7 charters available for state applicants
Arkansas currently has seven charters available for operation of open-enrollment charter schools by nonprofit organizations, the state Division of Elementary and Secondary Education said last week.
State law requires the commissioner of education to issue a memo by March 1 of each year stating the number of charters available for open-enrollment public charter schools during the next application cycle.
The current cap on charters that can be issued is 34. Since 27 of those have already been awarded, there are seven available for new programs.
The application cycle begins later this month when letters of intent to apply for a charter are due to the Elementary and Secondary Education Division.
Elementary school opens student bank
First Security Bank and the Little Rock School District’s Washington Elementary last week celebrated the grand opening of the school’s student-operated bank.
Washington Elementary students will be able to open savings accounts, which will be supported through the greater First Security Bank infrastructure. Students trained in basic monetary transactions and customer service will serve as tellers.
The goal of the initiative is to teach financial literacy and money management skills.
This is the third such partnership between the bank and the district. Other First Security Bank sites are housed at Stephens Elementary and JA Fair Preparatory Academy.
Foundation names scholarship winners
The Thea Foundation of North Little Rock last week announced 2020-21 scholarship winners in five categories of the arts: visual arts, creative writing, performing arts, film and fashion.
More than 450 students participated in the competitions, vying for a share of a record $219,000 in scholarships, an increase of $135,000 over the previous year.
Scholarships ranged from $3,000 to $10,000, with multiple awards in each of the five categories.
The award winners are listed in the organization’s blog at https://bit.ly/3CdqmGo.
“We are honored to enjoy talent from across the state, and grateful for the donors, students, teachers, and families that make this competition possible,” said Thea Foundation Executive Director Nick Leopoulos.
The annual competitions are for graduating high school seniors in Arkansas. Each of the five arts-based competitions provide Arkansas seniors with an opportunity to secure funding for college based on their talent alone.
“The organization’s first scholarship was awarded in 2002, and Thea Foundation has been awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships to Arkansas students since then,” according to a foundation news release.
Focus put on social emotional learning
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed this week as a GUIDE for Life Week in Arkansas to celebrate the importance of social emotional learning.
GUIDE stands for growth, understanding, interaction, decisions and empathy.
The Arkansas Department of Education has lessons to correspond with those principles, which can be taught to students to enable them to thrive at home and school, on the job and in the community.
GUIDE for Life Week is celebrated to coincide with International Social Emotional Learning Day. The governor encourages Arkansans to recognize the importance of social emotional learning as a way to enrich the lives and futures of students.
A GUIDE for Life Week activity toolkit is available to help schools promote the effort this week. Districts and schools are encouraged to post pictures of GUIDE for Life Week activities on their websites and social media using the hashtag #ARGUIDEforLife.