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Mabelvale Middle Sweeps Fall Stock Market Game

Mabelvale Middle School took First and Second Place at the regional Fall Stock Market Game. The two teams were honored at a luncheon hosted by Economics of Arkansas at Verizon Arena January 13th. The two winning teams, comprised of Environmental Investigations students and supervised by teacher Graham Goodloe, swept the regional competition, which is no small feat with more than 200 teams competing. The first place team was awarded a trophy and $100 cash prize, while the second place team was given a certificate and $50 cash prize. The Stock Market Game exposes students to “real time” trading on the stock exchange. Teams are given a mock $100,000 to invest in open trading and the top two teams that make the most money within 10 weeks of trading are honored once the game concludes.  Mabelvale Middle School will be playing in the upcoming Spring Stock Market Game and hope to sweep the awards again.

Hall High Robotics Team Has Impressive Showing at First Ever Competition Appearance

The Hall High School Robotics team placed first at the UAM STEM Center Robotics Challenge Competition with team members Kyarha Meadows-Russell and Ti'shun Advance. Hall also placed second with team members Joshua Estrada and Raphael del Carmen. More importantly, the entire team won Best Sportsmenship for working together with others while solving problems. This was Hall's first competition ever!

Three FHSA VEX IQ Robotics Teams Land on Top

Three VEX IQ Robotics Teams from Forest Heights STEM Academy (FHSA) won awards on February 6th at the University of Arkansas at Monticello VEX Robotics Tournament. This year’s 2015-2016 Vex IQ Challenge is the Bankshot Competition.  Students compete in three areas: teamwork, robot skills and autonomous movement (programming). 

"The Team"  tied for 1st place with  Star City.  Team members include:  Jalen Cole, Jacob Collier-Tenison, Cooper Fisken, Aiden Jones, and Xavier Parker.

"R2D-Dudes" tied for 2nd place with "iCode Pro," both from FHSA.  R2D-Dudes team members include:  Evan Ayres, Brian Jones, Fardeen Kawsar, Dimitri Kittrell, and Xander Parker.  iCode Pro (an all girls robotic team) includes Charlotte Boehme, Surabhee Eswaran, Sanskriti Garg, Savannah Gordon, Deanna Kamanga, and Niya Norfolk.

Central's Ace Debaters, Williams & Woods, Still #1 in the Nation

Another historic weekend for Central's #1 debating team in the nation! DJ Williams and Payton Woods were one of eight teams to compete at the University of Oklahoma (OU) Round Robin in Norman this past weekend. The Round Robin is an elite competition that precedes the high school Tournament of Champions (TOC) Qualifying Tournament at Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City. DJ and Payton are the first team in the history of the OU event to finish with a perfect 8-0 record, winning the Round Robin and earning 1st Speaker (Payton) and 2nd Speaker (DJ)!

After a grueling two days and 16 hours of debating at OU, DJ and Payton headed into the TOC qualifier very confident. They earned their historic NINTH bid to the Tournament of Champions--and (again), are the only team in the country with this many bids to the TOC. After 22 hours of debating at the TOC qualifier, DJ and Payton emerged victorious, placing 1st and snagging 1st and 2nd Speaker again!

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

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!

LRCH SECME Robotics Team Wins Again!

November 30, 2015—Congratulations to the following LRCH SECME ROBOTICS TEAM members: Alida Kaufmann, Alex Wang,  Evalyn Berleant,  Rafael Estrella, Adaja Cooper and  Kaylyn Harris. This group of talented students helped LRCH SECME ROBOTICS TEAM win again in the RICEBIRD ROBOTICS INVITATIONAL on Saturday November 21, 2015 in Stuttgart.

LRCH now moves on December 4th and 5th to the BEST FRONTIER TRAILS ROBOTICS REGIONALS in Fort Smith, where they will face seven states and 100 schools. Thank you to all who have contributed to this trip including sponsors Mr. Kent Moore, Mr. Patrick Foley and Ms. Rosetter Dirden, but they still your support.

If you would like to make a donation to support the SECME Robotics team please contact Roshaunda Franks at roshaunda.franks@lrsd.org or 501-447-1424. Checks should be payable to: LRCH SECEME Robotics. You may mail donations to Ms. Franks at LRCH, 1500 S. Park St., Little Rock, AR 72202.

Central Teacher Named Claes Nobel Educator of the Year!

November 30, 2015—Little Rock Central’s Mary (Katie) Parson was selected as one of the top ten National Society of High School Scholars’ Claes Nobel Educators of the Year for 2015. As one of the top ten, she will receive a $500 award, a personalized plaque and an invitation to the upcoming member recognition program at the Carter Center in Atlanta on December 5, 2015, where she will be recognized by  Mr. Claes Nobel, a senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

In 2011, National Society of High School Scholars (SHSS) established the Claes Nobel Educator of the Year Award to spotlight educators like Parsons, who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of young people and helping to usher them into the wider world.

According to Mr. Nobel, NSHSS co-founder and senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes:

“Among the education stars recognized as Educators of Distinction, a few shine bright above the rest. The Claes Nobel Educator of the Year program embraces my family’s tradition of recognizing world class minds and supports the vision of NSHSS to help students build on academic success and grow the skills and desire to have a positive impact in the global community.”

Back-to-Back State Tennis Champions!

Hall High School Tennis Players Ashley Gray, senior, and Caroline Gibbens,  sophomore, were selected as Student Athletes of the Month for November after winning the 6A State Championship Doubles match. This is a back-to-back championship win for Ashley Gray, who also won last year's top spot with Jasmine Brown (class of 2015) as her partner. Their performance in the tournament also secured the 6A Runner Up slot for the team.

