By Louie Graves
Even if, as the building supervisor has promised, the new Mineral Springs K-12 school is ready in November or December, it doesn’t mean that the students and teachers will march across the street and take occupation.
Thelma Forte, in her second year as MS school superintendent, says the teachers will decide when the move will be made. She explains that moving would be a giant distraction at a time of year that is already busy. She wants no drop-off in the learning.
But Forte herself can hardly keep out of the rising structures. She says she makes at least two trips a week to walk through and marvel.
The $18.5 million campus is on the south side of East Browning Street immediately across from the ‘old’ campus. While construction has been underway the administration has worked out of the old Saratoga campus.
The school’s most recent graduating class attracted more than a million dollars in scholarships. “We’ve already challenged the juniors to better that amount.”
While the new schools will have the most modern of equipment and teaching techniques, there will also be something old and revered.
The superintendent says she talked with a number of ‘older’ MS grads about the school colors. She determined that the real MS colors are Kelly Green and Antique Vegas Gold. Those colors will be used on the interior of the new buildings.”I love the colors, they just pop.”
Even if the students do not move into their new home in December, the school will revive an old tradition from its Saratoga campus — the fabled holiday invitational basketball tournament which was the second-oldest in Arkansas. The new gym will be ready, Forte says, and she will be ready to show off the school to visitors.
Classes begin in the old buildings on Aug. 13, and students will experience ‘STEM’ which stands for Science Technological Engineering Mathematics, and is a new approach for learning. Forte says that the school has a partnership with Southern Arkansas University which furnishes STEM instructions for MS teachers. “This is learning something the fun way.”
She also points out that the school’s ‘Apple’ experience starts this year.” Teachers were given iPads, and will have iPad instruction for a year. After that, the students get them.
At Mineral Springs, Forte says she wants to create a culture and climate that prepares the student for a successful and satisfying life after high school.
She keeps up with developments in education by continuing education, professional associations, and a circle of education friends on whom she calls for suggestions. Those friends are not limited to Arkansas, but include a wide range in the U.S., and even one mentor in the United Kingdom.
She welcomes the new in education, but she cautions, “changes must be grounded in research.”
School District Staff
Administrators — Thelma Forte, superintendent; Clinton W. Jones, high school principal; Stacy L. Gauldin, elementary principal.
Administration — Nakesha C. Canady-Green, school nurse; Frankie Tollett, Judy A. Hart, Janice L. Jewell, Wendy C. Reed, Erma Stewart-Braxter, Charlene Walton, Robyn Walton, Marla C. Williams.
Science, business and technology — Tina D. Arter, Lizann Bell, Judith A. Cassady, Sherri L. Marshall, Robert D. Plant, Sandra Rhone, Kathryn Smith, Adam West, Stacy D. Gaddis.
Counselors, art, band and music — David P. Bretz, Christine Green, Deloyce Ann Bishop, Jeanette Lampkins, Melisa A. Musick.
Coaches, ISS and resource officer — David Bennett, head coach and athletic director; Roy L. Backus, Tracy D. Forte, Richard C. Gamble, James Slaton, Brandon K. Smith, Steven D. Staggs, Bryan K. Strickland.
Special education — Kimberly Nicole Bell, Jacque D. Clemons, Rhonda L. Conway, Ladonna Curtis, Earle R. Haddan, Dana L. Humphries, Terah A. Lagrone, Cara L. Lamb, Jacque Sheridan.
Reading, language arts, agri, English, social studies, math — Bron A. Bell, Michele Champoux-Ray, Lisa J. Duren, Mechelle L. Furr, Bridgett Glover, Marion E. Hedrick, Katie G. Jones, Margaret Ann Macon, Deidra Murphy, Mark A. Propps, Cindy L. Ratliff, Carla A. Smith, Hilary Solorio, Beverly D. Tallman, Sherry L. Turley, Tammy L. Walker.
assignments and aides —
Laura Curtis, Kimberly Esters, Tasha Fant, Peggy Fincher, Chad Freeman, Kenneth R. Green, Audra Griffin, Demetria Guidry, Rebecca Joann Loe, Amanda Brooke Puryear, Wendy C. Reed, Alvin Stewart, Deborah Strickland, Joni E. Terrell, Ashley Thomas, Samantha N. Young.
Transportation, custodian and maintenance — Gary Clements, Jeremy L. Conway, Steve Dixon, James Earl Gamble, Richard C. Gamble, Inez Gentry, Charles D. Gulley, Helen Harris, Fredecia Hendrix, Lula Hendrix, Don W. Marks, John E. Marshall, Herbie Mitchell, Charles Porter, Catherine Skinner, Charles Stewart, Jan Stewart, Linda Stewart, Lee Trimble.
Food service — Ambur L. Deloney, Cassandra Hamilton, Donna Hughes, Laurie Lagrone, Sarah Lockeby, Toyia L. Pilgreen, Roshunda Stewart, Arnita Walton.