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Siloam Springs School District administrators are participating in a statewide book study and school improvement initiative from the Arkansas Department of Education.

Charlotte Earwood, director of school improvement for the district, presented the initiative to the school board on Feb. 14. It focuses on the work of education expert Robert Marzono and his colleagues and aligns closely with the district's strategic plan, which has been in place since the 2015-2016 school year, she said.

The Arkansas Department of Education announced in January that each building principal and one district official will receive a copy of "Leading A High Reliability School," by Marzano, Phillip Warrick, Cameron Rains and Richard DuFour, along with a workbook.

"The purpose, as you can see, is to provide us with a proven, research-based process for school improvement," Earwood said. "Quite honestly, this is part of our ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plan, this is what the ADE agreed to do in the plan that replaces No Child Left Behind."

The book includes a strategic planning framework for becoming a highly reliable school with five levels, starting with safe and collaborative culture, and spanning to include effective teaching in every classroom, guaranteed and viable curriculum, standards-referenced reporting and competency based education.

"I want you to be able to make a connection between our strategic plan that we have had in place since the 2015-2016 school year that we have had with high reliability schools," Earwood said. "You will see what we have been focused on aligns perfectly with this research that Dr. Marzano and his group have provided."

As part of the study, the ADE provided a survey for administrators, students and parents to help districts determine which areas they are lagging behind in and in which areas they are doing well. District level administrators worked with principals to distill the survey down to five questions, which will be added to the end of parent surveys already being administrated, Earwood said.

"Our use of this resource is just to do what we have been doing, perhaps a little better," she said.

The school board took the following additional actions:

• Approved the district calendar for the 2019-2020 school year, which included starting the first day of classes on Aug. 13 and ending the school year on May 22, with possible inclement weather days extending the school year to May 28.

• Approved a proposed budget of expenditures with a tax levy, which will not change from its current rate of 45 mills, for the fiscal year of 2020-2021. The budget expenditures, with the exception of bond payments which will not change, were estimated to increase by 2 percent.

• Approved a facilities contractor agreement with Aliza Jones for the creation of the district's six-year facilities master plan, partnership agreements, FEMA grant writing, facilities inspection and board meeting presentations as requested.

• Approved a list of school board policy changes recommended by the Arkansas School Board Association.

• Accepted the resignation of Leah Olson, high school English language arts teacher; Aaryn Whitney, Southside Elementary School third-grade teacher; Deborah Sisk, Northside Elementary School prekindergarten teacher; and April Brown, school psychology specialist.

• Accepted the transfer of one student from the Gentry School District to the Siloam Springs School District.

• Accepted the transfer of one student from the Siloam Springs School District to the Gentry School District, and two students from the Siloam Springs School District to the Springdale School District.

General News on 02/20/2019

Print Headline: District participates in state improvement initiative

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