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 Public Schools News
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