Some Kindergarten students at Theodore Jones Elementary School end the year with a day they'll never forget.
Teacher Nathan Howse took his whole class on a fishing trip last week.
Howse,an outdoorsman and nature lover, says he started this tradition seven years ago when he discovered that many of his students had never experienced one of life's simple childhood pleasures.
"Our class was reading a book about frogs and tadpoles and I asked the students how many of them have ever seen tadpoles or frogs, and many said they had not," said Howse. "I asked how many students had been fishing; several students said they had not. I started looking at our curriculum and I quickly realized that I could include a ton of standards, ranging from writing to math into a fishing trip. I am a firm believer that learning should not be limited to our classroom."
Howse and his students walk from Theodore Jones to nearby Courtway Middle School for their annual Fishing Trip.
He says the students always feel like they are going on an outdoor expedition.
"The candid conversations the day of the fishing trip are phenomenal. The trip is always towards the end of the year so we get to experience a solid years’ worth of friendships in the purest form."
"Every year the first fish caught receives roaring cheers from the other kiddos. We have caught catfish, bream, bass, and even a plastic bag! For seven years straight, any student who has wanted to catch a fish has caught one."
The kids are also treated to a "happy meal/kids meal" lunch, thanks to one of Howse's personal friends. He heard about the trip and wanted to make the day even more special for the kids, so his company has donated lunch for the kids every year.
After spending the morning fishing, the class spends the entire afternoon doing follow up work from the trip. They compile all the data from the trip (how many fish caught, who caught the most, length of the biggest fish compared to the smallest fish, which bait caught the most fish, etc.) and they turn a lot of the data into easy to read charts and graphs. The students write in their journals their opinions of the fishing trip.
Howse says the students write ferociously about all they experienced that day. It is their best journal writing of the year.
"You can literally see the students smile as they write about catching that fish. I have had students who struggled with writing and sitting still in the classroom who excel on this fishing trip and even ask for more time on their writing because they wanted to add more details about their fish. Students become learning sponges and they absorb everything, because they think we are just fishing."
"On the last day of school I ask all of my students to describe their favorite memory of Kindergarten. 9 times out of 10 they mention the fishing trip. Parents have also fallen in love with this magical trip. I have several dads that have continued to help even after their kids have left my class. Our principal’s dad has attended every trip, playing a vital role in assisting the students crossing the street and baiting hooks. Other people have offered to help financially and with their time. It is a phenomenal day!"
Conway Public Schools has named Kindergarten Teacher Randi House as its District Teacher of the Year for 2018.
House's classroom was packed with parents and grandparents for their end-of-the-year Awards Ceremony, where she was giving out awards to her students, when Theodore Jones Principal Tammy Woosley announced there was a surprise award presentation.
Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry then came into the awards ceremony with balloons and cookies for House and her students. The crowd applauded for their teacher, whom they say is one of a kind.
"Randi is a phenomenal teacher," says Woosley. "She has a way of being a huge advocate for students and putting her own unique, creative spin on the learning opportunities she provides to her students."
House has taught at Theodore Jones for the last 6 years, but began her teaching career in 2004.
She taught preschool in the East Poinsett County School District, then first grade in the Nettleton School District prior to coming to Conway.
Before being chosen as District Teacher of the Year, she was chosen to represent Theodore Jones as their school's Teacher of the Year.
Other Teachers of the Year for Conway Schools are as follows:
Sallie Cone Preschool- Reta Scroggs
Ida Burns Elementary- Nicole Loftis
Woodrow Cummins Elementary- Liz Kimble
Theodore Jones Elementary- Randi House
Carolyn Lewis Elementary- Katie Kirkland
Florence Mattison Elementary- Allison Chrisman
Julia Lee Moore Elementary- Shannon Riner
Ellen Smith Elementary- Alisa Paladino
Jim Stone Elementary- Kristy Bentley
Marguerite Vann Elementary- Jana Hedgecock
Bob & Betty Courtway Middle School- Cheryl Bing
Ruth Doyle Middle School- Kaye Kaye Dell
Ray & Phyllis Simon Middle School- Tanya (Wilson) Easterwood
Carl Stuart Middle School- Kerry Hymas
Conway Junior High- Beth Fulks
Conway High School- William Richardson
House will now go on to represent Conway Schools in the Teacher of the Year Competition for the State of Arkansas.
Ray and Phyllis Simon awarded the second annual Simon Prize in Mathematics for Girls on May 17th.
During the awards ceremony, Phyllis Simon explained the history of the prize and how hard the girls worked during the application process.
The girls were judged on their academic achievements, a portfolio, essays, as well as recommendations.
Mrs. Simon explained that the Simon family wanted to encourage girls to pursue their dreams in STEM fields.
There were three fifth grade winners who earned fifty dollars each, two sixth grade winners who earned one hundred dollars each, and one seventh grade winner who won three hundred dollars.
In addition, all winners receive funding for a summer STEM camp.
Several girls also received special recognition for their efforts.
Congratulations to all the girls who were recognized!
