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Nashville school security team completes training

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

Members of the Nashville School District’s Emergency Response Team have completed their training, Superintendent Doug Graham told the school board Monday night, Nov. 14.

Graham said the last night of training for the 18-member team was Monday.

The next step will be for the Nashville Police Department and the Nashville School District administration “to sign off on them,” Graham said.

From there, the team members will be reviewed by the Arkansas State Police, who will “give the final check mark,” according to Graham.

If approved, the ERT “should be on campus soon,” Graham said, “maybe after Thanksgiving.”

The team trained two or three nights per week, Graham told the board. “It’s not a cakewalk.”

Once the state police sign off on the candidates, each campus in the district will have armed personnel who are certified through the training program.

“We’ll feel more comfortable if we have the right people in the right places,” Graham said.

The team will include district faculty, staff and administration. It was formed in response to school shootings in the United States, including Uvalde, Texas, last May, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.

ERT members receive a stipend from the district to cover the cost of their weapons, ammunition and other expenses.

The team is one of several security measures which the district has implemented, according to Graham. They include the Rave Panic Button, a tip line for students and parents to report potential problems to the district, controlled access to all district buildings, locked classroom doors throughout the school day, and others.

In other business during the regular meeting for November, the board accepted four resignations, including the following:

Amy Westfall, primary teacher, effective Dec. 23, 2022

Lisa Hagler, special education teacher, junior high, effective Dec. 23

Andrea Britt, special education teacher, high school, effective Dec. 23

Jessica Hostetler, special education aide, bus aide, effective Nov. 25.

“We’ve had more resignations in the last 45 days than I can remember,” Graham said. So far, there have been four licensed staff members and four classified staff members who have resigned during the fall semester.

The board hired the following:

Paige Brown, first grade teacher

William Cox, primary custodian

Kaylee Marshall, LLC aide, elementary

Arlene Padilla, ESL aide, elementary

Toni Bowman, special education aide, starting Nov. 28

In his review of finances, Graham said the district has an operating balance of nearly $4.1 million. The tax payment from Howard County “hasn’t come yet. It will be a couple of million.”

In his Scrapper Moment for the month, Graham said he is “awfully proud of the football team and the girls basketball team.”

The Scrapper football team “has an eight-win season so far, with a win in the playoffs” last week at Bauxite. “The kids are playing hard and they’re playing well. There’s some excitement back for football,” Graham said.

The Scrapperette basketball team “ended on a high note last year” by winning the Class 4A state championship, the first hoops title in school history.

Last week, the Scrapperettes finished as runners-up at the Dandra Thomas Invitational Tournament at Conway High School. “They beat last year’s 6A runner-up Jonesboro and this year’s second in 5A Little Rock Christian. In the finals, they played Conway, ranked 13th in the nation and first in Arkansas, and lost by 11 points,” Graham said.

The Scrapperettes and Lady Wampus Cats “tied in the first quarter, and we outscored them in the third and fourth,” Graham said. “Football and girls basketball are off to a great start.”

The board approved the purchase of six pieces of floor cleaning equipment at a cost of $51,834, including tax. The district will pay for the equipment with funds from a federal Covid-19 grant.

“We got it earlier and weren’t sure how to use it. We had the supplies we needed for Covid,” Graham said. Then, the district was notified that the funds could be used for equipment to buff strip and was floors as part of the fight against the virus.

Nashville High School has received $21,850 in incentive money based on last spring’s Aspire testing and other factors, including the school’s high graduation rate. A panel to include teachers and parents will decide how the funds will be used, Graham said.

“So far, high school is the only campus that’s been notified about it.”

Graham said that a recent conversation with the president of Mascot Media included “a major compliment for Nashville. Mascot Media is the major player in live-streaming school sports in Arkansas and other states, according to Graham.

“The president called me and asked what Nashville does to promote the livestream. He went over some numbers with me” of the number of devices which were logged in to Mascot Media’s streaming of recent football games.

“At 7:15 pm. during the Malvern game, there were more than 3,400 devices that were logged in,” Graham was told. That total meant that Nashville’s total was number one in Arkansas and Texas. Two Texas livestreams were second and third, with the closest school in Arkansas 15th.

For the Lonoke game at 5:15 p.m., more than 3,200 devices were logged in, putting Nashville in second place behind Southlake near Dallas.

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