BHS approved for conversion charter status; over $1.1 million awarded to implement initiatives

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UPDATE, Nov. 23, 2020, 6:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with a statement from the Batesville School District. Scroll below to read.

Batesville High School has been approved for conversion charter status beginning in 2020-2021, according to a statement from the Batesville School District. The school has also been announced as a recipient for the Arkansas Public School Resource Center – Charter School Program Grant for over $1.1 million to assist in implementing the charter initiatives.

Jennifer Douglas, assistant superintendent of the Batesville School District, told White River Now Monday that charter approval was a year-long process. She also said the district learned about the grant approval on Friday.

Douglas said the district has big plans with the approval and grant.

“We hope to expand our E-3 [Experience. Exposure. Excellence.] internship which we’ve done for about two-to-three years now,” Douglas said. “Those are wonderful partnerships where the chamber has helped us develop community partnerships so students can go into businesses and industry and gain real world experience.”

Douglas credited the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s partnerships with the school district for help in driving BSD students to success.

“The chamber of commerce has been partners with us through this whole process and given us tremendous support.”

The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer Jamie Rayford told White River Now a successful partnership with the district can benefit the community and students.

“Our businesses can be so proud of the Batesville School District and the efforts they are making to provide students with real world experiences that are going to make them more relevant employees in the workspace, more competent employees in the workspace,” Rayford said. “There is so much movement in this district. There are so many great things that are going on. And we have been so proud to partner with them in that growth. If you have a student that is going to the Batesville School District, you can be sure they are ‘putting students first,’ just as their motto states. The chamber is their biggest cheerleader. At this point, we are just so proud to be part of this process.”

Douglas also said upcoming plans related to the charter and grant include a partnership with White River Health System.

“We also plan to expand our Pioneer Academy through a partnership with White River Health System,” Douglas said. “We want to add some medical pathways so students will be able to enter the workforce with credentials to go straight to work.

To listen to Teisha Bee’s conversation with Douglas and Rayford, click below.

UPDATE: Statement from the Batesville School District

The Batesville High School has been approved by the Charter Authorizing Panel and the State Board of Education for the conversion charter high school beginning in 2020-2021.

The newly established charter is also a recipient of the Arkansas Public School Resource Center – Charter School Program Grant for over $1.1 million to assist in implementing charter initiatives. Those initiatives include Guided Pathway Services, Pioneer Academies, and E3 Internships.

The Guided Pathway Services (GPS) will give our Pioneers the tools to explore, discover, and lead their educational journey to new heights. This means students will receive career exploration throughout elementary, junior, and high school; students 9th – 11th will build a success plan to discover pioneer academies; and lastly, seniors will have the opportunity to build relationships with our community through personalized internships.

BHS going charter will also allow our students to have access to expanded career and technical education pathways. Some of those pathways include medical assistant, surgical tech, medical pre-professional, sports medicine, aviation (including drones and pilot training), and video journalism and production. All of these career options are innovative pathways for Phase 1 of our Pioneer Academies.

Senior pioneers will thrive under our new charter when applying for our E3 Internships which promote experience, exposure, and excellence. These positions are paid work-based learning experiences with our business and industry partnerships. The National Apprenticeship Training Foundation has created a pipeline for the community workforce and enables students to get hands-on experience in their potential career and promotes valuable networking opportunities. Students are mentored and trained throughout the duration of their internship/apprenticeship which caters to executive skills as a park of the Peak Performance U in BHS Charter.

This is an exciting new venture for our high school, district, and community and we would like to say thank you for all of the hard work and dedication that went into yet again, putting our students first.


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