ES school board thanks Nelson's for gift cards

Thursday, December 19, 2019

By Haley Schichtl

At Monday’s December meeting, the Eureka Springs school board thanked Jim and Susan Nelson, owners of Nelson’s in Eureka Springs, for donating $25 gift cards to 88 school district employees, for a total of $2,200.

“It’s certainly a great thing for Jim and Susan to do for our employees, and it shows from them and others appreciation for the job they do,” board president Chris McClung said.

Each of the principals gave a report on what is happening on their campuses, beginning with elementary principal Clare Lesieur.

“We’ve completed our first ‘One School, One Book,’ and this year our first book was Zoey and Sassafras, which is a cute story about a young girl who has to use logic to heal magical animals that live in the woods around her house,” Lesieur said. “Our fourth-graders have been working on attending our Hobbs State Park educational program.”

She also discussed the new Student Lighthouse Team, which allows students to contribute their own voices and create action teams for issues they are concerned about in the school, similar to a student council. One of the issues they are talking about is revamping the lunch room.

“All of the K-2 teachers, support staff and myself have completed our R.I.S.E. training at the R.I.S.E. academy; it was six days, we went three this summer and just completed three this fall,” Lesieur said.

R.I.S.E. — Reading Initiative for Student Excellence — helps teachers promote a culture of reading.

Lesieur also said the school has begun using the Phonics First intervention program to teach students with dyslexia by using systematic processes for decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling).

Middle school principal Cindy Holt gave new literacy and social studies teacher Gideon Keas the floor to talk about what he is doing with his classes.

Keas said he is working with both classes on evaluating sources to do research.

“In social studies, we’ve been studying 19th century political activism. … The kids just finished a research paper today,” Keas said. “In language arts, we just finished reading The Hobbit. This week we’re focusing on how adaptations change the story, so we will be watching the 1977 Hobbit cartoon film this week and analyzing how the story changes in the adaptation.”

History teacher Jerry RunnerSmith spoke about activities at the high school.

“FBLA students recently put together over 20 Thanksgiving baskets for needy families,” RunnerSmith said. “Our National Honor Society students and Ms. Hyatt are working hard to fulfill all the local Angel Tree requests. … This year we had 150 requests, our biggest year yet.”

RunnerSmith said EAST student Hunter Chapman organized three days of mental health sessions last week during the students’ 20-minute advisory period so students could choose whether to attend them. The sessions were on coping with stress and anxiety, how to know if a friend needs help, and mindfulness.

“These sessions were put on by mental health professionals as part of our AWARE team with the AWARE grant,” RunnerSmith said.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the transfers of two students from Eureka Springs to Rogers. They also approved the hire of a new paraprofessional, Jamie Correia, after Jan. 6 to replace Patty Duffy, who will be retiring at the end of the semester.

The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, in the administration building.

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