Three CHS Seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Conway High School Principal Buck Bing presented the letters of commendation on behalf of the school and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, to Emily Holman, Francesca Redditt, and Allison Tilley Wednesday morning.
The three Conway seniors are among about 34,000 students nationwide to be recognized for their academic promise with this honor, placed among the top 50,000 scorers on the 2018 PSAT. More than 1.5 million students took the test.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes these commended students in an effort to broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them in their pursuit of academic success.
“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential,” says a National Merit Corporation Spokesman, “These students are vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.”
Conway High School Principal Buck Bing says this is especially true for the three Commended Scholars from the Conway High School Class of 2020..
“The administration, faculty and staff here at CHS are extremely proud of these students,” says Bing. “Their abilities, accomplishments, and work ethic are to be commended. I know I speak for all of their teachers K-12 when I say we proudly congratulate them for this well-deserved recognition.”
Conway High School has announced the names of four seniors who have been named National Merit Semifinalists today in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Joslyn Bruenger, Douglas Butler, Gavin Teague, and Mackenzie Williams are 2020 National Merit Semifinalists.
“Speaking on behalf of the entire Faculty/Staff at Conway High School, we are very proud to announce the semifinalists for the 2020 National Merit Scholarships,” says Principal Buck Bing.
“These students embody what we hope for all students from Conway High School: They are not just successful academically, but are involved in multiple aspects of the Conway High School experience. We look forward to the great things that they will go on to accomplish.”
These four students now move on to the next phase of the National Merit competition, where they have the opportunity to compete 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.
“The outstanding work of our teachers is reflected in these bright students,” says Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry. “We are proud of our students for this achievement. If you look closely at these students and their high school life, they are actively involved in both academics and activities that will prepare them to be great successes in their adult life. Indeed, they are already successful.”
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.
Members of the Mattison family gathered with school and district leaders Tuesday to celebrate the official renaming of Florence Mattison Elementary School to include the name of her husband, Preston Mattison.
Florence Mattison Elementary School was opened in 1981 and named after Florence Mattison, a long-time and well-loved educator in the Conway Public School District.
Her husband, Preston Mattison, was also a valued educator in our district. He was born in 1893. In 1923, Mr. Mattison was named the Principal of Pine Street School, where he served until 1947. The school initially served African-American students in grades 1 through 8.
He also played an active role in the affairs of the wider community. During his tenure, he was instrumental in convincing the school board of the need for a high school building to be constructed to serve African-American students at Pine Street.
Last May, the Conway Schools’ Board of Education unanimously approved a proclamation renaming Florence Mattison Elementary School as “Preston and Florence Mattison Elementary School.”
“I am proud of our community and our district for taking this important step in recognizing Preston Mattison’s contribution to education in our community,” says Andre’ Acklin, Conway School Board President. “Even on a personal note, I was able to know the Mattison family while growing up, and they were a tremendous blessing to my family.”
The ceremony included personal remarks from Berthenia Gill and Carla Coleman, both relatives of the Mattisons. They spoke fondly of their “Uncle Preston and Aunt Florence,” both of whom were powerful forces in advancing education, yet tenderhearted toward family, which included anyone and everyone they came to know.
Third and fourth grade students attended the renaming ceremony, which ended with a musical performance by the third grade choir entitled “Agents of Change.”
“We want our students to understand who our school is named after and why they were important.” says Gary Logan, Principal of Preston and Florence Mattison Elementary School. “We want our kids to be able to identify with these community leaders and role models and learn from the strong examples they set.”
Melissa Spence, first grade teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary School and Conway Public Schools’ District Teacher of the Year, is now one of four semi-finalists for the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.
The four finalists were announced today in a special ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion, after the 15 regional finalists were recognized by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key.
“With so many outstanding educators, it can be difficult to pick just four for this honor,” Key said. “Each of these teachers exhibits excellence both in and out of the classroom. I congratulate each for their passion for teaching and their efforts to ensure all students achieve their best."
Attending the celebration with Spence today was her husband Jeff and her mother, Gail Shrum, a retired teacher herself, Principal Dr. Tammy Woosley, Theodore Jones’ Instructional Facilitator Anna Schichtl, and Conway Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry.
“The closer we got to the naming of the four finalists the more nervous I became,” said Tammy Woosley, Theodore Jones Principal, “not because I didn’t think she could achieve this, but because I wanted this recognition so badly for her for the amazing teacher and person that she is.”
Meanwhile in Conway, members of Theodore Jones Elementary staff came together at the school on their last week of summer break to excitedly watched the live stream of the event, cheering and screaming when Melissa’s name was called.
“There was no doubt for me that she would be in the final four,” said fellow first grade teacher Ashley Counce. “Just knowing how much she deserves this brought me tears of joy as I heard her name announced.”
“It is so exciting for Melissa to be chosen as a finalist,” said Dr. Greg Murry. “She is so deserving of this honor and no doubt she will compare very favorably with the other candidates. Mrs. Spence is a great example of the quality of people in our district who serve our students well.”
Each semi-finalist received a certificate, medallion, and a $1,000 award at today’s ceremony. The ATOY Selection Committee will conduct site visits, to include classroom observations and interviews, over the next several weeks. The 2020 ATOY will be announced this fall.
Melissa Spence, first grade teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary School and Conway Public Schools’ District Teacher of the Year, is one of fifteen finalists for the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.
The regional finalists were announced today and will be recognized by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key at a special event at the Governor’s Mansion on August 1st.
“I am extremely proud of each of these regional finalists,” Key said. “From their tireless dedication to the teaching profession to their commitment to ensuring their students graduate prepared for college, career, and community engagement, these 15 educators are among the best of the best. With their hard work and dedication, we will achieve our vision of leading the nation in student-focused education.”
