Members of Conway High School's Marching Band got to experience the atmosphere and exposure of a Razorback basketball game as they joined members of the 'Hogwild' Band at the University of Arkansas recently.
Conway Band Director Nathan Cunningham says the opportunity came about after he visited with the Director of the Hogwild Band about the possibility of bringing a few students to visit.
"As we looked at the schedule, he saw a game where the University was still on winter break and he would not have as many Hogwild Band members in attendance," Cunningham said. "So this allowed us to take 50 Conway students to play with the Hogwild Band."
As an added bonus, the Razorbacks were playing against LSU in a SEC Conference match-up.
The combined Courtside Cats members and Hogwild Band members added up to over 100 musicians.
Cunningham says even though the Razorbacks didn't play well, the students had a blast!
"It was definitely one of the coolest things I've ever experienced in my life," says Mason Choate, Junior Trumpet player. "Everything was so organized and professional, which made the experience even more fun. I hope to be in the Hogwild Band someday."
"My experience when I went to play with the Hogwild Band was great! I made new friends and the band was fun," says Ca'Taija Anderson, Sophomore Clarinet Player.
Students at Jim Stone Elementary will be “teeing it up” and learning some new skills in PE class, after receiving a grant from Community Service, Inc.
Beginning in 2013, Community Service, Inc. formed a partnership with The First Tee of Central Arkansas to bring The First Tee Character Development programming to our area.
Jim Stone will participate in the First Tee’s “National School Program” this Spring.
The First Tee National School Program brings the First Tee curriculum to a child’s Physical Education classroom. Through a variety of safe and fun activities, elementary students will learn the basic skills of the lifelong sport of golf.
The program not only gives the students the opportunity to learn golf, but also shows them the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.
The First Tee Program provides training for the teachers, as well as equipment and lesson plans that integrate golf skills, motor skills, core values, and healthy habits.
Principal Mark Lewis says his teachers and students are very excited about this new partnership.
“We are truly honored to have been selected to be a part of the National First Tee School Program. This program has proven results nationwide that go beyond just teaching a lifelong love of golf. The basis of the program also blends character education and wellness in a manner that helps to foster productive and healthy members of society.”
Jim Stone is the first school in Conway to be chosen for the program, which has been implemented in more than 9,000 elementary schools across the country.
An Intern Teacher from Marguerite Vann Elementary School has ended her internship with an unforgettable honor.
Pam Okolo was both surprised and honored to receive the "Intern of the Semester" award from UCA last week. But the biggest surprise for Ms. Okolo came when her mentor teacher, Mrs. Ortega, and her 19 first graders walked in the room to share in her celebration.
"I was a little disappointed that I would not be able to go to her ceremony because our first grade students were going on a field trip that day," said Mrs. Ortega.
Since the field trip was already scheduled to be held at the University of Central Arkansas later that day, Principal Bobby Walker made a call to the bus shop to see if they could pick up Mrs. Ortega and her class a little earlier.
"Everyone was so accommodating and helpful. Because of willing people working together, we were able to create an unforgettable moment for an intern, her classmates, supervisors, first grade students, and a classroom teacher."
In UCA's 24-year history of giving this award, no class has ever surprised their student teacher like that.
"Together, we are truly better!"
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."
Conway Public Schools News
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