Manila principal receives recognition from Economics Arkansas

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Geanie Channell with Economics Arkansas presented a plaque to LeAnn Helms, Manila assistant K-8 principal, at the Thursday, Oct. 20, Manila School Board meeting.

Geanie Channell (left) with Economic Arkansas recognized LeeAnn Helms, assistant principal at Manila elementary, with a plaque at the Manila School board meeting. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Channell told school board members Economics Arkansas has a special line of teacher training.

"In my 11 years with Economic Arkansas, I have had the privilege of meeting some of the best teachers in the state," Channell said. "LeAnn is right at the top of the list. I first met her when she was working in high school and became a Master Economic Teacher. LeAnn is one of maybe 40 teachers in the last 15 years to be recognized with this award."

Tracey Reinhart, Manila School Board president, and other members congratulated Helms and thanked her for the work she does for the Manila District. Other board members present included Danny Robbins, vice president; Brandon Veach, secretary; Johnny McCain, Tony Crowell, Jeremy Jackson and Tommy Wagner.

Following approval of the minutes of previous meetings and review of the financial report, the board voted to leave the designated dispersing officer and alternates the same, Tracey Reinhart, Brandon Veach, Tony Crowell, Johnny McCain, and adding new board member Tommy Wagner.

The Board unanimously approved the Arkansas Standards of Accreditation as presented by Superintendent Pam Castor.

"Every year we have to approve the Arkansas Standards," Castor said. "We do all we can to stay within the state standards."

The board also voted unanimously to approve the Arkansas Frameworks/Common Core State Standards. Castor and Connie Adams, director of curriculum and programs, spoke briefly on the transition from Frameworks to Common Core explaining it will begin with the K-2 this year.

"Our teachers received up to 30 hours of training this summer on the Common Core," Adams said. "We will begin with K-2 this year, go to the third through eighth next year and then the ninth through the 12th grades the next. Our teachers have already started preparing. They will be having an across the grade discussion on the Common Core literacy and math. There is also a science and social studies component involved."

She said as final guidelines for the Common Core comes from the state education department the teachers should be ready for the transition.

Castor said the district will soon know what the Common Core state requirements will be in terms of hardware for the testing. She asked the board if they would like an in-depth study on the Common Core.

The board had a lengthy discussion on the farm contracts and how the school can get the maximum revenue from the land. They discussed improvements made to the land, cash rent versus crop rent, sublease policy, locations of the acreage, etc.

Castor said the 16-12-8 contract expires at the end of the year and the board will need to make a decision on a bid package if they want to accept bids. This parcel (16-12-8) is located in the old Missco District.

Manila District has a total of 1,047 acres farmland with four different contracts.

Board member Wagner said he had compared crop rent to cash rent on a five year average and it was close.

Veach said there is more security with cash bids but more potential with crop rent.

"All ground is different and the market is volatile," Wagner said.

Wagner suggested looking at all of the options. He also suggested extending the 16-12-8 contract one year which will put the contract due the same time as two others. Wagner said with the extension, if and when in the future the district decided to bundle some of the acreages it could be done.

Wagner made a motion for a one year extension on the contract. The motion passed unanimously 7-0.

In other business:

*The Board voted to leave officers the same for the 2011-2012 school year. They are Reinhart, president; Robbins, vice president; and Veach, secretary.

*The board approved the transfer of Walker Russell to the Blytheville School District.

*Castor presented a plaque from AdvanceEd in recognition of the District's Accreditation.

*The board voted to renew the accidental death/dismemberment insurance for employees and the board members while on school business. The total cost is $317.

*The board voted to accept the resignation of Cynthia Vassar, cafeteria worker.

*The board accepted resolutions to conduct business with several businesses including Oates Construction; Southern Bancorp; Brooks Welding; Douglas Electric; Graphic Advertising; Tifco Industries; and Benny Bob's Barbecue. Mrs. Castor disclosed she is the niece of Charles Perry who rents land in the South Mississippi School District.

*Board member asked about special parking for handicapped allowing closer access to the football field and opening the restrooms in the gymnasium during football games. Mrs. Castor said both issues have been addressed. An employee has been hired to keep the gymnasium open in the restroom area.

*The next scheduled school board meeting is Nov. 17.

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