Spence, beloved by her fellow teachers and her students, is responsible for several initiatives at Theodore Jones, including “Schoolin’ Summer,” where the teachers and school leaders come together to travel through neighborhoods in their zone to visit students, giving them snacks, resources, and activities to work on at home during the summer.
“Our Theodore Jones family is so proud and ecstatic for Mrs. Spence being named a regional finalist,” says Dr. Tammy Woosley, Principal at Theodore Jones. “She is that teacher who truly does ‘whatever it takes’ for her students, our families, and our team. Her servant’s heart enables her to live out our district’s core values effortlessly.”
“I am excited, proud, and honored!” says Melissa Spence. “It is such a privilege to be represented among the educators who are regional finalists. I am grateful to my Theodore Jones team for their support and for every opportunity I have received. I am truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful district.”
Spence is the second regional finalist from Theodore Jones Elementary School in the last three years. Kindergarten teacher Randi House was a Regional Finalist in 2018. She became a State Semi-Finalist before being named the 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. House will return to Theodore Jones this August after spending a year traveling in this role.
This year’s regional finalists will each receive a $1,000 award made possible by a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program. The four state semi-finalists announced August 1 are selected from the 15 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.
SPECIAL EDUCATION RECORDS TO BE DESTROYED
On July 29, 2019, the Conway Public School District will destroy Special Education records of students who graduated, moved or were dismissed from Special Education services in the district between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. This process is carried out in compliance with federal and state laws. Students, parents and/or guardians may obtain any data from folders prior to July 29, 2019, by calling the Special Education office at (501) 450-6634, extension 221.
It's time to celebrate Conway High School's 2019 graduating class! Please join us on Sunday, May 19 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 Tuesday, May 21 through Thursday, May 23 and 8 PM Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23 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:
Exceptions will be made for those with medical needs.
Conway Teacher Nominated for the MacGregor Teaching Award
Mrs. Jennifer Barnett, a teacher at Conway Junior High School has been nominated for the Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Teacher of the Year History Teacher Award.
Barnett was nominated for her outstanding teaching and work with National History Day, a project in which many Conway students participate and excel each year.
Each of the 57 National History Day affiliates may nominate one middle and high school teacher each for this award. Mrs. Barnett is the senior division nominee from Arkansas.
“Everyday, Ms. Barnett demonstrates her heart for kids through passionate attention to not only rigor, but also differentiated instruction that reaches every child,” says Conway Junior High School Principal Ben Darley. “Her skillful use of technology enhances learning for her students and also makes her a leader in our school.”
Barnett has represented Conway Junior High as their 2019 Teacher of the Year in the district this past year.
The two national winners of the MacGregor Award will be chosen by a team of teachers and historians. Nominees’ work must clearly illustrate the development and use of creative teaching methods that interest students in history and help them make exciting discoveries about the past.
Dr. James F. Harris sponsors the $5,000 awards, in honor of his sister, and in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students.
Winners must demonstrate a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest.
The two national winners will be announced on #NationalHistoryDay, June 13, 2019.
“Teachers are one of the greatest resources children have to develop the skills necessary to become critical thinkers,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “The nominees for the MacGregor Award have shown a dedication to teaching that goes beyond the classroom. I congratulate Mrs. Barnett on her nomination.”
On April 4, Conway High School and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services Hosted a Transition Fair for students with disabilities.
Over 30 area vendors participated in the areas of college transition, post-high school training opportunities, employment opportunities, community support services, and disability resources.
Carrie Tuttle, with Arkansas Transition, and Andrea Gilliam, with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services spoke to the students about preparing for Transition and exciting opportunities available for students.
Conway High School is appreciative of the support the community showed on this exciting day for our students.
Conway High School's Culinary Arts Instructor Jennifer Park has been nominated as ProStart Educator of the Year by the Arkansas Hospitality Association.
This award, for outstanding achievement in high school culinary and restaurant management education, is given to only one teacher in the state of Arkansas.
Park is now a finalist for the National Educator of Excellence Awards (NEEA) sponsored by Golden Corral.
NEEA winners are recognized either by category (Classroom Expertise, Best Practice/Knowledge Sharing and Industry Connection), where each category winner will receive $3,500, or as a finalist for the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year Award, where one winner will receive $10,000.
“Jennifer is an outstanding teacher and goes beyond the classroom to help students succeed," said Montine McNulty, CEO of the Arkansas Hospitality Association. "Mrs. Park guides her students to work together and helps them develop the skills and attitude important for business success. She has high expectations and her students leave her class prepared for college as well as the industry.”
ProStart®, a nationwide high school program that unites classroom and industry to develop the talent of tomorrow’s workforce, reaches nearly 150,000 students in more than 1,500 high schools across 50 states. Hospitality is the 2nd largest industry in Arkansas. Restaurant and foodservice jobs in Arkansas represent 10% of employment in the state in 2019.
Jennifer Park started Conway High School's Culinary Arts program in 2012. This year 54 students are participating in ProStart.
"What excites me about the educational side of the Hospitality and Food Industry is watching my students recognize the relevance of these courses to their general education," says Park. "They are able to adapt the critical thinking skills learned in our classes to other courses, to the food industry, as well as the in the kitchen. It is a privilege to see them succeed in the kitchen, in school, and in life!”
Jennifer was selected for the award from over 10 ProStart educators across the state and will be recognized in May at the National ProStart Invitational (NPSI), where over 400 ProStart students and educators from across the country showcase their culinary and restaurant management skills in a live-action competition for over $200,000 in scholarships.
Conway Public Schools News
To submit items for our news feed, e-mail ideas and information here.