Chamber president Beth Bess welcomed the group to the meeting, which included guest Hazel Fesender. Fesender lives in Ash Flat and works in Paragould. She will be speaking at the July Chamber about a mission she is beginning called, "Operation Postcards." The mission is designed to send post cards to soldiers serving overseas.
Floyd presented a slide show about factors that influence educational leadership. The Superintendent recently attended a seminar in California, and plans to implement the knowledge into the school district. The group watched a video entitled, "Did You Know," which gave shocking statistics on technology and the ways it is taking over. Floyd explained that, as a school system, Highland is not moving fast enough to keep up with changing technology. Because technology is vital to learning and continues to evolve, it is important that students implement technology into their learning experience.
One of the speakers at the seminar Floyd attended spoke on addressing literacy through neuroscience. The approach teaches children to read and comprehend better, by utilizing the way the human brain processes information. Through a learn to read and read to learn technique, Floyd said using memory, attention and then processing, the children are better able to process reading and comprehend what they are actually reading.
The main point of Floyd's seminar included integrating "brain fitness" technology into student success. By utilizing technology, something students are already familiar with in their everyday lives, they are better able to learn because they can build brain capacity. Other approaches to students who are struggling, such as supplying students with better content, do not seem to be working. Implementing skills that increase the capacity of their brains, is a an approach the seminar addressed.
Besides technology and utilizing neuroscience, Floyd discussed the role of effective leadership in students' educational experience. One of the speakers at the California seminar spoke on "Trust Capital", which was geared at those in leadership positions. Topics included controlling thoughts, thinking and attitude as well as knowing personal constraints. Floyd said, "No organization can rise above the constraints of its leadership." He explained effective leadership is also vital to a student's success.
Superintendent Floyd also updated Chamber members of ongoing programs at the Highland School District.
The school obtained an $80,000 grant for its Delta Garden Study, which has already begun at the middle school. Students will be harvesting their garden, learning how to use the food in cooking and other projects. The school will be working with various members of the community, including the extension office in this unique learning experience.
The high school science lab will be completed near the time school starts for the 2011-2012 year. This state of the art lab will allow students to be up to date on science technology, something many schools are lacking.
In addition to the updates at the school, the booster club is working hard on the football field. Dirt has been hauled and it has been sprigged with grass, to prepare for the upcoming Rebel football season.
Along with Floyd, recent honor graduate Madison Fuller addressed the Chamber about her high school experience and ways she implemented technology into her learning process.
Fuller, who enrolled in AP classes while in high school, only has to take classes relevant to her degree when she enters college. Fuller will be attending the University of Arkansas on a full academic scholarship. She said she implemented iPad, new software and laptop into learning. She also made raps to music to help study for tests. This is something that proved to increase test scores 20 percent among seniors. Fuller also implemented service into her learning experience. By allowing leadership roles, such as student council in the school to overflow into the community it has built confidence and helped her to become and effective leader.
Highland Assembly of God Pastor Chris Clem gave an update on the Backpack Extravaganza, slated for Aug. 6. This year, the group will be increasing the number of backpacks given away to 750, and include high school age children and those from outside the district. Clem said they have had great support and expect over 3,000 people for this community wide, non denominational event.
There will be 12 stylists present for haircuts, as well as numerous activities for the children and booths. First National Banking Company has supplied the backpacks for the event, but Clem said they are still short $5,000 for supplies. Anyone interested in sponsoring a backpack, the cost is $50, may contact the Highland Assembly of God.
Bess also announced the old chamber building has been leased to Scott and Lisa Polluck for $500 a month. The couple are opening a pharmacy in the location and plan to lease the building for three years, at which time they will purchase it.
The Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce meets monthly at a local restaurant, on the third Tuesday at noon. The public is welcome to attend the Dutch treat luncheon meetings. The July meeting will be held at Words and Afterwords in Hardy.