BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena School Board met last week for their regular monthly meeting. FLASH Cats, the before-and-after school program at Holly Harshman Elementary had students present that demonstrated some of the skills they have learned throughout the program and shared their feelings on the program.
Paulette Crawford heads up the FLASH Cats program at HHE that consists of more than 200 students from 3rd – 5th grades. Each afternoon, the students are fed a meal and a landmine of knowledge. Programs such as robotics, cooking, and sewing are implemented, as well as tutoring. Mena’s program is considered one of the top in the state and because of that, have received an additional $20,000 grant. Crawford said robotics is one area that students are most interested in, next to their sports program, and they look forward to expanded robotics in the upcoming year.
Board members were also presented with last year’s PARCC test scores. For Mena students in 3rd thru 10th grades scored higher than state averages in most areas. Where grades did not perform higher than the state average, scores were very close.
The Mena School Board also renewed Superintendent Benny Weston’s contract at the meeting. Mr. Weston’s contract was extended to three years. The board also surprised him with the gift of allowing the purchase of a new school vehicle for his use.
Board members were recognized for their service during the meeting, in conjunction districts across the state recognizing the dedication it takes to serve in public education. “Our board members assume a crucial role in representing our students and advocating for public education,” said Weston. “We are very proud of our members, and Arkansas School Board Recognition Month is a great time to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.”
Current Mena School Board members are Robert Hines, who has served for 10 years; Kyle Cannon, 7 years; Edd Puckett, 9 years; Judith Roberson, 6 years; Will Robbins, 10 years; Clint Montgomery, 7 years; and Brian Kesterson, 5 years.
It was announced at the meeting that long time board member Will Robbins has resigned his position. Board president Robbie Hines recommended Todd Aynes to sit the chair out until the next school board election in September. As their final bit of business for the night, the board approved and voted Aynes as the newest member of the Mena School Board.