It’s the time of year to be thankful. It’s also the time of year when schools give the "Annual Report to the Public." Much like the President’s "State of the Union," the Annual Report lets the community know what’s going on in our schools. It’s our chance to update everyone on progress we’ve made, goals we have set, and success stories we want to share. We presented our report at our November School Board Meeting, but here is a recap for anyone who may have missed it!

This year, our Conway Public Schools enrollment topped 10,000 students for the first time! We officially have 10,001 students enrolled in our sixteen schools as of our October 1 Count. (This is when we turn in our final numbers to the state of Arkansas for reporting purposes.) Around 9 percent of our student population is in our Gifted and Talented Programs, while 12 percent is part of our Special Education Programs. We have 584 students who are Limited English Proficient. (More than 20 languages are represented here.) 49% of our students are on Free/Reduced Lunch. Our students are 51% male and 49% female.

Our Conway Schools’ students excel in all areas. This year, we had more than 500 students enrolled in our Career-Tech Programs. Our athletics and fine arts programs continue to grow and excel at competitions, but most of all, they provide a place for kids to have a place. "Conway High School is big enough to offer opportunities to anyone willing to take them, but we don’t neglect the personal connections and relationships that grow kids into better adults," says CHS Principal Jason Lawrence.

As stated in our district’s core values, we have a staff committed to excellence. They work hard every day to make sure our students are well taken care of- not just their education but their basic needs as well. We firmly believe we have the very best staff, and we are so thankful for each of them and the gifts they bring to our students.

Our district has implemented programs such as #weareone to go the extra mile in teaching students respect. This has made a huge difference at Conway Junior High, where the number of physical and verbal altercations has decreased dramatically thanks to this initiative. We have joined with community partners to expand our Farm-to-School effort with gardens now in every one of our sixteen schools. The lessons and learning opportunities here seem endless. Our teachers continue to look "outside the box" as they provide innovative educational opportunities for all students. Flexible seating in classrooms and cutting-edge technologies are what you’ll find as you visit our schools.

We are thankful to our School Resource Officers for their commitment to our students and families. "Rise and Shine with Conway’s Finest" has provided so much fun and entertainment as the SRO’s and other police officers and firefighters greet the kids with a smile and a "high five" in the mornings at our elementary schools.

And speaking of "high five’s," we can’t recap our year without talking about our "Senior Walk." This trip back in time was definitely a highlight for the Class of 2017 and we are excited about making this a new tradition. Seniors spent their last day of school putting on their caps and gowns, then boarding a school bus for the last time and traveling back to their elementary school to visit their teachers and the students there. The result was nothing if not memorable for both big kids and little kids!

Besides all this, our Annual Report also includes some numbers. Lots of numbers. It shows our test scores from the ACT Aspire, where our Conway Schools students scored above the state average in every category, in every grade. It lists our ACT average as being above the state’s average as well.

Here at CPSD, we boast a total population of 11, 172…with 773 certified staff and 398 classified staff. Our 100 buses transport more than 3700 students each day. Last year, we had 44,639 visits to the school nurse. (39, 819 were sent back to class!) Our district has 14,381 total computers (11,167 are Chromebooks!) and last year in our school cafeterias, students ate 880,104 pieces of popcorn chicken! Our food service workers also used more than 17,000 pounds of flour to make homemade rolls and cookies every week. (If you’ve never tried them, they are fabulous!) In our Marguerite Vann Elementary School remodel, our maintenance and custodians removed more than 1200 dolly loads of boxes in AND out of the building…and worked more than 6000 total man-hours on the project, which yielded 34 new parking spaces and 450 new desks, tables and chairs (and so much more!) for that school!

Our Annual Report is just a snapshot of 2017 in our schools—a highlight reel of all the wonderful things we have accomplished in this district this past year. You can view our Annual Report in its entirety at—statistics.html. What a great year it has been. And in this case, that old saying is true, "The best is yet to come."

Heather Kendrick is the Communication Specialist for Conway Public Schools. Contact her at (501) 450-4800 or log onto for more information.