LRCH Debaters Make Arkansas Debate History

Little Rock Central High Seniors DJ Williams and Payton Woods made Arkansas Debate history this weekend when they became the first team in the nation to fully bid to the National Tournament of Champions (TOC) in Lexington, Kentucky by finishing as Semifinalists in the prestigious Grapevine Classic TOC Qualifying Tournament. The National TOC uses a bid system, much like those used in sports tournaments, in which placing high enough in select, national or regional tournaments earns debaters a bid, with at least 2 bids needed to compete.

Williams and Woods advanced to elimination rounds with a perfect 5-0 record and as the top seed against some of the best teams from across the nation.  Woods was awarded Top Speaker in the tournament, with Williams just behind him as Second Speaker. They have also been invited to compete at the University of Michigan Round Robin in October— only eight teams in the nation are extended this invitation.

LRCH Debaters DJ Williams & Payton Woods Secure Bid to Tournament of Champions!

LRCH Debate had a very BIG weekend at the Wake Forest National Early Bird Debate Tournament in Winston Salem, NC.
 
DJ Williams and Payton Woods advanced with a 4-2 win-loss record to Double-Octofinals (top 32 teams out of 112 in attendance), defeating Niles West (Chicago, IL), and moving on to Octofinals (top 16), defeating nationally-ranked Leucadia (California) and securing a bid to the National Tournament of Champions!  DJ and Payton went on to face Iowa City in Quarterfinals, defeating them on an impressive 3-0 ballot decision. They finished their tournament run as Semifinalists, losing to nationally-ranked Westminster in a hard fought debate on a 2-1 split decision.

Parkview Drama Teacher Selected as AR Teacher of the Year Regional Finalist

Spencer Sutterfield, Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School, is one of the 15 exceptional teachers selected as 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Sutterfield teaches Drama and Theater Arts to 11th and 12th grade students.

“To be selected as a regional finalist is an honor,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. “These outstanding teachers have set the standard of excellence for their schools, districts and the state. I commend them for their dedication, commitment and hard work.”

Two LRSD Teachers Named Presidential Award State Finalists

Two of the eight Arkansas teachers recently selected as state finalists for the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, are from the Little Rock School District. Congratulations to Central Science Teacher Mary Parson and Parkview Math Teacher Dennis Show.

Top LRSD Teachers from Six LRSD Schools Attend Prestigious Teachers Academy

Teachers from Baseline Academy, Forest Heights STEM Academy (FHSA), Forest Park, Fulbright, Otter Creek and Rockefeller elementary schools recently attended the 2015 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in Pittsburg, PA for a rigorous week of professional learning in science and mathematics. These teachers were among 140 teachers selected nationwide to attend one of three summer academies. Significantly, LRSD's own Gene Williams, FHSA, is considered an expert in the field and served as an instructor during one week of the academy. Participating in this academy is an honor and it enhances our teachers STEM knowledge to bring back to their buildings and classrooms. Teachers also received memberships to the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) Learning Center as well as a membership to NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).

Plus, Otter Creek Principal Donna Hall won a scholarship for an additional 20 memberships to the NSTA Learning Center for her staff at Otter Creek.

The following teachers and administrator attended the 2015 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy:

Jazz Combo Jiving into the Community

The McClellan High School jazz band is back in full swing, performing at venues throughout the city, thanks to the efforts of a new director of bands, Jose Holloway. Holloway has put the Jazz Combo into drive with about ten members who, through hard work and practice, have become quite the polished ensemble. Earlier this month, the combo performed for over fifty residents and the staff members of Sandalwood Health Care.

“This community service event was a great experience for the students,” said Holloway. “It allowed them to share their talents with the community.”

A resident approached Holloway during the performance and mentioned that she had previously seen McClellan’s jazz band on THV-11. She said she “prayed for an opportunity to hear the jazz band,” and fighting back tears, thanked the director and ensemble for what she referred to as a gratifying experience.

Holloway says the young musicians plan to perform more for the community and at local jazz restaurants while raising funds for McClellan High’s band program.

Frau Case Wins Prestigious German Teaching Award

 

Gibbs Magnet School German foreign language teacher Sara Case has been named the 2015 winner of the prestigious Duden Award for Arkansas for her excellence in teaching German.  The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) gives the Duden Award annually to a teacher in each state K-16! The Duden Award recognizes excellence in teaching and outstanding contributions to the German teaching profession. The announcement of Frau Case’s selection came at the spring meeting of the AATG, Friedrich Gerstäcker Chapter, in Fayetteville last weekend. Frau Case has taught German at Gibbs since August 2001. Teaching German to young children is her “dream” job.

Founded in 1926, the AATG is the only national organization representing German teachers at all levels of instruction. The AATG is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the teaching of language, literature and culture of the German-speaking countries.  The Duden Publishing Company is the largest German language publisher of dictionaries and other instructional materials.

Photo: Frau Case, center, with 5th Grade German Class

Parkview Drama Teacher Spencer Sutterfield Honored as LRSD’s Top Educator

The Little Rock School District honored its best and brightest teachers with the annual Crystal Awards Gala Monday night at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School Teacher Spencer Sutterfield was named Little Rock School District Teacher of the Year for 2015, earning the coveted Marian G. Lacey Educator Award, the district’s highest recognition. Sutterfield was also awarded a $1000 cash prize, a gift bag from Knowledge tree that included a $100 gift certificate and will receive a Dell Venue Pro that can be used as a tablet or a laptop.

Teachers representing every campus in the district were recognized during the gala. Level winners were also named and included High School Teacher of the Year Summer Vaught, Central High School, Middle School Teacher of the Year, Michelle Vire, Pulaski Heights Middle School, and Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Nathalie Massenelli. Level winners took home $500 each in cash prizes, Dell Chromebooks and gift bags from Knowledge Tree including $50 gift certificates.

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