Education notebook

District’s new chief fills two positions

Sherman Whitfield is the new interim assistant superintendent for equity and pupil services in the Pulaski County Special School District. Linda Goodwin is the district’s new interim director of elementary education.

Whitfield and Goodwin are replacing Janice Warren for the 2017-18 school year. Warren was selected earlier this summer by the district’s School Board to be interim superintendent, replacing Jerry Guess, whose contract was terminated.

Warren was both the director of elementary education and interim assistant superintendent at the time of her selection for the top job.

Whitfield, a district employee since 2002, has most recently been director of pupil services. He is also a former assistant principal and gifted and talented education teacher.

Goodwin of Crossett has been an educational consultant to the Pulaski County Special district, the state Department of Education and other organizations.

She previously was an assistant superintendent for 10 years in Crossett, 2001 to 2011. She is also a former Crossett principal and teacher.

County district says suspensions drop

Pulaski County Special School District leaders report that student suspensions for rule violations decreased by almost 45 percent between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

The total dropped from 5,790 to 3,215, according to an annual report presented to the School Board last week. Of the total last school year, 2,177 of the suspensions were given to black pupils, 66 percent, and 1,089 were given to white students or students of other races and ethnicities, 34 percent.

Some students received multiple out-of-school suspensions. The number of students suspended in the 2016-17 school year totaled 1,821, compared with 3,001 students the previous school year, reflecting a drop of 39 percent.

The number of black students suspended was 1,154 last year, and the number of white or other students was 667 in a district that has a majority white enrollment.

The Pulaski County Special district’s racially disparate discipline rates are a factor in an ongoing federal school desegregation lawsuit.

Sign-ups underway for school for adults

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas is taking applications through Aug. 20 for The Excel Center, a new tuition-free adult high school at 7400 Scott Hamilton Drive in Little Rock.

The first eight-week term begins Oct. 16. The center will award high school diplomas and industry-recognized certifications instead of GEDs to its graduates.

Students will receive the resources and support needed to earn a high school diploma while developing career paths that present greater career growth opportunities, according to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas.

To assist students, the center will provide a free, onsite drop-in child care center, transportation assistance and life coaching. Students may attend school at the center part time or full time.

Those who are interested can apply online at

Goodwill is funding the school through the revenue it earns from selling donated goods in its stores.

Six educators win state recognition

The Arkansas Association for Career and Technical Education has announced the recipients of its 2017 awards to teachers and administrators for their extraordinary contributions to career and technical education.

Michelle Camp from Maumelle High School was named teacher of the year. Carolyn McNeely from Crowley’s Ridge Education Service Cooperative in Jonesboro received the career guidance award.

Starlinda Sanders from the Bentonville School District was named administrator of the year.

Linda Bean from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville was recognized as postsecondary teacher of the year. Justin Neel from Caddo Hills School District in Norman was honored as the new teacher of the year. Sherry Siler from Alma High School was named the Carl Perkins Community Service Award winner.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony during the association’s conference in Hot Springs on July 30.

Metro on 08/15/2017

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