"We’ll be playing tennis in Greenbrier pretty soon, so dust off your racquets," said district superintendent Scott Spainhour at the monthly school board meeting. The acrylic is now down, they are working on the wind screen and striping will take place next week.
Now that most building projects are complete this year, the School Board’s attention turned to the land they presently own in Springhill, designated for another elementary school.
When the land was first acquired, the nearby land was zoned residential. That school property is now surrounded by mostly commercial zoning. An opportunity to trade this property plus $30,000 for a more desirable 12 acres on Elliott Road was discussed.
"Architects think it’s enough room for a two-story school and a much better location," said Spainhour. President Carla Fix recalled a further cost of the Springhill property was an obligation to build an access road before the county would take over the care. The board unanimously approved the trade and also approved investigating the purchase of land west of the high school on Highway 25.
Deputy superintendent Dr. Lisa Todd gave an instructional update. The Greenbrier schools excel in Arkansas, based on Benchmark Math, Literacy, Algebra and Geometry achievements, ranking in the 89-97 percentile range. Concentration will now focus on biology to raise the proficiency that stands at 62% in GHS.
Todd commented that sometimes these figures seem distorted because they are based on growth. Since Greenbrier has been achieving at a very high level already, their growth is minimal compared to some other schools who had low ratings before and are now showing a high growth rate. "It’s difficult to show growth when you’re already performing at a high rate," she said.
A presentation of Greenbrier’s Gifted and Talented programs by coordinator Robin Clark shows 431 students enrolled in the G/T program. This year’s target will be low socio-economic students for G/T testing to increase the number of poverty students participating. There are G/T specialists at all three elementary schools offering pull-out classes for third, fourth and fifth graders and enrichment lessons for all K-4 students.
Pre-advanced placement (A-P) courses begin in sixth grade. Arkansas ranks in the top 10 nationally in students taking AP exams. The state average is 36 percent, and the National average is 28 percent. Forty-one percent of GHS students take AP exams.
Ninety-three students received incentive money for their scores totaling $21,900. AP courses meet or exceed the expectations colleges and universities have for that AP subject.
Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science (AAIMS) gave GHS students $15,500 in incentive checks at an awards ceremony in September, bringing the total amount awarded to students in 2013 to $37,400. GHS students have increased the number of qualifying math, science and English scores from 34 in 2007 to 156 in 2013 — an increase of 359 percent. GHS is named an AAIMS High Achieving School.
The Greenbrier School Board meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the district office.