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State Recognizes Lincoln Elementary's Reading Program

by Lynn Kutter | May 1, 2019 at 5:00 a.m.

LINCOLN -- Lincoln Elementary School has been nominated for a state award for its reading program.

Lincoln was one of four schools in Northwest Arkansas selected as a pilot school for a state reading program called R.I.S.E. Arkansas, or Reading Initiative for Student Excellence. Teachers attended initial training the summer of 2017, and the school began offering the program during the fall.

2019-20 School Calendar

Aug. 14 — First day of school

Nov. 25-29 — Thanksgiving break

Dec. 23-Jan. 2 — Christmas break

March 23-27 — Spring break

May 22 — Last day of school

Since the launch of R.I.S.E. Arkansas, more than 10,000 kindergarten through 12th grade teachers around the state have received training for the program and more than 350 schools have been named R.I.S.E. schools, according to the Arkansas Department of Education's website.

Jill Jackson, elementary school principal, told Lincoln School Board members about the nomination during the board's April 15 meeting. Jackson said a team from the education department will spend a day at the school to learn more about Lincoln's journey and evaluate its program.

Kimberly Friedman, the education department's director of communications, said by email that about 20 schools were nominated for R.I.S.E. awards this year. Lincoln was nominated by the local literacy specialist with the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative.

"The ADE is conducting site visits to determine the successful implementation of the R.I.S.E. Academy and the Science of Reading principles in the classroom," Friedman said, adding the department is looking for model programs to recognize.

Awards will be announced at the ADE Summit this summer.

The overall goal of R.I.S.E. Arkansas is to encourage a culture of reading statewide through community partners, parents and teachers and to establish the importance of reading in homes, schools and communities.

The R.I.S.E. program is based on the science of how children learn to read. Children learn to read through movement, touch, visual and auditory.

Michele Price, Lincoln Middle School principal, gave the board an update on the school's plans to be a part of a pilot program called Opportunity Culture. The program is designed to help retain quality teachers with extra pay for taking on more teaching responsibilities.

Price said a team will conduct "behavioral event interviews" with candidates who have applied to be lead teachers in the pilot program. The team includes Jana Claybrook from the administration office and others from the department of education.

Teachers chosen as lead teachers will be responsible for more students and will be compensated for that. Price said the school administration is still working on all the details for the program. She said a teacher will not be given more students if it is not a good fit.

Price said she hopes lead teachers will come from within the district but if there are not enough in-house, the school will open up the interview process again for applications from outside the district.

Superintendent Mary Ann Spears said Opportunity Culture is a "win-win" for small districts like Lincoln.

"Hopefully, it's the state's answer to the teacher shortage and teacher retention," Spears said.

Price said the program also offers a career path for teachers who do not want to be principals.

"We have to market it," Price said. "This is a good way to grow our teachers."

Above and Beyond awards, given to outstanding educators and staff, were handed out. Ashley Kersey, Lincoln High School counselor, received the award for March, and Jennifer Huffmaster, middle school media specialist, received the award for April.

The awards are sponsored by Sam's Furniture and Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. Each recipient receives a $100 gift card to Sam's Furniture.

In other business, the school board approved a Crowd Funding policy, which states that any materials and other items purchased through Crowd Funding or a Donors Choose format for the school will be retained as school property.

Personnel action included hiring Karen Eubanks as middle school counselor for the 2019-20 school year. The board accepted resignations from Erwin Starts (teacher/coach), Kristen Salinas (choir teacher), Rebecca McAfee (GT coordinator) and Caitlyn Clark (elementary music).

General News on 05/01/2019

Print Headline: State Recognizes Lincoln Elementary's Reading Program


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