PCSSD - 2018-2019 Annual Report to the Public

2018-2019 Annual Report to the Public

Annual Report to the Public

The 2017-2018 school year was the second year for the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) to operate under the oversight of a local Board of Education. Dr. Jerry Guess served as PCSSD’s superintendent from June 20, 2011, until July 18, 2017 when Dr. Janice Warren was appointed Interim Superintendent by the board. On July 1, 2018, Dr. Charles McNulty began his tenure as the new Superintendent of Schools for Pulaski County Special School District.

School Board Members Service Hours

  • Each year the board members receive a minimum of nine (9) hours training and instruction in the school laws of this state and in the laws governing the powers, duties and responsibilities of school boards.

Communications

  • The Communications Department continues to oversee the advertising budget for the District.

  • Recruits and retains students through the use of traditional media with monthly advertisements in publications like Little Rock Family, Savvy, Kid's Directory and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, as well as materials targeted to incoming families, including Chamber of Commerce, economic development and real estate-related publications.

  • Coordinates an average of 10 traditional media stories on local television and newspapers per month.

  • Utilizes social media, and currently has over 12,000 Facebook fans and nearly 1,400 Instagram followers who regularly enjoy the posting of good news, events and photos. The PCSSD Twitter feed, which has close to 3,500 followers, continues to be an ideal opportunity to share meetings and other important information.

  • Utilized behavior-targeting online advertising and maintains an online presence on prominent websites.

  • Handles crisis communication situations.

  • Serves as liaison with the local media, coordinating interviews with District leadership or providing a spokesperson related to issues of interest to the public.

  • Disseminates press releases and media advisories publicizing news stories and meetings, publishes an annual calendar of events and coordinates the announcements of inclement weather plans to the community.

  • The pcssd.org network of sites is composed of 5,700 pages.

  • Averages over 2,000 page views per day on the District website.

  • Oversees the 25 school websites.

  • Coordinated an average of five Freedom of Information Act Requests per month during the 2017-2018 school year.

  • Manages the People Assisting Local Schools (PALS) Volunteer Program which contributed more than 112,000 hours of time to the District last year.

Facilities Improvements

During 2018-2019 fiscal school year, we will focus on the Plan 2000 initiative for total district insuring that we meet the need of every student that we serve.  Technology will be used to leverage human capital. Every campus will be assessed for strengths and areas of opportunity. We will place areas of opportunity into a three tier process which is classified into initial assessments with immediate action, short timeframe projects, and long timeframe projects.

Current projects are noted below:

  • Mills Middle School, Mills High School, and Robinson Middle School construction will be completed December 2018.

  • Sylvan Hills High School renovations have started.  Projected completion is Summer 2019.

  • The funding for these projects was secured using just over $15 million from the desegregation settlement and $130 million from second lien bonds.

Financial Overview

  • The District’s Legal Fund Balance has grown from $4,087,687 as of June 30, 2011, at the time of the state takeover, to $20,339,954 as of June 30, 2018.

  • January 13, 2014, Federal Judge Price Marshall approved a settlement agreement between the Pulaski County school Districts, the Joshua Intervenors and the State of Arkansas regarding the 1989 Desegregation Settlement Agreement.

  • The State of Arkansas ended the Deseg funding at the end of FY 2017/2018.

  • The fourth-year payment was restricted for the construction of Mills High School.  

  • PCSSD developed and implemented a plan for operating without the  $20.8 million Deseg funding in the 2017-2018 school year.

  • July, 2017, PCSSD issued $66,490,000 bonds for construction of a new Sylvan Hills High School to be completed in FY 2019/2020.

  • FY 2018/2019 PCSSD will see the completion and opening of the new Mills High School, the new Robinson Middle School and the renovation and opening of the new Mills Middle School.

Desegregation Plan 2000/Education Plan

PCSSD remains under court supervision for the Desegregation Plan 2000 in the areas of student achievement, discipline, and facilities.

Accreditation Standards

All schools in the PCSSD are accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education. Secondary schools are also accredited by AdvancEd, a consortium of accreditation agencies.

Elementary Education  

The District has 16 elementary schools. This year, 14 of the 16 campuses have Pre-K classes that serve three and four-year olds. All elementary schools in PCSSD strive to take each child’s education personally.  

