Mammoth Spring Superintendent of Schools Ron Taylor said he is pleased with the acceptance of the new preschool program that started at the school this year.
"We had 20 slots to fill and we did that," the superintendent said. Taylor said last week he was at a budget meeting in Little Rock and spoke with Paul Lazenly of the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development Education. He said Lazenly told him he was excited about the new program at the school. He said the Fulton County area had been a target of his department for some time.
This is the first public preschool program in Fulton County. Lazenly told Taylor the Fulton County area had been underserved for a long time.
"Our waiting list for the program is full, but we share our list with the Head Start program here in Mammoth Spring," the superintendent said.
He said a concern of many parents of the program, which allows the 3- and 4-year-old students to ride the bus to school was the bus ride. "We will be installing a new buzzer and light system on all buses that carry the preschool students," Taylor said.
He said when the bus empties and the driver turns off the ignition, the buzzer will sound and the driver of the bus will have to go to the back of the bus to shut the buzzer and light off, making sure at the same time no child is left on the bus.
Taylor said currently there are 16 preschool students who ride the bus, some in the morning and some in the afternoon. He said the system was installed as a safety measure.
"The success of this new program goes to elementary principal Wade Powell and head preschool teacher Janet Smoot. These two did an outstanding job on short notice," Taylor said.
The superintendent also said the census at the school was up to 449 from 423 students last school year in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. There are 214 students enrolled in grades 7-12 and 235 students in grades K-6. "Many of our new students come from surrounding school districts and it is merely a geographical issue. The consolidation of Williford and Oak Ridge Central is a perfect example. Many of these students live in the Wirth area and it is only 7 miles to our school compared to 23 miles to Twin Rivers School," Taylor said.
He said in Arkansas the Freedom of Choice Law allows all students in the state the choice of going to school where they want. "All they have to do is notify the school district of their intentions by July 1 and be accepted by the school district," he said.
Grandparents Day will be celebrated across the county Sept. 11 and the superintendent said grandparents of students in grades K-6 are invited to a free breakfast at the school Sept. 9 from 8 to 8:30 a.m. in the school cafeteria.