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Central's Kiara Williams Named January Athlete of the Month AGAIN!

Once again, Central High's Lady Tiger basketball star Kiara Williams has been named the Athlete of the Month for January. As a junior, Kiara was named the January 2015 Athlete of the Month and she continues to be a stand-out star and team leader. Earlier this year, Kiara signed to play college ball for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville next fall. She has a 3.0 GPA and averages 13 points a game— proving that outstanding athletes have the discipline and dedication required to be successful in the classroom. Already her team is off to a 13-0 start and is ranked number one in the state. Significantly, Maxpreps has ranked the Lady Tigers #20 in the nation and USA Today has ranked the team as #25 in the nation. We have every expectation that Kiara and her team will have the right stuff to take home the 7A State Championship this year.

Dunbar PTSA Funds Cash Prizes for Science Fair Winners

January 11, 2016—The results are in for Dunbar Gifted and Talented/International Studies Middle School’s annual Science Fair and thanks to Dunbar’s PTSA three young scientists are taking home a total of $175 for their outstanding work. The overall winners are:

• 1st Place: Maleah Neal (6th grade) $100 prize
• 2nd place: Kaylin Allen (7th grade) $50 prize
• 3rd place: Julio Castrillo (6th grade) $25 prize

Plans Underway to Open Two New Schools

January 11, 2016—The Little Rock School District is moving forward with the planning, design and construction of a new middle school in west Little Rock and a new high school in southwest Little Rock. The former board of the Little Rock School District envisioned both projects in the broader context of a millage increase and bond issue. However, LRSD Superintendent Baker Kurrus and administrative staff now believe both projects can be planned, designed, constructed and equipped using existing revenues. Superintendent Kurrus is appointing a committee to choose architects for both projects with their work beginning immediately.

The new west Little Rock middle school will open this fall at the Leisure Arts location for sixth graders with grades 7-8 added in subsequent years. Temporary space for the sixth grade will be provided in the office building while the district begins the process of converting the large warehouse into the permanent middle school facility to accommodate students as they move up. Land and improvements are now under contract for $11,500,000 with a total estimated cost of $15,000,000 to $19,000,000 for the conversion, a new gymnasium, furniture and equipment. The expected enrollment for fall 2016 will be 250-300 sixth graders.

The planning and design phase for the new southwest Little Rock high school will also begin immediately on the $1,372,000 Richsmith Lane property previously purchased with the approval of the former LRSD board of directors. The exact size, scope and cost of the southwest Little Rock high school will be defined through the planning and design process. A large, new, state-of-the-art high school could have a total cost of around $85 million compared to a cost of $19-31 million to refurbish McClellan High School, and will have the capacity to serve the 2,700 students who live in southwest Little Rock.

McClellan's Pierre Strong Named December Athlete of the Month

December 15, 2015—McClellan Crimson Lion Junior Pierre Strong, running back and wide receiver, was named LRSD's Athlete of the Month. Recent honors include: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Player of the Week and Yarnell's Sweetest Play and standout performances all season long (10-2). McClellan entered the 5A State Championship Tournament as the number two seed for the 5A Central. After defeating Morrilton, Lakeside and Batesville, the Crimson Lions vied for the state title against Pulaski Academy. Although they didn't take home the title this year, when accepting the Athlete of the Month award from Superintendent Baker Kurrus and Deputy Superintendent Marvin Burton, Strong vowed to emerge on top next year. We are looking forward to another standout performance from Strong in 2016 during his final year of high school competition.

Parkview Senior Emy Zapata named National Merit Hispanic Scholar

December 2, 2015—Senior Emy Zapata was surprised this morning when she was called to the principal’s office.  Zapata has been an outstanding student, so the call startled her.

It was then that Dr. Dexter Booth told her that she had earned a place as a National Merit Hispanic Scholarship Recipient. According to information obtained from College Board, Zapata scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic/Latino students in her region who took the PSAT/NMSQT. That outstanding scored earned her a place in the National Hispanic Recognition Program with the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Zapata is the daughter of Angelica and Mario Zapata of Little Rock.

LRCH's Williams and Woods Earn 6th Bid—Place 2nd at The Glenbrooks!

December 2, 2015—Another record breaking weekend for LRCH's dynamic debating duo, DJ Williams and Payton Woods! They attended the 2015 Glenbrooks in Northbrook, IL, where they  won their 6th bid to the Tournament of Champions in a field of 196 teams. Williams and Woods finished 2nd overall, losing on a close 2-1 decision to our rivals, The Blake School (MN). Woods was 2nd Speaker in a field of 392 speakers, and Williams was 10th Speaker! They earned their 6th Bid to the TOC at the Octafinals Level (top 16 teams), defeating The Meadows (NV) on a 3-0 decision. They remain the only team in the country with six bids and are still ranked #1 in the nation in both the Coaches' Poll and Baker Points.
 
Our Junior Varsity team also showed out at The Glenbrooks--Jessica Morgan and Connor Bierbaum advanced to Octafinals in the JV division, and Juliette Jung was named 5th Speaker! Novices Chloe Cunningham and Andrew Marecki advanced to Octafinals with a 5-1 record and Chloe earned 8th Speaker!

Western Hills Art Teacher’s Grant Submission Earns State’s only $10K Technology Grant As LRSD Students Go Global with Hour of Code

November 30, 2015 - Sarah Burns had no idea that her creative “outside the box” thinking would pay off in a big way when she submitted a grant request to help improve technology at Western Hills Elementary where she spends part of her instruction time as an art teacher.   Word came just over a week ago that her school had been the only Arkansas campus selected, along with one entry from each of the 50 states and Washington, DC, to win a $10,000 technology grant.  Burns’ submission detailed how she would incorporate the use of technology in art instruction, and demonstrate that effort during the global movement, the “Hour of Code.”  

The Hour of Code is an international initiative that reaches tens of millions of students in 180+ countries, and provides an opportunity for all of us to see what computer science is about.  The Little Rock School District will have hundreds of students from 16 campuses participating in the “Hour of Code” the week of December 7th , including those attending Roberts and Forest Heights STEM Academy.  To show their excitement about and commitment to this year’s event, staff and students at Forest Heights will be donning Star Wars costumes on campus, Tuesday, December 8.  Last year, LRSD’s students were among 120 million nationwide participating.  Additionally, anyone - ages 4-104, anywhere, can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience is needed.

"The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket-science, anybody can learn the basics," said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. "Over 100 million students worldwide have tried an Hour of Code. The demand for relevant 21st century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries."

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