Another teaching position has been approved at the Junior High School

An additional staff position was approved by the School Board during the regular monthly meeting Monday, Jan. 22. The position was requested to meet the demands caused by increased student enrollment in the seventh and ninth grades.

"This position will enable the campus to meet DESE standards for accreditation in regards to class size and teaching load with increased student enrollment in grades 7 and 9," according to the request presented by Dana Tabor, executive director of teaching and learning. DESE is the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education.

Both Jennifer Shields, ESOL coordinator, and administrators from the high school presented goals and objectives for their program and school.

Shields, who is in her second year at Pea Ridge, leads the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. She said ESOL is English to speakers of other languages. She said there are different needs and languages with some for students who are attending a school in America for the first time. She said there are students from Columbia and El Salvador as well as some who speak Chinese and Japanese. There are also four foreign exchange students.

Shields explained there are several levels of support and their are also aides for the younger students.

She said the program has grown by 40%.

"The work to not be a translator is critical," she said, explaining that the goal is to aid the students, not do the work for them.

"The work Ms. Shields has done, especially with our newcomers, is great," school superintendent Keith Martin said. "This may be their first experience with American public education. We need to support the families. We're seeing growth in areas we were not expecting and not much growth in the lower grades."

The School retired into executive session at 6:35 p.m., coming back into open session at 7:43 p.m.

Upon returning to open session, board members unanimously approved extending the contract for superintendent Martin for a year.

In other business, the School Board:

Approved adding a Jr. High teacher in the areas of science/computer science for the remainder of the 2024-2025 school year enabling the campus to meet the DESE standards for accreditation in regards to class size and teaching load with increased student enrollment in grades 7 and 9;

Approved out of state travel for Winter Guard to Reed Springs, Mo., on March 23 and to Nixa, Mo., on April 6, for eighth-grade band to Branson, Mo., on April 27, and for baseball to Jay, Okla., on April 4;

Approved board-to-board transfers into the district of Aaron Killen, Rogers, into fourth grade, and Jax Cray, Rogers, into first grade, and out of the district for Alivia Dorris, Rogers, 10th grade;

Approved hiring Vickie Moreland, custodian;

Approved transfer of Sheri Trevathan, secretary, from Primary School to Middle School at the end of the school year; and

Approved a resolution of support for the 2024 Facilities Master Plan for submission to the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation.