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LRSD & City of Little Rock Host Joint News Conference In Celebration of District's Return to Full Local Control
In a jointly held news conference Friday, the Little Rock School District and the City of Little Rock priased Thursday’s unanimous decision by the Arkansas Board of Education to release LRSD from Level 5 – Intensive Support, returning the District to full local control. District Superintendent Mike Poore and Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., were joined by Little Rock Board of Education and City of Little Rock directors for the announcement, signifying a unified celebration of the State’s decision to give complete authority and oversight for District operations to the elected Little Rock Board without limitations.
The move was approved by the State following a recommendation by the State Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and findings from the Office of Coordinated Support and Services (OCSS) that LRSD had made significant improvements since it was placed under state management 6 and ½ years ago. Under the Level 5 status, the District was required to focus on the following criteria in order to be released:
- Collaborative teams regularly interact to address common issues regarding curriculum, assessment, instruction and the achievement of all students.
- The school provides teachers with clear, ongoing evaluations of their pedagogical strengths and weaknesses that are based on multiple sources of data and are consistent with student achievement data.
- The school literacy curriculum and accompanying assessment adhere to state and district standards.
- The school manages its fiscal, operational, and technological resources in a way that directly supports teachers to provide a safe, supportive and collaborative culture and increase student achievement.
As a part of OCSS’s review, it was noted that LRSD has made tremendous gains in the Science of Reading, has been working collaboratively in Professional Learning Community (PLC) teams, and continues to monitor the work of staff. The District has also demonstrated fiscal responsibility, continuing to efficiently manage and use resources, and has successfully implemented multiple new systems, among them: eFinance, eSchool, and enhanced security, as well as online procurement and employment platforms.
“What a tribute to the Little Rock School District staff and community! I think the most significant takeaway from yesterday’s meeting was the clear messaging that this school district is doing the work that it takes for an effective school district and hitting targets that will lead to academic success for our students,” said LRSD Superintendent Mike Poore. “The phrase that we embraced upon my arrival, the ‘Power of Us’ - is exemplified now more than ever and we are excited about the future of the LRSD.”
“As a newly elected board, we have eagerly awaited this day,” Board president Vicki Hatter said. “This is a great milestone just as we are moving forward and stabilizing our District. We are all invested in having an educational system that is equitable for every student and a board that is accountable to the public, with the District and families working together to ensure student achievement.”
Poore noted that through the most challenging times, the community has continued to rally to support LRSD through volunteerism, and with increased commitments from businesses, community groups, and faith-based organizations. Poore said a great example of how the District has leveraged relationships for even greater success is the strong partnership with the City of Little Rock and the collaborative Community Schools approach to address some of the most pressing needs of students through wrap-around support.
"For our city to reach its full potential, educational acheivement is key. I'm grateful to the State Board of Education for recognizing the gains in student achievement over the last five years as well as the potential and plan for further success. Additionally, the City of Little Rock and the LRSD have developed a true strategic partnership in the creation of the Community Schools Model. It's a new era in education in Little Rock and continued success doesn't happen without a school board, superintendent, city hall, teachers, parents, students and the community coming together," said Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.
LRSD now transitions to Level 4 direct support for one year, which means the District and State will continue working together with LRSD required to make quarterly reports to the State Board.
“We are pleased to know that the State has confidence in LRSD and there’s accountability from our Board and the State Board. It takes all of us working together to uplift our school community and we are committed to that work. I could not be prouder to be the superintendent of Little Rock Public Schools,” Poore added.