Cats Bank at Conway High School is once again open for business!
The bank for CHS students had its Grand Reopening Thursday, November 2.
Senior Parker Gavazzi was the first official customer, with six accounts opening the first day of business.
The bank is set up for students to deposit money and save it until they need it. Each student receives his or her own personal check register and regularly receives bank statements.
CHS Teacher Alyce Hardee teaches the Banking class and oversees the Cats Bank. She says this is one of the most fulfilling things she does in her teaching experience.
"The students are excited to have their very own checking account," says Hardee. "Some do this with their parents but this gives them the opportunity to manage their account like they want to for school trips, senior trips, graduation, prom, etc. I have even had a few that saved to obtain a down payment for a vehicle."
Students in the Banking Class will hold positions such as Bank Manager, Assistant Bank Manager, Head Teller, Teller, Auditor, Customer Service, and Security.
Both customers and "employees" will learn about managing their money as well as the banking system.
"The first year I had a student ask if she could open an account in the bank without being in the banking class," says Hardee. "I told her anyone that goes to this school can. She needed to save money for an Orchestra trip and she felt like if she put it in Cats Bank she would save better and not get into it. She ended up saving around $1500-$1700 for that trip!"
Other school districts in the state have looked at Cats Bank as a model for implementing similar programs in their own schools.
The students can earn certifications from the Arkansas Bankers' Association from their work on this project and their Banking Course.
Ellen Smith Reading Day is an annual event where community members are invited in to share their love of reading with students.
Children in grades K-4 are immersed in literacy all day, listening to readers from all walks of life.
“It is a great day to show students that readers are everywhere, whether they are a lineman from Conway Corp, a softball player from UCA, the President of a university (UCA), or the Mayor of Conway” said Miriam Taylor, Instructional Facilitator at Ellen Smith Elementary School. “It is important that students see a love of reading from individuals throughout the community, to connect a passion for reading with a career they may someday choose. We had over 50 readers from throughout our community attend this annual event!”
Reading Day is a favorite among the school's teachers and students alike.
“Students were immediately able to make a connection with the readers, which is something I always love," said Mrs. Reynolds, 3rd grade Teacher at Ellen Smith. "Students in one room were able to hear their pastor read, when we switched again they heard a reader who works with one of our students’ grandfather, one of our students’ parents read to them, and then finally they heard our librarians husband read to them and talk about his family.”
“I got to hear a woman read a story that her mom wrote!" said Archer. "It was a story about a kid who is grumpy because he had to switch schools and he didn’t know anyone there. He felt lonely.”
Ellie in 1st grade said, “I got to hear my daddy read to my class. He told everyone about how electricity works and let us touch some of his equipment. He works at Conway Corp.”
“We heard the mayor read," said Second grader Kimberlynn. "He was really funny and read us lots of stories!”
Maddox, Kindergarten, said “We heard a doctor read (Dr. Murry). He read us a book that he reads to his grandson!”
Ellen Smith’s Annual Reading Day has been a tradition at the school since 2000.
Students at Simon Middle School took their learning outside the classroom this week, with a visit from the Air Medical Helicopter stationed locally.
AirEvac personnel spent the day with Simon's seventh graders, talking to them about how they use the concepts of thermal energy in controlling the temperature of patients during a medical emergency.
They also presented about the kinetic and potential energy the helicopter generates to stay airborne.
"The idea of inviting AirEvac to come visit our school grew out of a 7th Grade Chemistry project where our students use chemical reactions to create and control thermal energy or heat," says 7th grade Science Teacher David Steadham. "Heat is such a vital component to saving a person’s life during an emergency, and yet it is often overlooked by the untrained. So I reached out to the AirEvac Helicopter Ambulance service for help in getting the students excited about the project."
The AirEvan crew consisted of a paramedic, RN, and a pilot. The team provided a real world medical and mechanical example of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.)
The 7th graders enjoyed the real life lesson.
"I liked learning how helicopters worked, how they’re able to carry patients and all the equipment and how fast they are," said Damien. "It made me think about flying helicopters, maybe becoming a pilot one day."
