Friday, April 15, 2016

TOP STORY >> High performances recognized

Leader staff writer

Schools in Cabot, Beebe, Searcy and Jacksonville were among those in the state that are divvying up more than $7 million because of their outstanding academic performances and growth in 2015.

Schools in the top 5 percent are receiving $100 per student. Schools in the Top 10 percent are netting $50 per student. This program is unique in distributing funding directly to schools, as opposed to the district level.

“This is the second consecutive year that we are one of the highest rewarded districts in Arkansas. There are just a lot of good things happening in Cabot schools,” said Dr. Tony Thurman, superintendent of Cabot schools.

“We have made the decision that the reward funds will go back into doing good things for kids. We will purchase Chromebooks and iPads for students using these funds,” Thurman said.

Area schools honored with the Top 5 Percent Growth award include Beebe Junior High, Cabot Middle School South, Jacksonville Lighthouse’s Flightline Upper Academy and Searcy’s Ahlf Junior High School. Beebe is set to receive $44,720; Middle School South will get $71,249; the Lighthouse school will receive $18,625, and Ahlf Junior High will net $63,722.

In the Top 10 percent growth category are Stage-coach Elementary in Cabot, Jacksonville Lighthouse Middle School, Jacksonville Lighthouse’s College Prep Academy, Lisa Academy North Middle School, along with Westside Elementary and Southwest Middle School, both in Searcy.

Stagecoach will net $22,767; the Lighthouse middle school will get $9,969 and the College Prep Academy will receive $10,650; Lisa Academy is set to get $10,540; Westside Elementary will net$25,057; and $43,597 will go to Southwest Middle School.

Flightline Academy is set to get $10,540. In Searcy, Westside Elementary will net $25,057 and $43,597 will go to Southwest Middle School.

Local attorney and Light-house supporter Mike Wilson said he’s gratified with the news about the charter schools. “The parents should be very happy with the progress of those schools. It shows what we can do when the community, teachers, parents and kids join forces,” he said.

In Cabot, Southside Elementary, Stagecoach Elementary (again) and the Freshman Academy all received the Top 10 percent Performance Award. Southside will be receiving $22,478; Stagecoach will net another $22,767; and the freshman school will get $37,493.

In all, about 175 schools out of 1,000-plus across the state are sharing in the rewards established by Act 1429 in 2013. Then-state Sen. Johnny Key of Mountain Home, who is now the state education commissioner, filed the act.