the College 101 class, half of this year's graduating class have already been accepted into either a two-year or four-year college in only the fifth week of the school year. Wright said this year's goal is to get $2 million in scholarships. Wright also said he had met with teachers across the state at ASU, and one of the topics discussed was an upcoming teacher shortage. ASU is graduating half the teachers they were three years ago, and Wright said they only graduated one math teacher this year.

During her report, Elementary Principal Lisa Gray said they implemented a new social curriculum this year to help the kids develop better social skills and are starting an after-school reading program this week.

Following the annual report, the school board:

*heard from Sarah Armstrong and two of her students, Emily Sharp and Aden Brooks, regarding science experiments they were doing in class.

*approved a five percent pay increase resolution.

*approved the 2016-2017 school budget.

*approved the Statement of Assurances. This is a list of 80 items that assures the state the district is in compliance with all their rules.

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