LRSD Math Leadership Selected to Head National Organization

Dr. Vanessa Cleaver was recently elected president of the National Benjamin Banneker Association, an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and will serve until April of 2015. Marcelline Carr, Lead Math Teacher for grades 9-12, was elected treasurer.

The Benjamin Banneker Association is a national non-profit organization of concerned teachers of mathematics, university-level mathematics educators and other individuals committed to promoting greater mathematical literacy for all members of our society, particularly African American students. The organization, named after African-American scientist, surveyor, astronomer and almanac author Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), has more than 300 members across the United States.

Dr. Sadie Mitchell—The Nation’s One and Only Teacher Leader Award Winner

Dr. Sadie Mitchell, Associate Superintendent of Elementary Education, was the one and only recipient of the Reading Recovery Council of North America’s Teacher Leader Award this year! The Teacher Leader Award is given to nominated individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Reading Recovery through implementation, expanded services to service additional children and advocacy above the local level. The review process is so rigorous that a limited number of awards are given in any given year.

Dr. Mitchell will be recognized at the Teacher Leader Institute and Leadership Academy in Washington DC in June. Congratulations Dr. Mitchell, we think you’re the best, too!


Reading Recovery is a short-term intervention for first graders having extreme difficulty with early reading and writing. Specially trained teachers work individually with students in daily 30-minute lessons lasting 12 to 20 weeks. After a full series of lessons, about 75% of these formerly lowest-achieving students reach grade-level standard.

Four McClellan Students Win 1st in LR Rotary Club’s Essay Oratorical Contest


The 2013 Rotary Oratorical Essay Contest winners in grades 6-12 were presented with awards at the Rotary Club of Little Rock luncheon on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. This year, students from McClellan won in all four of the high school grade-level divisions, competing against applicants from all five LRSD high schools. Maraya Warren won first place in the 9th grade division; Rachel Lewis was the winner in the 10th grade division; William Lemonds was the 11th grade winner; and Brittany Threatt, last year’s 11th grade winner, won first place in the 12th grade division. 

Second place at the grade 12 level was declared a tie with both Sandra Garcia, Little Rock Central, and Kiniya Conley, J.A. Fair, emerging as winners. Mabelvale Magnet Middle School students, 7th grader Jayla King and 8th grader Kevin Nguyen, both won first place in their respective grade levels. Cloverdale Conversion Charter Middle School student, Keyera Boykins, won first place at the 6th grade level.

Two Metro Students Win Tech Institute Scholarships

Jose Martinez and Preston Fore, Automotive Collision Repair and Automotive Service Technology students at Metropolitan Career Technical Center received $1,000 scholarships to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Nashville, Tennessee.  The students were awarded the scholarship for exhibiting exceptional skills in their perspective programs of study.  The award was presented by Richard Deluca, UTI Representative.

Henderson and Rockefeller Win Big at 2013 Student Media Festival


Students from Henderson Middle School and Rockefeller Elementary were big winners at the 2013 Student Media Festival awards ceremony on April 20, 2013. Both schools were selected to receive multiple awards for their creative media works. Click here to see the full results.

Students from Henderson Middle School won first second and third for sequential stills without audio, podcasts and animation; first and second place for web sites; and second and third place for their sequential stills with audio and computer generated photographs for the 6-8 grade level.

Rockefeller’s class projects by Marilou McMahan and Judy Meier’s Second Graders  took first place and Skip Gardner and Evelyn Jones’ Third Graders took second place for class group sequential stills without audio for the K-3 level.  

The Student Media Festival, sponsored by Arkansas Association of Instructional Media, is dedicated to displaying the outstanding media projects of Arkansas students.  The media projects presented at the SMF included individual or group projects such as live action video, sequential stills (such as PowerPoint or Photostory Productions), interactive stills (Flash, Adobe Acrobat, etc.), photographs, animation, web sites and audio podcasts.


Hall High Golfer, Ashtone Dixon, Swings Her Way to Lyon College


Hall High student athlete Ashtone Dixon made history today, April 18, 2013, when she became the first black female golfer to receive an athletic scholarship from Lyon College, a prestigious liberal arts college in Batesville. Her soon-to-be coach, Julie Church, was the first female to receive a golf scholarship from Lyon College and has been the men’s and women’s golf coach for seven years. 


