Schools in Pine Bluff and Dollarway districts identified by state as lowest-performing

The Arkansas Department of Education has identified 48 schools statewide including several in the Pine Bluff and Dollarway school districts as being the lowest-performing schools in the state.

In Pine Bluff, the schools identified as Needs Improvement Priority Schools include Pine Bluff High School, Jack Robey Junior High School, Belair Middle School, Oak Park Elementary School and Greenville Elementary School.

Pine Bluff Interim Superintendent Linda Watson said that she will be attending a meeting Thursday at Maumelle High School along with the superintendents from all other school districts with one or more of the 48 schools, where the Arkansas Department of Education will be advising the administrators on the appropriate strategy to employ in improving performance at the affected schools.

“I will know more specifics as to how we are going to proceed after the meeting on Thursday but I can say that we will need to look at adding some additional financial resources or other services to those schools in the district that the state named as Priority Schools,” Watson said Tuesday evening.

Dollarway schools on the list include Dollarway High School, Robert F. Morehead Middle School and Altheimer-Martin Elementary School.

Dollarway Superintendent Frank Anthony was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The state was required by the U.S. Department of Education to identify a number of lowest-performing schools equal to at least five percent of the state’s Title I schools. Of the 48 schools identified by the ADE, 41 of them are Title I.

The criteria for Priority Schools set by the U.S. Department of Education included identifying schools that were among the lowest five percent of schools in the state based on proficiency and lack of progress of the “All Students” group; Title I participating or Title I eligible high schools with graduation rates less than 60 percent over a number of years; or Tier I or Tier II School Improvement Grant schools implementing a school intervention model.