Manila school administrators welcome patrons

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Manila School District held a public meeting Thursday at the annual open house kicking off the 2014-2015 school year.

Superintendent Pam Castor welcomed everyone back to school and introduced principals who gave reports for each building and introduced new staff members.

Jason Evers, elementary principal, reported all teachers are highly qualified.

"The test scores were great," he said. "They went up even higher from the year before which were also very good."

He talked about the testing and said they are looking forward to a great year.

Leeann Helms, middle school principal, introduced new staff and reported student test scores were up.

"We look forward to the report that should be out soon," she said. "The middle school is in its second year of Lego Robotics."

She encouraged parents to sign up with the volunteer parent group.

High School Principal Chris Ferrell said he is happy to be at the high school where he graduated.

"My heart is here," he said.

"Mrs. Baugher (former principal) has done a great job and all I can do is take what is good and make it better," he said. "Test scores are good. We have a graduation rate of 97 percent. I am proud of our school and our faculty. My door is always open and I can't wait to start the year."

Baugher is now director of federal programs.

Mrs. Baugher talked about the Advanced Ed visit which will take place next year.

"The district will go through the accreditation process next year. We will be taking surveys, asking for volunteers, and appointing committees," she said. "There will be a job for everyone in our school district."

Ms. Castor recognized Mary Smith, FCCLA adviser. Mrs. Smith was elected state FCCLA Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year overall for all career education.

She presented a study done by the University of Arkansas about the potential growth in Mississippi County and the Manila District.

"According to the data from the survey and the number of jobs predicted to come to the county, we will see substantial growth," Castor said. "If Manila receives 10 percent of the growth over the next eight years, it could mean 393 new students. If Manila receives 25 percent of the projected growth it could be 1,000 new students over the next eight years. Right now we have every room in the elementary, middle school, and every room and closet in the high school filled. We are expecting an increase this year in enrollment. I ask you all to bear with us as we prepare for these growth issues. A wise man once said, school is just a building with four walls but it holds the future. What you send us on Monday is our future. Thank you all for coming."

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