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    2019-2020 Annual Report to the Public

    The 2019-2020 school year is the second year for the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) to be under the leadership of Dr. Charles McNulty.

    School Board Members Service Hours

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

    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.

    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 schools in PCSSD strive to take each child’s education personally.

    • Student learning data, including Aspire and NWEA Maps data, are reviewed on a regular basis in teacher teams and school improvement leadership teams to improve learning experiences.
    • Common formative, interim and summative assessments are being used as a tool to guide student learning.
    • Data analyzed and strategies 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 to place emphasis on writing across the curriculum.
    • RISE, Phonics First, and the Science of Reading are initiatives that are intentional in nature to increase the reading ability for all students.
    Secondary Education

    PCSSD has eight (8) secondary schools on ten (10) campuses which includes the Sylvan Hills Freshman Campus and the Center of Innovation. The four middle schools and four high schools provide rigorous learning opportunities for all students. School improvement plans are developed to continuously monitor and improve student achievement through the guidance of the Desegregation Plan 2000.

    • Student learning data, including Aspire and NWEA Maps data, are reviewed on a regular basis in teacher teams and school improvement leadership teams to improve learning experiences.
    • Common formative, interim and summative assessments are being used as a tool to guide student learning.
    • Science of Reading are initiatives that are intentional in nature to increase the reading ability for all students.
    • Alternative Learning (AL) classroom where students receive Tier 2 interventions and additional support by outside service providers when needed at each school. The Center of Innovation serves as our tier 3 initiative for AL.
    • The Center of Innovation houses our tier three alternative learning environment classes as well as serves as a professional development center for the district where district-level and statewide professional development is held.
    • Participation in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) at each middle school prepares students for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming at District high schools.
    • 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.
    • Driven School of Opportunity (Blended) is entering its third year. In this personalized learning atmosphere, students can advance in subjects, stay on a prescribed track, or receive support for the content they need.
    • Driven School of Opportunity (Blended) continues to be housed in Maumelle and Mills High Schools during the 2019 - 2020 school year. Nearly 200 students participated in the DRIVEN program between the two schools.
    • The Driven School of Opportunity (Blended) program was added to Robinson High School for the 2019-2020 school year with 100 students enrolled.
    • Mills and Maumelle High School were designated as Schools of Innovation at the completion of the 2018-2019 school year and recognized state-wide at the Education Innovation Summit in September.
    • 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 and Behavioral Initiatives

    The district curriculum was revamped K - 12 and implemented district-wide. Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) has been implemented in each of our schools. Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAPS has been expanded district-wide for the 2019-2020 school year. The district has strengthened the role of PLCs throughout the 25 campuses. The goal of PLCs is to use data to guide instruction. During these meetings, teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators discuss the data and share strategies that will help students grow academically. Positive Behavioral Interventions Supports (PBIS) has been expanded to other campuses throughout the district K-12 with extension to our buses. In addition, common formative assessments and small groups will be used throughout the district through additional job-embedded professional development provided by coaches to support classroom teachers. We are pleased that opportunities for participation in district -supported as well as state-supported professional development for teachers and coaches are also provided.

    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.
    • Library Learning Centers are developing collections of digital resources such as online e-books, textbooks, and touchscreen self-checkout stations.
    • Many Library Learning 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 fifth year of its 1:1 device initiative and continues to make strides to extend education outside the classroom walls.
    • The district is replacing the teachers’ outdated classroom workstations with a combination of new desktop computers or Chromebook setups depending on their individual instructional requirements. These devices will work hand in hand with interactive boards or televisions to aid in student education.
    • 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 teacher’s outdated classroom workstations with large monitors and touchscreen devices that allow teachers to interact with large 70” TV’s.
    • During the 2019-2020 school year, PCSSD is working with Qualtircs, an experience management platform, to standardize the Classroom Walk Through (CWT) Data as well as School Improvement & School Action Plans.
    Financial Overview
    • The District’s Legal Fund Balance at the beginning of the Fiscal Year 2020 school year was$22,847,482.03.
    • We anticipate a Legal Fund Balance of 12% of our revenues by the end of the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
    • The District will purchase five new school buses in Fiscal Year 2020 at a cost of approximately $407,000.00.
    • The District for the first time in several years budgeted a textbook adoption at a cost of approximately $500,000.00.
    • The District had a decrease in approximately 3 million in state foundation funding that is budgeted to be offset by an increase in tax assessments.
    • The District had an increase of approximately $3 million dollars in debt service payments.
    • The fiscal year 2020 school year will see the completion of Sylvan Hills High School.
    Facilities Improvements

    During the 2019-2020 fiscal school year, we will continue to focus on Plan 2000 initiatives for total district ensuring that we meet the needs 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:

    • Old Robinson Middle was converted to the Center of Innovation
    • Cato Elementary building underwent a cleanup and painting project. New Vestibule doors were installed. New fencing and sidewalks on both playgrounds were also installed.
    • Pre-K Program
      • 14 New Storage Buildings
      • 14 New Servers and cameras
    • Sylvan Hills High School renovations have started. There are four major projects that make up the total scope.
      • New Education Building
      • Indoor Practice Facility (Projected completion in January.)
      • Performing Arts Center

      Projected completion is extended to Fall 2019 for all projects.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS

The Communications Department continues to:

  • Oversee the advertising budget for the Pulaski County Special School District.
  • Recruit and retain students through marketing efforts on social media as well as paid advertisements in various media outlets (i.e. Little Rock Family, Savvy, THV11, KATV, etc).
  • Coordinate with local media to promote events, good news, student successes and more on a weekly basis.
    • Disseminate press releases and media advisories to publicize news stories and meetings.
  • Publish an annual calendar of events on the website and provide within the school directory that is distributed to all schools.
  • Coordinate the announcements of inclement weather plans to the community.
  • Use social media to communicate with parents, staff and the community. PCSSD currently has over 15,000 Facebook fans, more than 2,200 Instagram followers and nearly 4,000 Twitter followers.
  • Handle crisis communication situations for the entire District and provide assistance when needed at each school.
  • Respond to all Freedom of Information Act requests according to Arkansas laws.
  • Manage the People Assisting Local Schools (PALS) Volunteer Program which contributed more than 109,000 hours of time to PCSSD and its schools in the 2018-2019 school year.
  • The PCSSD website (pcssd.org) network:
    • Composed of more than 5,000 pages.
    • Averages over 2,000 page views per day on the District website.
    • The district website also encompasses 25 individual school websites.

The Communications Department launched new tactics in the 2018-2019 school year:

  • Launched a new marketing campaign: “Where Purpose Comes Alive.”
  • Created a TV commercial during the open enrollment, featuring the new marketing campaign.
  • Revamped the overall PCSSD brand, including a new logo and standard font for District communication.
  • Expanded the department personnel to more effectively achieve marketing, communication and public relations goals.

In the 2019-2020 school year, the Communications Department plans to continue successful tactics from years past and introduce new ideas:

  • Launch new websites by October 1, 2019 New district website (pcssd.org)
  • New school websites (26 site locations)
  • Unify social media presence across PCSSD to ensure brand standards are followed on school Facebook pages.
  • Create brand standard guides for PCSSD and all schools which includes appropriate fonts, colors, and logos in specific situations.
  • Created a radio commercial featuring the new marketing campaign.
Contact

For more information or for a copy 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).