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New director hired for AR Kids Read

Dionne B. Jackson, who has been a faculty member at Hendrix College, has been hired as the new executive director of AR Kids Read, succeeding Charlie Conklin, who is retiring from the role.

Jonathan Oliver, chairman of the board for the organization that recruits and trains volunteers to help children improve reading skills, announced the selection of Jackson, who will assume her new role in mid-May. She was among 100 applicants for the job.

Jackson has been with Hendrix College in Conway since 2010, most recently serving as vice president for diversity and inclusion, as well as associate professor of education.

She is a graduate of Little Rock's Hall High School. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from Hendrix; a master's degree from the University of Central Arkansas; and a doctorate in education, curriculum and instruction from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

She is a former science teacher at Horace Mann Magnet Junior High School in Little Rock.

Jackson has continued serving her community through various ministries and volunteer activities via the Tribe Hall High School Alumni Association, Saint Mark Baptist Church, Little Rock School District Civic Advisory Committee and Episcopal Collegiate School.

Principal reaches status of master

Karrie Arbuckle, a principal at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Bentonville, has achieved the status of master school principal by completing three years of training and a year of performance evaluations conducted by the Arkansas Leadership Academy.

Arbuckle has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Harding University at Searcy, where she serves as an adjunct professor. At the district level, she serves on the alternative learning environment placement committee and is an elementary representative for Bentonville's personnel policy committee. As principal, she partners with Amazeum to implement Maker Space Education in Bentonville schools.

An educator who completes the master principal program receives a $9,000 bonus each year for five years and is eligible for an additional $25,000 per year for five years if he is selected to serve at a low-performing school.

New book picked for 13,000 pupils

As many as 13,000 Little Rock School District elementary school pupils will be reading the book Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill in the coming days as part of the district's ongoing One District One Book campaign.

In addition to encouraging family reading, the book campaign that dates back to 2017 also teaches financial literacy.

Students are provided books and materials free of charge by community partners that include Rotary Club 99, First Security Bank, Bank OZK, Economics Arkansas, Delta Dental and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

Pre-recorded videos of local celebrities -- posted on the district's website -- will introduce each chapter of the book. Among the guest readers this year are Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas first lady Susan Hutchinson, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and leaders from the sponsoring organizations.

A culminating event that will be open to the public is being planned for May 4 at the Clinton Center in Little Rock.

Other books that have been read as a result of the One District One Book campaign are Lemonade War, The World According to Humphrey, Cleo Edison Oliver - Playground Millionaire, Frank Einstein and the Electro Fingers, and Zoey and Sassafras - Marshmallows and Dragons.

District to begin using NWEA tests

The Pulaski County Special School District is tweaking its standardized testing program for the coming 2019-20 school year by swapping out ACT-brand interim tests for the increasingly more popular NWEA Measure of Academic Progress.

Superintendent Charles McNulty said the ACT interim tests -- although free to the district -- have proved to be a less than satisfactory predictor of student achievement on the year-end, state-required ACT Aspire tests that are given in grades three through 10.

The NWEA tests -- already given in the neighboring Little Rock School District -- are a more precise measure of individual student achievement, McNulty said recently. The online test questions increase or decrease in difficulty based on the individual student's skill level. That data can then be used to tailor instruction to the student's needs, he said.

The tests that can be scored very quickly will be given three times a year. Teacher training on how to use the interim tests is included in the $155,650 price tag.

Community focus of talk on schools

Jitu Brown, national director for the Journey for Justice Alliance network of grass-roots organizations in more than 30 cities that advocate for community-driven school improvement, will speak Monday in Little Rock.

Grassroots Arkansas is hosting Brown's talk on Community Reclaiming of the LRSD from 6-8 p.m. Monday in Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church at 1601 S. Louisiana St. Food will be served at 5:30 p.m.

Born and raised on the far south side of Chicago, Brown is a product of Chicago Public Schools. In 2015, Brown was the organizer and participant in the Dyett High School Hunger Strike, which lasted for 34 days and resulted in the reopening of Dyett as an open-enrollment, neighborhood school with more than $16 million in new investments.

Metro on 04/14/2019

Print Headline: New director hired for AR Kids Read Principal reaches status of master New book picked for 13,000 pupils District to begin using NWEA tests Community focus of talk on schools


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