By John R. Schirmer
Student achievement was the focus for the Nashville School Board’s November meeting Monday night in the new cafeteria at Nashville High School.
“It’s a great time to share some of the good things in the Nashville School District,” Superintendent Doug Graham said.
Talented and Gifted program coordinator Kristi Cox recognized Nashville Elementary student Aiden Smith for his performance in the De Queen/Mena Educational Co-operative chess tournament.
She also recognized the sixth grade quiz bowl team for finishing second in a recent tournament, fifth grade team for finishing fourth and the fourth grade team for finishing second.
Graham introduced representatives of the junior high football team, which has won 56 straight games. “Wins are important with the 56-game streak,” Graham said, “but what we’re most proud of is these kids learning how to work and how to compete. Winning is a by-product.”
Head Coach Rick Baker introduced his staff and five players. “The streak is great, but our main objective is to move kids to the senior high level. We want them to work hard and improve.”
Referring to assistant coaches Kyle Slayton, Ted Green and Brian “Boomer” Brown, Baker said the team “couldn’t be there without these guys. Their experience really paid off.”
The streak began with the last two games of the 2010 season and included six undefeated years in a row, 2011-2016.
During the streak, the Scrappers have produced 324 yards per game total offense while giving up only 169 yards per game. They’ve scored 1,996 points and allowed 646 for an average margin of 35.6-11.5.
The leading rusher during the streak was Darius Hopkins, now a senior. During his ninth grade season, Hopkins ran the ball 80 times for 1,555 yards, nearly 20 yards per carry.
Jake Moorer, now a sophomore, completed 83 of 129 passes for 1,687 yards his ninth grade year.
This past season, the Scrapper defense allowed 904 yards, or about 100 yards per game. The offense compiled 3,099 total yards.
From high school, Graham recognized the new Scrapper Cafe, “a study in marketing. Students create and manage their own small business in cooperation with Aramark. They’re in charge of ordering, scheduling, cleaning and maintaining equipment.”
Three seniors from Lacy Britt’s Small Business Operations class discussed their role with the cafe, including Matthew Nanneman, Grace Talley and Mae Lamb.
Nanneman said that he looked at similar programs in other schools and attended training sessions for managing the cafe.
Talley said that after Nanneman was trained, “He taught us how to make beverages and run the cafe.
Lamb wrote the mission statement which hangs in the cafe. She said that Talley designed the logo and menu board. She also designed ads.
Lamb said the students check their inventory each Wednesday and enter the information into a computer which generates an order form. Requested items arrive from Aramark the following Tuesday.
Talley said that all the students in the class receive different jobs, including taking orders, making drinks, telling customers when orders are ready, preparing smoothies and cleaning dishes. “Without dishes, nothing gets done,” Talley said.
Britt said that the cafe is “completely student led. They’ve taken all these responsibilities. They’ve done a great job, and I’m really proud of them.”
Graham told the board that Nashville Junior High has received four awards from the Office of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
The awards were schools where at least 66 percent are on free or reduced lunches.
The awards included Beating the Odds in Literacy, Best Scores in Literacy, Beating the Odds in Math and Best Scores in Math.
Graham presented certificates to Principal Deb Tackett from the office’s executive director Gary Ritter.
Overall, Graham said he is “so proud of each building. We had a large number of students who made all A’s and a large number who made A’s and B’s. These students are taking academics seriously.”
Graham commended the senior Scrapper football team on a 26-1 record over the past two seasons. The team won state in 2015 and has had “a great two seasons.”
In other business at Monday’s meeting, Graham said construction crews are “making progress on the primary school addition, but we’ve hit the rainy season. The project will probably slow down. Once we get the building in the dry, we can move forward.”
The board approved a December bonus for faculty and staff. The bonus will be $500 for licensed staff, $400 for classified and $200 for bus drivers. The district’s faculty and staff voted 209-0 in favor of the bonus, which was a unanimous recommendation from the Personnel Policies Committee.
Graham said the bonuses will cost the district about $130,000 in salaries and benefits.
Board members approved the after-school tutoring staff, including the following:
High school – Aleshia Erwin and Angela Bell.
Junior high – Cristal Perez.
Elementary – Joy Freel, Tina Baker, Patricia Stinson, Janet McCullough, Andrea Pinegar, Bernice Jamison and Leah Hainen.
Primary, starting in January – Julie Backus, Kayla Coulter, Allison McCauley, Shelley McKinnon, Katelyn Teague, Shannon White and Krista Williams.
There were no resignations or hirings at the meeting.
The board held a one-hour executive session before returning to the open meeting. No action was taken. Graham attended most of the executive session.
Graham said that school will dismiss early on Dec. 20-21. Buses will run at 12 noon both days.
The Christmas holidays will be Dec. 22-Jan. 8. Classes will resume Monday, Jan. 9.