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Highlights and Headlines: December 18, 2023 Board Meeting Recap

At the December 18, 2023, board meeting, FSPS staff presented proposal options and a recommendation for changing attendance zone areas relating to the closure of Trusty Elementary. The board adopted Option 1, which adjusts Howard and Morrison Elementary lines to match the existing middle school boundary. Students north of the boundary line will attend Morrison, and students to the south will attend Howard. Starting March 25, 2024, the district will open a three-week window for Trusty students wishing to apply for an Attendance Area Exception. Trusty Elementary will close in May 2024, and students will begin the next school year at either Howard or Morrison. Facilities staff will begin a study to determine the next steps for the former elementary.

Mr. Darrell Stovall, Long-Range Facility Planning Committee Board Chair, gave an update on the Committee’s work. The Long-Range Facility Planning Committee focuses on developing a facilities plan for the Fort Smith Public School facilities team. Their work aims to maintain campus facilities for the next 5 to 15 years, with the goal of optimizing facility usage.

The board agenda included an update on the FSPS Master Plan. Over $22M worth of improvements across ten FSPS campuses are contributing towards the district’s goal of creating a safe, welcoming environment for students and staff. 

As part of the update, facilities staff informed the board about the upcoming Kimmons Middle School reroofing project.  Beginning in January 2024, workers will begin replacing the roof.  To put students' needs first and minimize classroom disruptions, construction work will commence during evening hours. To inform the surrounding neighborhood, Facility Operations staff invites the public to attend an informational meeting on January 9th at 5:00 PM at Kimmons Middle School.

On the issue of campus security, district staff presented a prospective five-year security upgrade plan that recommended the installation of a “Weapon Detection Camera System.” The plan also includes potential consideration of future metal detectors. The board provided direction to staff to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for a Weapon Detection Camera System that could be installed on all FSPS campuses. Staff will provide an update on the responses to the RFP and respective cost estimates in February.

The Curriculum and Instruction Department’s Dr. Kimberly Starr previewed Istation test results for kindergarten through second grade. The district utilizes Istation, an online automated assessment and screening program, to assist staff in evaluating students’ progress.  December test scores reflect significant growth in reading and math at numerous FSPS elementary schools.

Students tested ahead of upcoming state assessments to provide staff the ability to analyze and identify areas of improvement that individual students need help with to meet the district’s goals of continuous improvement.