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School tries to live up to motto

by Sheryl Garza | May 1, 2008 at 4:51 a.m.

— Nestled in the River Valley, Pottsville School District may seem to a firsttime visitor as a small, rural community with little to offer except its close proximity to the city of Russellville. On closer inspection, however, one soon discovers a wealth of opportunity available to the students who are fortunate enough to call themselves Pottsville Apaches. It becomes quickly apparent to the astute observer that this school district is truly living up to its motto, "Large enough to challenge : small enough to care."

In the past 10 years, Pottsville School District has grown from just under 1,000 students to over 1,600 in grades K-12. The district has managed to keep up with the demands for space for such a growing population thanks to the support of an outstanding and highly supportive community and an aggressive building program. Ten years ago the district completed a new high school facility to house grades nine-12, and the construction has never stopped. No sooner had construction ended in 2007 on a new junior high facility, than construction began on new additions to the highschool, the middle grades complex and the elementary school.

Beginning in elementary school, teachers work to build a strong foundation for each student that will carry them well into their post-secondary education. The faculty at Pottsville Elementary School has developed an Assessment Wall they utilize as a tool to identify "at-risk" students and then create individualized ways to help these students move from below basic students to proficient and even advanced students. A new instructional computer lab also makes it possible for these K- through thirdgrade students to develop foundational computer skills necessary in today's technology-driven society.

As students enter Pottsville middle grades, they continue their educational journey under the leadership of more dedicated faculty members who rise to the challenge of inspiring their students to excel in all they do. With the hard work and support of the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization), new projection systems were added to each classroom as well as InterWrite SchoolPads and document cameras. These tools assist theteachers in creating meaningful as well as fun learning opportunities for all students.

The faculty and staff at Pottsville Junior High School are an exceptional group of educators who not only continue to build upon a foundation begun in elementary, but they also aid these students as they transition into the awkward world of adolescence.

The junior high, which is only a year old, is also equipped with upto-date technology to further facilitate their learning. The students at Pottsville Junior High excel not only in the classroom, but in interscholastic competitions as well. This year's Quiz Bowl team placed second in the state, and three students were state winners at the Young Arkansas Artist competition held in Little Rock this past February.

At Pottsville High School, faculty and staff continue developing a rigorous academic environment that will enable graduates to experience success as they leave for the challenges of college or the work force. Students are able to take Advanced Placement classes as well as distance learning classes for concurrent creditin college. The skills students learn in many of these classes contribute to their success in many extracurricular activities. Pottsville students are frequently found at the top of statewide competitions in clubs such as Beta and FBLA as well as programs such as EAST. With the growth of the student body, Pottsville High School has also enjoyed growth in their athletic program. The 2007 Apache Senior High Football team competed in the state playoffs for the first time in school history. The Apache Senior Girls Basketball team has competed in the 3A State Basketball Tournament for the past two years.

With all that Pottsville School District has to offer its students, it is no wonder that parents in surrounding communities are looking for a way to move their child into a district so committed to excellence in education. And as long as students continue to come, faculty and staff will continue to do their part to provide a quality educational experience to all in search of a school "large enough to challenge, but small enough to care."

(Sheryl Garza teaches English at Pottsville High School.)

Pottsville High School at a glance Grades: 10 through 12 Enrollment: 350 Certified Teachers: 25 Mascot: Apaches

Colors: Black and Vegas gold

Athletics: Football, basketball,

baseball, softball, cheerleading Principal: Jonathan Bradley Address: 500 Apache Drive Pottsville, AR 72858 Telephone: (479) 968-6334 Web site: http://apache.afsc.k12.ar.us

River Valley Ozark, Pages 68 on 05/01/2008

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