Shya said "It was interesting because they talked about how they looked for the people they were coming to help and they wouldn’t know what to expect when they got there. I’m thinking about becoming a nurse, but I’m not sure about working as a trauma nurse."
"I would like being able to help someone out and working in an ER sounds exciting, like it would give me an adrenaline rush," said Kevin. "I want to be moving when I’m working."
"They had a lot of medical equipment that you could use," added Leesa. "They talked about how the helicopter can glide if the engine goes out. I liked hearing about the jobs like nursing and medical stuff but I don’t think I’d like to work in the helicopter because I’m scared of heights."
Their teacher says this was a tremendous learning experience for the students.
"This is probably a career choice that many students had never thought about or knew existed," Steadham said. "So it became an amazing opportunity to show students how science can save lives as well as show them careers that use science every day to make a difference to the world."
Congratulations to the members of the 2017-18 Conway High School Homecoming Court.
Left to Right
Conway’s District Teacher of the Year, Randi House, has been named the Arkansas State Teacher of the Year for 2018.
House, a Kindergarten Teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary School, was surprised at a school-wide assembly with the announcement.
“Randi House embodies everything we want in a teacher,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “In her classes at Theodore Jones Elementary School, she incorporates reading, math, cooking, gardening and computer coding in her classroom. She teaches life skills while she teaches math skills. She goes above and beyond to ensure every student feels valued and appreciated. In all she does as a teacher, she sets an example of excellence. I trust her reign as the Arkansas Teacher of the Year will enrich her life as much as she enriches the lives of her students.”
Commissioner of Education Johnny Key, along with Conway Schools' Superintendent Greg Murry, Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry, and other State dignitaries attended Friday's ceremony to congratulate her on her honor.
“Today we honor Ms. Randi House, the 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year," said Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key. "From her innovative classroom practices to her personal commitment to every student, Ms. House serves as a model of excellence for all teachers. She not only strives to help her students reach their potential, she nurtures every child, helping each develop the personal confidence that is essential to living a happy, productive life. Ms. House is an inspiration to her students, their parents and her co-workers, and I look forward to watching her share her inspirational story this next year.”
A graduate of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, House has a Bachelor of Science in Education and Early Childhood Education, as well as a Master of Science in Education and Reading. She has served in numerous leadership roles on the school and district levels. In addition to providing professional development for other educators, House recently attended the Arkansas Leadership Academy and has completed her submission to become a National Board Certified Teacher. She is awaiting confirmation. She has been teaching at Theodore Jones Elementary for six years.
Providing opportunities for students to network and experience life beyond her classroom is a priority for House. In addition to taking her students on virtual field trips around the world, House welcomes community volunteers into her classroom to share real-life experiences. Through video conferencing, she invites authors from around the country into her classroom.
House’s desire to help others is passed along to her students. She helps her students write cards for local nursing home residents and assists other schools with growing their own gardens and incorporating cooking lessons in their learning activities. Her innovative classroom practices, including her kindergarten cooking show, which is a hands-on cooking lesson with her students, have been featured by local media outlets.
House was named one of four State Semi-Finalists Aug. 30 at a ceremony at the Capitol. The Arkansas Teacher of the Year selection panel then conducted site visits that included interviews and classroom observations.
Besides receiving a $14,000 check from the Walton family foundation and a proclamation from the mayor declaring it "Randi House Day", House will now travel and share her story around the state of Arkansas during the 2018-19 school year.
Conway High School Art Student Mae Roach has been chosen as the winner for the "Art for Education" Cover Contest by Downey Publishing.
Roach's artwork of a toad wearing a crown is now featured on the front cover of the new Conway/Faulkner County Telephone Directory.
The CHS Senior, pictured here with her teacher Crystal Certain and Downey Publishing District Sales Manager Jeri Butler, received a $500 Visa Gift Card for the grand prize in the contest. Certain and Conway High School also received a $500 check for being the winning school.
Artwork from other Conway students and surrounding area schools can be found throughout the 2017-18 Telephone Directory.
Conway High School's "Skills USA" float won first place in their division at the Faulkner County Fair Parade this week.
But it wasn't only that award that made everyone so proud of the teachers, students, and staff who made this float, and the story behind it, a reality.
