Bismarck School recognized for growth and performance

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (left) and Commissioner of Education Johnny Key (right) listen as Bismarck High School senior student Karigan Beckwith (center) speaks to fellow students, staff and other attendees at a governor’s conference held Monday, October 29, 2018 at the Arkansas State Capitol to recognize Bismarck School District for its achievements in receiving a Grade A in all three schools within the district.
Staff Writer

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson presented Bismarck School District awards for being in the top 10 percent of public schools that achieve high student academic growth, including high school graduation rates where applicable.
Hutchinson told attendees that more than $7 million were being awarded to 203 schools throughout Arkansas as part of the Arkansas School Recognition Program.
Bismarck School District received this award for all three levels of its school system.
A press conference was held Monday, October 29, 2018 in the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol in Little Rock.
Hutchinson said other schools across the state would be receiving their award funds by mail. Last year, Hutchinson visited Greenbrier School District to recognize its performance.
This year, Bismarck School District was invited to the State Capitol to receive the award.
Hutchinson acknowledged Superintendent Susan Kissire, Elementary Principal Lana Hughes, Middle School Principal Ellen Coleman, and High School Principal Tony Chambers.
“Bismarck School District has achieved award status at all three levels,” said Hutchinson. “That is extraordinary.” Hutchinson told the many students present that they are what made this happen.
Department of Education Johnny Key spoke about hearing the story of how Bismarck School District had progressed. Key said that just a few years ago Bismarck was not performing with all A’s across the board, saying that they had A, B, and C.
“What Bismarck has done is what we want all of our school districts to do. Take the information and set goals to be better for the students,” said Key.
Key said, Bismarck had risen over the past few years to be among the highest level schools in the state. This has been done by reaching out to professional learning skills, instructional support from Dawson Education Service Cooperative, and working with Henderson State University in Arkadelphia to build capacity internally.
Key pointed out that although Bismarck is small, it has a big heart and community support for the students.
Kissire said the most important people at Bismarck Schools is the students. Kissire thanks all the assistance of those that have helped the school excel to the top 10.
Senior student Karigan Beckwith spoke to attendees about being a Bismarck student. The motto of our school is “Every Student Every Day”. Beckwith said she is honored to be a student at Bismarck. She said that each day she walks through the doors of her school she is surrounded by an atmosphere that is untouched. “I go to each of my classes and I am instructed by teachers who see me as so much more than just another test score,” said Beckwith. “They treat me like a member of the family, a future world changer, a person that matters.” Beckwith said she believes that Bismarck is successful because the staff invests in each and every student every day.
Knowing that in just a few short months she will leave the halls of Bismarck High School, she said whether she decides to be a speech pathologist, business owner, teacher or maybe governor of Arkansas one day, she knows that she is fully equipped.
Junior student Ross Whitley, stated that he has lived in Bismarck his entire life. However, when he refers to Bismarck he is not just speaking about the school, he said. Bismarck is a welcoming community.
Hutchinson said Bismarck is also excelling computer science classes, including computer coding.
Bismarck Elementary School was awarded $36,498 for being in the top 5 percent performance. BMS was also awarded an additional $36,498 for being in the top 5 percent of growth/graduation in the state.
Bismarck Middle School was awarded $15,270 for being in the top 6 to 10 percent performance.
Bismarck High School was awarded $15,270 for being in the top 6 to 10 percent of growth/graduation in the state.
Kissire said the funds would be used to reward students and staff for their achievements.