WH, Woodlawn schools receive state reward funds

Three White Hall District schools — Hardin Elementary in Redfield, Moody Elementary in White Hall and White Hall Middle School — and Woodlawn Elementary School in Cleveland County were recently approved for financial prizes through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program.

The Arkansas Department of Education program recognizes public schools that experience elevated school performance, student academic growth and — for secondary schools — high graduation rates.

Hardin and Moody were rewarded for their students’ placement in the top 10 percent in state Benchmark testing for the 2012-13 school year. WHMS and Woodlawn were recognized for their top 20-percent showing.

Moody was approved for the biggest prize of $33,721.15. WHMS notched $27,710.22, Hardin netted $21,951.67 and Woodlawn garnered $12,901.22. The reward formula is based in part on a per-pupil award among the achieving students.

At Hardin and Moody, respective principals Jeff Glover and Beth Joslin organized committees with faculty and parent representatives to put together proposals on how their school money would be spent. At WHMS, Principal Doug Dorris worked on the notion with a group of teachers, students and parents.

Technology enhancements were decided upon at the White Hall District schools with the proposals submitted to the ADE for its approval. At Harden and Moody, respective faculty members serving on the appropriation committees were April McCampbell and Stephanie McDaniel. Respective parent representatives were Jennifer Jackson and Kassie Atwood.

Proposed purchases for the White Hall District schools included computers and iPads for classroom teachers and a mobile iPad laboratory — with hardware — to be used by students.

Woodlawn Principal Genell Davis was unaware of her school’s reward until contacted by The Commercial. She said she would be putting together a panel to propose how the school’s money would be spent. Woodlawn School District Superintendent Dudley Hume was unavailable for comment.

White Hall Superintendent Larry Smith said he was especially proud of the Hardin, Moody and WHMS “education partners” but also happy with the past year’s performances at the district’s other schools.

“All our kids and schools did well last year,” Smith said. “The rewards received by the middle school and Hardin and Moody reflect a lot of hard work by a lot of people — teachers, students and parents. The rewards were based partially on growth, which means we had teachers who moved their students ahead by more than a year. I’m pleased that as a district we’re doing what needs to be done to ensure excellence.”

Dorris said deciding how to spend WHMS’ reward funds was as fun as learning of the school’s academic accomplishment and cash prize.

“You don’t ever get a chance to have a say on a budget like this,” he said. “Our teachers and students work hard and I’m glad that they will benefit from this. They earned their reward.”

Glover said the Hardin appropriation panel relished its planning for spending the school’s prize money.

“It was nice to work on ways to get things you need and want to make learning more fun,” he said.

Joslin boasted of her faculty’s, students’ and parents’ Benchmark achievements.

“Dedicated teachers, devoted parents and committed students are requirements for obtaining a reward like we received,” she said. “I think this has been a pleasurable experience for everyone involved. It’s a great example of the old lesson that hard work reaps dividends.”