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Monday, May 2, 2016

Viola school on probation

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Staff Writer

The Viola School District has taken measures to correct accreditation problems after the district was placed on probation by the Arkansas Department of Education.

The district was cited for employing an uncertified vocal music teacher and an uncertified librarian for the 2003-04 school year.

According to Department of Education Standards Supervisor Chandra Martin, the Viola School District has been repeatedly warned that music teacher Jeff Parks was not certified to teach vocal music. Martin said an unnamed librarian was not certified as well.

"Every school in the state is given an annual accreditation report. The Viola School District was cited multiple times for allowing these teachers to teach without certification in the area in which they taught," Martin said.

Viola High School Principal Jackie Estes said Parks resigned as band director for the 2004-05 school year. Estes said the librarian has now received her accreditation.

"We have corrected the problem," Estes said.

Viola Superintendent Marvin Newton said the librarian has been afflicted with a rare blood disease over the last two years. He said that is why she wasn't accredited during the violation period.

Why Parks failed to acquire his certification remains unclear.

"For whatever reason, the band teacher (Parks) didn't take the classes to become accredited. He has been reassigned in the school district," Newton said.

Newton did not elaborate on Parks' new position.

Estes said a letter had been mailed to the parents in the school district informing them that a teacher was not accredited to instruct the course he/she was teaching.

Martin said the Viola School District is under the jurisdiction of Education Department Supervisor John McKinna. She said he made the recommendation that the district be placed on probation.

"It is our protocol in a situation like this," Martin said. The Viola School District had been cited the last two years, she said.

According to state Sen. Paul Miller's office, the Education Department has 18 standards it uses to assess how a school is complying with state scholastic standards. These standards include standardized test scores, student-to-teacher ratio, availability of educational media and the training level and certification of teachers.

Martin said if a school is placed on probation it must correct the problem or corrective penalties are assessed. Penalties include assigning a new curriculum for the school district, requiring additional training by the teaching staff or reassignment of school district administrators.

She said in severe cases a school district can be forced to merge with another district.



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