  • School improvement plans developed to monitor and improve student achievement through Desegregation Plan 2000.

  • Formative, interim and summative assessments are being used as a tool to guide and monitor student learning.

  • Data analyzed strategies are selected at each school to meet the needs of their unique student population throughout the year to ensure school improvement.  

  • K-5 implementation of The GO Math program while being supplemented with initiatives to increase higher-order thinking skills and writing.  

  • K-5 implementation of Journeys, a resource to support comprehensive literacy while continuing an emphasis on writing across the curriculum.  

  • Job-embedded professional development provided by coaches to support classroom teachers. Opportunities for participation in state-supported professional development for teachers and coaches.

Secondary Education

PCSSD has a total 8 secondary schools which are housed on 9 campuses. Sylvan Hills High School is divided into the main campus which houses 11th and 12th grade students and Sylvan Hills High- North which houses 9th and tenth 10th grade students. Each of these campuses strive daily to provide rigorous learning opportunities to all students.

  • School improvement plans developed to monitor and improve student achievement through Desegregation Plan 2000.

  • Student learning data, including Aspire test data, are reviewed on a regular basis in teacher teams and school improvement leadership teams to improve learning experiences.

  • Maumelle High School and Mills University Studies High School began their inaugural year of the DRIVEN Program. DRIVEN is a program that allows students to have a flexible learning experience while still attending a traditional high school. The ultimate goal is to help students find their individual path and develop skills in order to be successful post-graduation.

  • Alternative Learning (AL) classroom where students receive Tier 2 interventions and additional support by outside service providers when needed at each school.

  • Participation in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) at each middle school to prepare students for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming.

  • Pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement,and Career Technical Education  course offerings to prepare students for college and career pursuits are provided at each secondary school.

  • Online access 24/7 to American College Test (ACT) preparation through Odysseyware, an online tool that is approved by the Arkansas Department of Education.  

  • Real-time course and credit recovery provided to students in Grades 6-12 through the District’s after-school intervention program.

  • PCSSD and the Donaldson’s Scholarship Program will continue our collaboration with UALR and Philander Smith College to promote college readiness through ACT preparation sessions and mentoring and provide scholarships to students.

District-wide Instructional Initiatives

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is being researched this year for use in schools at each grade band during the 2019-2020 school year. Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAPS is being researched to be implement in schools throughout the district in the 2019-2020 school year. Positive Behavioral Interventions Supports (PBIS) is being expanded to other campuses throughout the district K-12. In addition, common formative assessments is being piloted in multiple schools to drive instruction.

Information Technology

  • IT is continuing to upgrade bandwidth and infrastructure in support of teaching and learning.

  • The District began the process to upgrade each school to a 1Gb connection.  This bandwidth is continuing to be upgraded to support the District’s 1:1 technology initiative and online testing.

  • A new state-of-the-art data center will provide each school access to educational resources and applications.

  • The IT Department will provide teachers with Chromebook management software that allows them to create the perfect digital learning environment that not only protects but guides and encourages their students.  A simple way to manage Chromebooks that empowers every teacher to not be afraid of the technology in students' hands.

  • Modernization of media centers continues to be a top priority for the IT team in an effort to transform these spaces into innovation hubs.  

  • All media centers have been provided with 70” televisions that can be used in small or large group settings.

  • Media centers are developing collections of digital resources such as online e-books, textbooks, and touchscreen self-checkout stations.

  • Many media centers have Makerspaces which include student access to 3D printers, Raspberry Pi computers as well as other innovative applications and devices.  Raspberry Pi computers will be used by students to learn programming skills.

  • The District is beginning the fourth year of its 1:1 device initiative and is refreshing all teacher and student devices with new touchscreen devices.

  • The district will complete a large-scale refresh of its wireless infrastructure in many of the schools that still have outdated wireless access points.  

  • The district is replacing the teachers outdated classroom workstations with large monitors and touchscreen devices that allow teachers to interact with large 70” TV’s.  

Contact

For more information or for a copy of this report of this report, please contact the Pulaski County Special School District, Educational Accountability, 925 East Dixon Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72206 (phone 501-234-2090 or email ywilliams@pcssd.org).

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