This year's parade theme was "Superheroes and Fairytales."
Auto Collision Teacher Wayne Pendley knew about Conway student Savannah Westover's struggle with cancer. But when he found out she had always wanted to be a princess, he decided he could do something to help make her dream come true.
Pendley rallied together his fellow teachers in the Conway Career Center to make it happen. They solicited local businesses to donate money to rent a horse-drawn princess carriage, as well as donate a fancy princess dress, white gloves, and a tiara.
One of the teachers altered the dress while the cosmetology teacher and her students did Savannah's hair and makeup, as well as pampered her with a manicure. The photography students did a mini photo shoot with the pampered princess for her scrapbook.
"Savannah looked so beautiful and she and her mom had an amazing time," says Pendley. "All our teachers and community members came together to help make Savannah's wish come true."
Nine Conway High School seniors have been named National Merit Semifinalists today in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Chloe Baker, Hunter Davis, Matthew Depner, Gopi Lukhi, Madelyn Moss, Catherine Peppers, Tanner Ruth, Noah Smith, and Epifanio Torres-Smith are 2018 National Merit Semifinalists.
“I speak for the entire Conway High School staff when I say we are very proud of this group,” says CHS Principal Jason Lawrence. “We have had a number of semifinalists over the years who have gone on to great things. This group is not only highly intelligent, but they are also involved, personable, and show a strong work ethic. We will see great things from them as well.”
These nine students now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million dollars.
The semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to go on to become a finalist. 90 percent of the semifinalists will attain finalist standing, with half of the finalists winning a merit scholarship.
“Our parents and patrons should continue to be impressed with the quantity of National Merit Scholars that are produced by our school district,” says Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry. “It reflects a quality student body that has a focus on academic achievement as well as a teaching staff that does significant work to help these students down their path of outstanding performance.”
The students qualified for this distinction by taking the Preliminary SAT /National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and scoring in the top one percent of the nation. The number of semi-finalists in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. This year there are approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the nation.
Conway's District Teacher of the Year Randi House has been named a Semi-Finalist for Arkansas State Teacher of the Year.
House, along with three other teachers from around the state, was the first name revealed at a ceremony with the Governor and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner this morning.
Describing her as a teacher who makes sure to meet her students' basic needs first, and always keeping clothing and food available in her classroom, a classroom where she takes them on virtual trips around the world, Arkansas' current teacher of the year recognized House for her commitment to community partnerships and hands-on learning.
House now moves on to the final round of the competition for Arkansas State Teacher of the Year, where a panel of state education leaders will visit her classroom and school for interviews and observations.
"We are ecstatic at Randi attaining this recognition," says Dr. Greg Murry, Superintendent of Conway Public Schools. "She does such a wonderful job of taking care of our youngest students and they love her for it. We look forward to her continuing this journey as she represents all of our teachers and the excellent work they do."
Conway Public Schools' District Teacher of the Year Randi House has been named a Regional Finalist in the competition for Arkansas' State Teacher of the Year.
House received the news last Friday that she is one of 14 regional finalists for the state award.
House, along with other Conway teachers, was finishing up a week of Professional Development when she and her Principal found out the news.
"It was such an incredible moment when I found out I had been selected," House said. "Dr. Woosley was showing a slide show of our students and noticed an email had popped up on her screen. She excitedly called me over and we read it together in front of our entire school family. It was so special to not only feel my own excitement, but to witness how immensely happy my principal and colleagues were for me. I am so honored to represent Conway Public Schools and thankful for this incredible opportunity."
Theodore Jones Elementary Principal Tammy Woosley agrees.
"To watch her reaction on receiving the good news, and the reaction of her team was a true joy as their leader. Randi truly lives out our district’s core values and I know that came through in her application to the ADE. Her dedication to each student and our team is a true testament of why she has been selected for such a prestigious honor."
The regional finalists are determined based on their Teacher of the Year applications they submitted last summer. The highest scores for each education service cooperative and Pulaski County move on to the next level, where four state semi-finalists will be named.
This will happen at a reception with the Governor on August 30th at the State Capitol.
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