EDUCATION NOTEBOOK: Five teachers receive Impact awards | State Department of Education recognizes communities for reading initiatives

Math school lauds educators in state

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, a residential statewide public high school in Hot Springs, recently honored teachers from across the state with its annual Teacher Impact Award.

The award recognizes those educators who were nominated by their former students for the intellectual and emotional support they provided to the incoming students at the math, science and arts school.

Every educator who was nominated received a certificate of recognition. A letter highlighting their recognition also was sent to each educator's principal.

Additionally, a committee of Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts staff members read through the recommendations to give further recognition to five educators from different regions within the state. These standout teachers received an additional gift.

Educators who received additional recognition this year are:

Jennifer Armstrong of Lakeside High School in Lake Village, where she is a STEM coordinator and former gifted education teacher, was nominated by Elijah Stanton, a sophomore from Eudora.

Heather Bradway, a sponsor of the Nettleton Junior High School literary magazine, newspaper and Beta Club, was nominated by Raegan Smith, a sophomore from Jonesboro.

Regina Davis of Harmony Grove High School in Benton was nominated by Landon Seely, a junior who cited Davis' college-style classroom for inspiring his interest in life sciences.

Arron Oliver of Eureka Springs High School was nominated by Nakoa Beattie, a sophomore from Eureka Springs, for sparking her interest in history.

Eric Perez of Nashville High School, a soccer coach, was nominated by Norberto Garcia, a junior from Nashville.

Reading initiative cites communities

The Arkansas Department of Education recognized seven communities -- Cedar Ridge, Hamburg, Magnolia, Warren, El Dorado, Harrisburg and Weiner -- as R.I.S.E Communities for 2022-2023.

R.I.S.E. stands for Reading Initiative for Student Excellence. The initiative encourages reading beyond the classroom and promotes a culture of reading for residents of all ages.

To be eligible for the recognition, schools and communities submitted letters of commitment, developed action plans and provided portfolios that showed evidence of implementation throughout the year.

Cedar Ridge, Hamburg, Magnolia and Warren were named gold recipients.

In Cedar Ridge, more than 650 free books were given to students and more than a dozen businesses provided opportunities to increase literacy in the community.

Actions in Hamburg included rewarding student achievement with books for at-home libraries.

A two-time recipient of the R.I.S.E. recognition, Magnolia community members helped with the purchase of books for all students who attended a book fair. Additionally, community partners provided financial literacy opportunities for students, and the community enhanced its current free-book libraries.

The El Dorado and Harrisburg communities received the silver recognition. Weiner was named a bronze winner.