Three current members of the Pea Ridge School Board met Thursday, June 16, and elected the newest member, Jessica Branham, as temporary disbursing officer.
School superintendent Keith Martin said the position is essential for signing off on checks and the position will be for 30 days. He said after the board is filled with the two board members selected during the June 21 run-off election, the board will reorganize and select a president and disbursing officer.
Several personnel positions were approved after a brief executive session. Two new positions were approved and other matters of business were conducted.
The board approved creating a new position for a licensed mental health professional and a new teaching position for gifted and talented.
Dana Tabor, executive director of teaching and learning, presented costs for five instructional resources, four of which were renewals and one of which was new. She said all resources had been reviewed by a team of teachers for alignment with Arkansas Curriculum Standards and Frameworks. Resources approved were Great Minds - Wit and Wisdom, for kindergarten through eighth-grade literacy, for $36,800; Illustrative math by Kendall Hunt, student and teacher editions, for $42,775; Newsela, social studies, science and essentials packages, for $20,900; Edgenuity/Imagine Learning, virtual program coordinator for seventh- through 12th-grade virtual teachers, for $28,000; and, new, Transfr, career exploration and certification training program, for $25,000.
Assistant superintendent Anne Martfeld, said the Arkansas Division of Secondary and Elementary Education approved the district's application for School Based Mental Health certification. She said having a therapist on staff will allow the school to be an approved Medicaid site to employ and bill for services applicable to the federal guidelines for Medicaid. The therapist would provide services to students on a 225-day contract to ensure continuity of services throughout the summer and extended school breaks, according to Tabor.
The addition of a new teacher for Gifted and Talented will meet compliance standards for Gifted and Talented Education at the Middle and Primary Schools and complete the auxiliary staffing requirements for the Middle School, Tabor told board members. She said a grant funding professional learning for teachers for GT in kindergarten through third grade has expired.
In addition, the board:
• Accepted resignations from Dawnitta Henson, teacher, Primary School; John Crider, teacher, Middle School; Elizabeth Fletcher, teacher, Jr. High; Kendra Meeker, teacher/coach, PRHS; Wes Wilkerson, therapist, district; and Dylan Kinney, teacher/coach, Jr. High;
• Approved hiring Sarah Msall, instructional facilitator, district; Megan Harness, counselor, Middle School; and Amber Jackson, SPED aide, Jr. High;
• Approved transfer of Jessica Woods to instructional facilitator; and Amanda Shackelford, school-based mental health and social worker.
Several policy changes were presented to board members for consideration. Martin explained the changes are required by the state and must be in place by June 30.
Board members approved the memorandum of understanding with Sarratt Therapy Services, Project 479 and Cecila Bates (certified teacher of the blind and visually impaired) for the 2022-2023 school year.