District Administration - March 2008 - (Page 32)
DistrictProﬁle HOT SPRINGS (ARK.) SCHOOL DISTRICT Continuing Success through Multiple Reforms LONG SERVING A CITY RECOG nized for its national park and famous for being the childhood home of President Bill Clinton, the Hot Springs (Ark.) School District was struggling by the late 1980s. “The high rate of poverty in our district, and the below average test scores of our students, resulted in declining enrollment at a rate of at least 100 students annually,” says Roy Rowe, who became superintendent in 1989. “In a district of this size, those numbers were signiﬁcant.” The new Rowe administration was determined to reform the district, dramatically improve the education of district students, and halt the declining enrollment. The strategy employed three major initiatives. Technology Training When a 1991 bond issue provided funding for computers in classrooms and labs throughout the district, implementation was hampered by a lack of staﬀ training. “At that time, a lot of our teachers saw computers as overpriced toys, even babysitters, and had no idea of their potential,” says Don Benton, director of technology. As a result, in 1994 HSSD initiated a summer regional conference, the Hot Springs Technology Institute, hosted at the high school. Built on the concept that teachers learn best from collaboration, the conference enabled educators from the district and throughout Arkansas to share their ideas about classroom technology. The ﬁrst event included nearly 200 participants, and each successive conference grew larger through word of mouth. Today, HSTI involves 1,500 educators from Arkansas and surrounding states and includes several speakers, 150 breakout sessions, and more than 80 vendor booths. The 2008 conference will include 32 March 2008 By Kurt O. Dyrli Bob Dorough, music director, and George Newall, executive producer, for ABC-TV’s Schoolhouse Rock; Roy Rowe, former superintendent of Hot Springs (Ark.) School District; and Odvard Egil Dyrli, editor-inchief of District Administration (left to right). BECKY HART. new additions such as 25 workshops providing hands-on technology training, contributions from the Arkansas Department of Information Systems, and the presentation of the Arkansas Technology in Education Leadership Award. Recent keynote speakers have included nationally known educators and the creators of ABC-TV’s Schoolhouse Rock. Benton, who has also directed the institute since 1998, says, “This is a very unique conference because it was created by educators, for educators, and as a result it has really helped all levels of district staﬀ improve the education we provide, through more eﬀective use of technology.” Relying on Research In 2000, dissatisﬁed with inadequate research about what district students were learning, HSSD administrators sought the advice of the National Oﬃce of Research, Measurement and Evaluation Systems at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Joel Rush, a doctoral candidate in statistics, helped the district create a research organization called the Learning Institute by designing a new series of student evaluation tests based on the state standards and an electronic database to record the results. The database allowed HSSD teachers and administrators to see printed results the day after the tests, illustrating the speciﬁc academic areas in need of improvement and enabling the teachers and administrators to adjust teaching accordingly. Now a private enterprise, the Learning Institute continues to administer thousands of tests annually, analyzing student learning for District Administration Hot Springs (Ark.) School District Superintendent: Joyce Craft, since 2007 Enrollment: 3,814 Students per teacher: 13.4 Per-pupil expenditure: $9,700 Students qualifying for free or reduced lunch: 76% Total number of schools: 8 Magnet schools: 6 District size: 36 square miles
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - March 2008
District Administration - March 2008
Inside the Law
Crafting Strategic Plans
Social Studies: Is it History?
District Buying Power: Spending on Construction and Renovation
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
Calendar of Events
Understanding the Times
District Administration - March 2008