A model student athlete, Dixon was also a 2012 Girl’s State Delegate and the winner of the Wellesley College Book Prize.  Dixon sees golf as a life-long networking opportunity and attributes much of her success to the sport. Her average golf score is 86 for 18 holes. Dixon has played golf for eight years and was introduced to the sport by her father and grandfather. Dixon plans to study Economics and International Business.

Five LRSD Destination Imagination Teams Advance to Global Finals

Imaginations ran wild on Saturday, April 6 at the Arkansas Destination ImagiNation (DI) State Championships in Benton, when five DI teams from three LRSD schools won first place and qualified to advance to the Destination Imagination Global Finals next month at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Three teams from Carver Magnet Elementary School, and one team each from Forest Heights Middle School and Gibbs Magnet Elementary School all had qualifying first place scores to compete against thousands of students from over 25 different countries from around the world at the Global Finals. 

Gibbs Magnet Elementary dominated overall with first place in three different categories—repeating the achievement of being the only school in the State Finals with three teams advancing to the Global Finals from last year. The categories were: Wind Visible, a scientific challenge; In Disguise, a fine arts challenge; and Real to Reel, a documentary film project meant to address a community need. In the fine arts challenge, Gibbs won the Instant Challenge and the Renaissance Award, a special recognition for exceptional skill in the area of engineering, design or performance. Last year, Gibbs emerged as the Global Winner in the scientific category beating teams from around the world.


For the sixth year in the row Carver Magnet Elementary School won first place at the elementary level for “In the Zone,” the most difficult category requiring a trifecta mastery of engineering, design and mathematical concepts. In fact, LRSD schools won at every level of competition in the highly technical “In the Zone” category with Forest Heights Middle School and J.A. Fair Magnet High School winning first place at their respective levels. Dunbar Magnet Middle School won the category’s Instant Challenge securing third place at the middle school level of “In the Zone.”  Only Forest Heights and Carver advance to Global in this category. 


Teams from Williams Magnet Elementary, Henderson and Mann Magnet Middle Schools also competed. In the scientific challenge, Wind Visible, Williams placed third and Carver placed fourth while Mann placed third and Dunbar placed fourth in the Twist-O-Rama structural challenge. Carver also placed eighth in the improvisational category, Change in Realitee. Hundreds of teams competed in the State Finals at Benton High School.


McDonald All American Stars Shine Brightly

Bobby Portis and Tyler Scaife, Hall High School's historic McDonald's All-Americans, each tasted victory on the boys' (110-99) and girls' (92-64) West teams, respectively, of the 2013 McDonald's All-American Games in Chicago April 3rd. They make Hall and LRSD proud. Their respective wins in the All-American Games continue their winning season, as they each led their Hall teams to 2013 6A Championships. Bobby has signed a letter of commitment with the Arkansas Razorbacks, while Tyler has committed to Rutgers. We wish these basketball superstars much success in their endeavors.

2013 Arkansas Science and Engineering Fair Results

The results are in for the 2013 Arkansas Science and Engineering Fair, sponsored by Southwest Energy, and the Central High Science Fair team has won 2nd place overall. Team first place honors went to the winning team of Dana Abulez and Devyani Shekawat from Central. Individual first place winners from Central were Ayush Saraswat in the computer science category and Dhruba Dasgupta in the energy and transport category. Osvaldo Cossio of Parkview won first place in the biochemistry category.

Click here to view the complete list of winners (LRSD winners highlighted in yellow). Students won nearly $15,000 in cash prizes and another $15,000 to pay for travel to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona next month.

Parkview Students Sweep Local Optimist Oratory Contest

Congratulations to the Parkview students who dominated in the Optimist Oratory Contest at Rosedale Optimist Club.
The following Parkview 9th girls won medals and monetary awards in the female division:
1st Place Abigail Mansur/9th grade
2nd Place Michelle Mora/9th grade
3rd Place Olivia Rizzardi/9th grade
4th Place Sydney Washington/9th grade

Back to Back Science Olympiad Champs

Central High’s Science Olympiad Team is the two time state champion, 2012 and 2013. The Arkansas State Science Olympiad Competition was held at University of Arkansas at Little Rock under the direction of Dr. Eric Kaufmann on February 23, 2013.