1st row, left to right – Ray Simon; Emily H. 5th grade winner; Allie B., 6th grade special recognition; Leilani H., 6th grade special recognition; Abigail G., 5th Grade winner; Jillian B., 5th grade special recognition; Isabelle D., 5th grade special recognition; Phyllis Simon.
2nd row, left to right – Diya M., 7th grade special recognition; Rebecca B., 7th grade winner; Isabel R., 6th grade winner; Laura T., 6th grade winner.
Two Conway Junior High students have received Rotary’s Outstanding 8th Grader award.
Cade Smiley and Claire Lambert were awarded a certificate for the honor last week.
The award emphasizes “service above self” which is the Rotary motto.
The students were nominated by their teachers at CJHS and chosen by a committee.
Both Lambert and Smiley are involved in several volunteer community service activities as well as school-related activities.
Cade Smiley is the son of Henry and Donna Smiley. Cade volunteers at First United Methodist church feeding ministry and the Special Olympics. He helps with vacation bible school at Antioch Baptist Church. He is a member of the CJHS Choir, Chamber Choir, Quiz Bowl and Student Council. He has all As in his Pre-AP classes and currently taking to credit classes, Algebra and Biology. He won 1st in the state National History Day Competition in his category. He will attend nationals this summer at University of Maryland at College Park. His Quiz Bowl team won 3rd in the state this year. Cade’s goals are to help his Quiz Bowl team do well, be an honor graduate, and become a lawyer. Quotes from his teachers include: “stellar academic record, very mature, loves the statistical side of politics, great sense of humor, adds immeasurably to classroom discussions.”
Claire Lambert is the daughter of Chris and Cristal Lambert. She competes in pageants and her platform is “You have the Power: Building Stronger Communities”. Claire has raised over $1,000 for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She has worked at the CAPCA letter carriers’ food drive, she used social media to bring awareness to diabetes, she did the 21 pushup challenge for suicide awareness. She teaches Pre-K through 4th grade about good character traits and how they can use them in their everyday lives. She is on the CJHS Wampus Cat Dance team, she is on the CHS Wampus Cat Tennis Team, CJHS 8th grade career development representative for “KATA in the Classroom”, member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and has applied for the “EXCEL” in Leadership team for the 2017-2018 school year. Not only does Claire excel in community service and extra-curricular activities she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average all year. She is determined to graduate with distinguished high honors and then attend Stanford University to study marine biology or biomedical engineering. Her biggest dream is to have a national platform to make a difference in this country serving as Miss America. Here are a few quotes from her teachers: “Claire is very polite and kind. She is confident without being self-absorbed. All around excellent student with a positive attitude.”
CJHS is very proud of these students!
The following students have served as ambassadors at Julia Lee Moore Elementary for the 2016-17 school year. Student ambassadors assist new students in becoming familiar with the school. They are selected based on positive character traits and are encouraged to further develop leadership skills as part of the program.
2016-17 JLM Ambassadors
Landon, Isabella, Robert, Madelyn, Ryder, Mae.
August, Sydnie, Morgan, Kyle, Avery Kate, Aayden.
Cohen, Chloe, Ryan, Martha Grace, Mason, Kate.
Max, Maggie, Kohen, Jamia, Riley, Alex.
Conway Public Schools is happy to announce that all 16 of our schools now have a garden for students and teachers to sow into and reap benefits from for years to come.
The school gardens are part of a larger Farm-to-School Effort that the district has been seeking to prioritize for several years.
“The Farm to School program enriches the lives of our students by promoting healthy eating and enhancing classroom education through hands-on learning,” says Sharon Burgess, Food Services Supervisor for the Conway School District.
In November 2015, Conway Schools was awarded a USDA Farm to School Grant. This $44,000 planning grant enabled the Conway School District to develop and build gardens in all schools but three. The goal was to eventually to have gardens at each school by the end of this school year.
Baptist Health stepped in to make that happen in the Spring of 2017 with the donation needed to build the raised beds at Julia Lee Moore Elementary School, Jim Stone Elementary School, and Woodrow Cummins Elementary School. They also generously donated garden wheel barrels to all 16 Conway Schools.
"Baptist Health is committed to a healthier Arkansas and we take the responsibility of serving the health needs of the Conway community seriously,” said Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health. “Being healthy starts with being educated and these gardens and wheel barrels will allow these students to learn to make healthy eating choices in a fun and active way.”
With the completion of the last three gardens, all schools will be able to use their gardens for cross-curricular lessons in many different subjects and grade levels. Teachers and students alike will have the opportunity to see firsthand what is involved in growing a garden, as well as get to sample some home-grown (or school-grown!) fruits and vegetables.
“We are very excited about all of the possibilities gardening opens up for our students,” says Woodrow Cummins Elementary School Principal Dayna Lewis. “Our students are already enjoying learning about the fundamentals of gardening. They have taken on the responsibility of watering their crops. We are looking forward to using their “harvest” in healthy recipes in the fall.”
Woodrow Cummins’ teachers have been working hard on their two raised garden beds, planting radishes, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, swiss chards, and several different types of flowers.
