LINCOLN -- Lincoln's superintendent of schools had good news for the school board last week.
Earlier in the summer, Superintendent Mary Ann Spears was a little concerned the school wouldn't have enough students for the elementary school's three kindergarten teachers.
The good news, Spears told board members prior to the start of school, was that the district had to hire a fourth kindergarten teacher for 77 kindergarteners, and may have to hire a fifth teacher at some point.
"It's a good problem. We're very excited about that," Spears said.
Another celebration, she said, was that all positions were filled, as of the Friday before the first day of school.
Lincoln has had declining student enrollment for several years. Based on the kindergarten enrollment, Spears said she is hopeful this year student numbers will go up. The first enrollment reports are due to the Arkansas Department of Education on Oct. 1.
The board on Aug. 16 agreed to a recommendation from Spears to use Architecture Plus of Fort Smith as the architect for upcoming projects. The first one will be a new ball complex for baseball and softball on the high school campus.
The school also is contracting with Aliza Jones as a consultant to help with looking at facilities and future needs. The district is required to submit a Master Facilities Plan by Feb. 1, 2022, and Jones will help with this plan, Spears said. Jones' fee is $5,000 per year.
Jana Claybrook, learning services director, presented the district's Ready for Learning Plan for the 2021-22 school year.
The district's priorities for the year include district operations and fiscal governance, facilities and transportation, academics, employee support, student support, communication.
The plan outlines covid-19 safety protocols for facilities, meals, transportation and athletic events using the latest health guidelines from federal and state agencies.
For the most part, children will eat their meals in the classroom or capacity will be reduced in cafeterias for older students.
The plan calls for using a disinfectant labeled as effective against covid-19. High-touch areas will be cleaned multiple times daily and increased personal protection equipment will be used by staff. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant will be available in classrooms.
Buses will be disinfected after each trip, with facemasks required for drivers and students.
The plan has four academic goals:
• Goal 1: Ensure that all students have access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum.
• Goal 2: Address unfinished learning from the prior year by using diagnostic assessments and resources.
• Goal 3: The district will use a learning management system.
• Goal 4: The district will offer ongoing teacher training for the learning management systems and blended learning.
For personnel actions, the board approved hiring Terri Mitchell for third grade, Alex Hall for middle school math and Jennifer Dye for kindergarten. It accepted a resignation from Josiah Hunnicutt, a middle school teacher and coach.
It also approved district to district transfers for three students to Lincoln, two from Prairie Grove and one from West Fork and approved a recommendation to increase the adult lunch price from $3.75 to $4.25. (This is a requirement from the federal level).