Central had three, 15 member teams participate in the event. Our Tiger Team placed sixth, our Black Team Placed fourth and our Gold Team placed first. Abhilasha Gokulan, the captain of the Gold Team, was elected onto the Arkansas Science Olympiad Board of Directors and is the first student in the state to hold this position.

Our team now qualifies to attend the National Science Olympiad competition in Dayton, Ohio May 15-19. We are currently raising funds so that ALL members of our three teams will be able to attend the national event. Our students will be fundraising around the city. More details to come. Please support our teams!

LRSD Student Art Selected for Arts Center Exhibition

LRSD students from three elementary schools and one high school were selected as winners at the 52nd Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition. Washington Elementary fourth grader, Jalesa Humphrey and Little Rock Central eleventh grader, Zach Blair, were selected as “Best of Class” for their grade level. Carver Magnet Elementary Kindergartener, Andrew Daniel, and Wakefield Elementary third grader, Ricardo Alvarez, both received Honorable Mention recognition for their grade level.

This year’s awards reception will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 7th, in the Children's Theater, in conjunction with an Arts Center Family Festival.

Image #1 (top): Jalesa Humphrey—Washington Elementary (4th grade)
Image#2 : Zach Blair—Little Rock Central High (11th grade)

Image #3 (bottom left): Andrew Daniel—Carver Magnet Elementary (Kindergarten)
Image#4 (bottom right): Ricardo Alvarez— Wakefield Elementary (3rd grade)


Pulaski Heights Middle School Students Know History

Please congratulate the National History Day District 7 winners from Pulaski Heights. PHMS students won 13 awards and even swept one category, Historical Paper. Ms. Buford received the award for Outstanding Junior Division Teacher. Most of these students will move on to the state level competition on April 20, 2013 at UCA.

Historical Paper 1st – Alex Crawford, 2nd – Lillian Clement, 3rd – Angie Brown

Individual Performance 1st - Owen Kong-McLain

Documentary Honorable Mention – Stevie Wise

Individual Exhibit 1st – Jack Curtis

Group Exhibit 2nd – Makynzi Watson-Williams & Jordan Staggers, Honorable Mention – Tulshi Amin & Meredith Hatfield

Individual Website 1st Hannah Cozart, 2nd – Madeline Wood, Honorable Mention – Sam Griffin

Group Website 1st – Addison Stone, Alex Pickell, Elisabeth Bates; 3rd – Olivia Hope, Megan Sander, Riley Chafin

Double Spotlight for Gibbs Art Program

THEA FOUNDATION GIFT Gibbs Magnet Elementary School artists have been given a wonderful gift of art supplies! Herron Horton Architects founders, Jennifer Herron and Jeff Horton, made a generous donation to the Thea Foundation that was matched by the Foundation. Herron Horton Architects made the stipulation that the art support  go to Gibbs where both of their children attended school.

Central High Debate Students Raise the Bar, Again

Little Rock Central High School won first place in the Arkansas Bar Association's Regional High School Mock Trial Competition held March 2 in Ft. Smith. The tem advances to the state level in Little Rock on March 9, 2013, where they will vie for the opportunity to compete at the National High School Mock Trial Championship later this year in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Last year the Central High team won the State Championship and competed for the national title in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Little Rock Central High participants were Sarthak Garg, Ryan Gauger, Ian Goza, John Harpool, David Xiang, Joseph Hwang, Astha Mittal, Maddison Perry and Drew Ricciardone.Their sponsoring teacher was Kathleen Holladay and attorney coaches were Clarke Tucker and Matt Wells. Mrs. Melinda Bieth and Mr. Bob Goza assisted.

Lynn Lisk of Fort Smith, program director and assistant professor in the Legal Assistance/Paralegal Program at UAFS, said the competition teaches high school students about the legal system and how it works. He called the competition "an invaluable tool."