The Salem School District was the key topic discussed during the regular meeting of the Salem Chamber of Commerce Aug. 22.
The key speaker, Salem Superintendent Ken Rich, talked about a variety of improvements and new programs that will be implemented in the upcoming year, as well as overall student success.
Rich said if he could choose one word to sum up the Salem School District it would be, fortunate. "Fortunate is what the Salem schools are. We have growth, support and good things going as a community and school," Rich said. "We have an excellent, dedicated faculty and a good facility that the staff has taken care of."
Rich said the student's academic success has also been beneficial for the school district. "The Golden Apple Award got us some recognition; we've placed in the top 10 for the past three years," he said.
The Golden Apple Award is presented to the top 10 of the 1,129 schools in Arkansas based on the best BenchMark and End of Course Exam scores in grades K-12.
"This (award) speaks well of our teachers ... the key is our students. They bought into this (Golden Apple Award competition). The want to be successful and love the competition," Rich said.
Rich also discussed the school's new computer programs that will enable parents to be better informed about their child's school activities.
The first of these programs, Renaissance Place, works as an aid to the accelerated reader program by keeping track of the books children check out from the school library. This program allows parents to log into a personalized account to view their child's selections, Rich said.
Another Internet program new to Salem schools this year is Parent Aware. Rich said this program enables all of Salem students' lunch accounts to be maintained electronically on a computer system. With Parent Aware parents can log into an account to view their child's lunch room purchases.
Though the Internet program was offered to parents last year, Rich also talked about the importance of Edline.
By setting up an Edline account parents can go online to view their child's current grades and academic status. "We really want to promote parental involvement with the kids and what they do at school," Rich said.
Veronica King, a resident new to Salem, also addressed the chamber regarding implementing a community youth program.
King said she has made arrangements to use the old Salem High School Gym, and her tentative plans are to begin in October having youth activities Wednesday and Friday afternoons and some Saturdays.
Carolyn Lewis, president of the Fulton County Fair Association also spoke to the chamber and had many positive comments about the recent fair.
Lewis said, despite the heat, the fair was a success. She said she was especially proud that almost 500 exhibits were displayed at the fair.