4th grade students assisted in planting the seeds as well as daily watering and weed maintenance. They hope that the plants will be big enough to pick in the next few weeks so that the cafeteria manager can prepare something fun for the students before school is out!
They plan to form a “Garden Club” next fall to make more plans for the garden including harvesting more vegetables and possible expansion.
Students from Ida Burns Elementary School won all three places in a recent community essay contest.
The Chase Potter Essay Contest, sponsored by the Conway Animal Shelter and open to all schools in Faulkner County, asked students to write from an animal's perspective and describe the ideal life as a pet.
4th Grade Teacher Mrs. Lelia Young has submitted writings from her students for this contest for the last several years.
"I am always so impressed by the empathy the students show in their writing," says Young. "It makes me feel so proud that the papers are so heart warming. I think it is valuable for kids to understand how it might feel to be an animal without a loving family."
This year's winners are Ida Burns students from L to R-- 3rd Place- Ma'rya, 1st Place- Maikala, and 2nd Place- Emma Claire.
Building leadership, values, and academics in young men is the motto of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Club at Marguerite Vann Elementary School. Research shows that when male students receive extra encouragement and support they are more successful in the classroom. This empowerment program uses a variety of character and leadership methods holistically integrated to help improve academic achievement and inspire them to set attainable goals for reaching their personal hopes & dreams.
This program is open to all young men at Vann Elementary in the third and fourth grade. Each month the program advisor, Jeremy Fox, hosts a special training day focused on leadership skill development, life skills and academic success in the classroom. The young men wear their business dress attire which consists of collared shirt, nice pants, and necktie.
In November 2016 the program was recognized nationally at Carnegie Corporation where program founder and school media specialist, Jamille Rogers was honored for her public service to education in Arkansas. The award and program caught the attention of The Adcock Family Foundation. After visiting the school and with some of the students, they decided to make a substantial contribution of $22,000 which was presented on Monday – May 8th at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Club Awards Ceremony.
The 50 Young Men of Leadership took part in a special awards ceremony. Throughout the school year they have shown a strong commitment to becoming a leader, they have excelled in the classroom, and they have demonstrated good morals and values. The awards program is being sponsored by Bell & Sward Gentlemen’s Clothier in Conway. Parents, program mentors and members of the community have been invited to share in this celebration of accomplishment.
It's time to celebrate Conway High School's 2017 graduating class! Please join us on Sunday, May 21st at the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. Graduates should be in place no later than 2:00. Doors will open to the public at 1:30, and the graduation event begins at 3:00. We hope to see you there!
This year's ceremony will be live streamed on Conway Corporation’s Channels 5 and 585, our Conway Schools Mobile App, and on Conway Corporation's YouTube Channel if you cannot attend graduation. It will also be replayed at noon on Tuesday, May 23 through Thursday, May 25 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 on Conway Corporation’s Channels 5 and 585.
Guests and Graduates: Please note the following about Verizon Arena's Bag Policy
Walk-through magnetometers are mandatory for every Verizon Arena event. Items that must be placed on the security inspection table:
Items that may be kept on your person:
Exceptions will be made for those with medical needs.
The Conway High School Senior Class of 2017 celebrates their last day of school by taking a "trip back in time" to their very first days of school.
The seniors gathered together for a breakfast this morning, where Principal Jason Lawrence reminded the class of all they have accomplished.
"We started out this year and I asked you to do two things for me...to show up and to be a leader. You have done those things and I am so proud of all of you," said Lawrence. "My senior year of high school was one of the best times of my life. I hope yours has been as well."
After a slide show video with highlights from their Senior year, the students put on their caps and gowns and loaded up on school buses, headed back to the Elementary School they attended. Students who are new to the district simply chose which of the 9 Elementary Schools they wished to visit.
The 2017 Seniors arrived at their former schools to find hundreds of elementary school students, their teachers, and the Principals waiting for them...smiling, cheering, and waving.
"Wow! This place looks so little!"
"That's my old classroom!"
"It even smells the same in here!"
"I can't believe we are back! SO cool!"
Their "Senior Walk" through the hallways was full of emotion from teachers and students alike. There were many happy reunions of teachers with their former students.
"These are all my babies and they have all grown up!" says Conway School Teacher Sherri Pillow. Pillow, who now teaches at Carl Stuart Middle School, taught at Marguerite Vann for 10 years. She gathered her Kindergarten class together for a photo today- eight out of her twenty students were at Vann for the Senior Walk.
Her son Jack is also among the graduates who walked the halls at Vann today, making this event extra special for her.
"The Senior Walk through the halls of their first school is symbolic of many things," says Heather Kendrick, Communication Specialist for Conway Schools. "We hope it will remind our seniors of how far they have come, and how important it is to finish strong, because they are examples and role models."
"At the same time, we hope that seeing these “big kids” in their caps and gowns will give the elementary students a vision for what their own future can be like if they work hard and persevere. We want them to remember this and work to achieve it."
This is the first year for the Senior Walk to be held in Conway Schools. School leaders hope it will become an annual tradition.
Conway Public Schools News
To submit items for our news feed, e-mail ideas and information here.