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"We will be a school/district with an unrelenting focus on learning. All students are expected to succeed; failure is not an option."
Joni Pennington quotes, "Laiken Newton is an outstanding captain. She is very serious about her duties as a captain and wants the very best for her squad."
In addition to new-to-district personnel for Ashdown Schools, several familiar faces will be popping up in new places. ASD job descriptions have changed for quite a few staff members.
Lynda Christensen has moved from AJHS to become the district's new Food Service Director, and Susan Fleming is the new District Test Coordinator, in addition to remaining ALE principal. Kim Befeld, formerly located in the Support Center, is now full-time as secretary at the ALE school and has moved her Community & Parent Outreach and Homeless programs to that campus at 751 Rankin Street, along with the copier, laminator, Ellison dye cutter, and all other supplies associated with the pre-school and daycare programs.
Ashdown School Superintendent Jason Sanders states, "We are always stronger together than if we are apart" and has set the theme for the 2014-15 school year as "ONE/#1." Building a unified team and working together for the common goal of student success, he continues, is what all of Ashdown School District will strive for this year.
A huge step toward helping students achieve success has come to the district through E-Rate funding and Arkansas Department of Education broadband grants, making Internet connectivity more accessible and affordable for school districts across the state. Ashdown School's broadband connectivity will increase from 15 mg to 300 mg when installation of the new fiber-optic MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) is completed. All fiber-optic cabling has been installed district-wide over the summer and is now awaiting networking equipment from AT&T and Arkansas Department of Information Systems. Completion is expected to be as early as September.
Access to greater internet connectivity will keep Ashdown District in line with Common Core State Standards and PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Career) assessments, which will be administered in grades 3-11 this spring and will replace Benchmark Tests. Ashdown Junior High and High Schools were pilot schools for the PARCC testing in 2013-14, which is administered entirely by computer. The 2014-15 PARCC computer-based tests will cover math and literacy in grades 3-8 and Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II and literacy in grades 9-11 and will be administered in two parts in April and May 2015.
Two incoming senior girls at Ashdown High School experienced government in a mythical state when they attended the 72nd Arkansas Girls State Program on the campus of Harding University in Searcy on May 25-30.
Sponsored by local Chapter BA of PEO International, Payton Turner and Shelby Tipton represented Little River County in the hands-on citizenship training program, whose selection is based on interest in government, honesty, leadership ability and good character. The over 900 young ladies from across the state learn government by actually creating a mythical state through the election of public officials on local, county, and state levels and then by carrying out the duties of these respective offices.