Farmington schools plan to capture kids’ hearts thanks to training

2022-23 Farmington school calendar

Aug 15: First day of school

Nov 21-25: Thanksgiving break

Dec 19-Jan 2: Christmas break

March 20-24: spring break

May 26: Last day of school

FARMINGTON — Teachers at four Farmington schools will participate in a two-day training program called “Capturing Kids’ Hearts” when they return to school in August.

The Farmington School Board on April 25 approved an agreement for the professional development program for $89,500, which includes discounts from the Capturing Kids’ Hearts Foundation.

Capturing Kids’ Hearts will provide training sessions on Aug. 8-9. The program also includes additional sessions, strategy visits and one-on-one meetings.

Superintendent Jon Laffoon said the district’s administrative team participated in a Capturing Kids’ Hearts training session and the principals wanted to bring it to Farmington. Staff from Folsom, Williams, the middle school and junior high school will be able to attend the sessions.

“One of the areas that our principal team wanted to address was social and emotional health, emotional intelligence,” Laffoon said, adding that hopefully the program will help everyone to communicate more effectively. “That’s our goal,” he said.

According to the agreement, Capturing Kids’ Hearts does not “do” events or seminars but teaches “skills and processes that change lives.” By implementing its processes, the district will see benefits that include a decrease in discipline referrals, an increase in attendance, higher test scores and a decrease in teacher turnover, according to the organization.

The program also aims to improve parent and community relationships, develop and implement strategies for conflict resolution, and build and lead high-performing teams.

The agreement includes training, resources and ongoing support for the next two years for the four campuses, Laffoon said.

The board gave its approval for the district to use professional development money for the training.

The April meeting included many personnel changes, including some resignations, new hires for next year and changes in job positions.

The board accepted resignations from teachers Hailey Robinson, William Worthey, Tanner Feil, Robert Petten and Kendy Schroki.

The board accepted the recommendation to hire the following teachers:

• Folsom: Kaitlyn Johnston, Julie Bogle and Mackenzie Hinderberger.

• Williams: Payton Holder.

• Farmington Middle School: Lily Hocklander and Emily Baney.

• Farmington Junior High: Leah Bunch, Caylee Wright (7th grade girls basketball coach), Casey Moreland (high school football defensive coordinator) and Ian Biggs (head girls and boys soccer, assistant boys basketball coach).

• Farmington High: Leah Bunch, Cody Faulkner (7th grade boys basketball coach) and John Long.

Other changes approved for the 2022-23 school year include Mallory Cameron moving from classroom teacher to high school counselor and Jay Harper moving from football defensive coordinator to high school assistant football coach.

The board approved the consent agenda, which included financial information for the district.

Laffoon pointed out that the district’s March ending balance, $657,030, is up when compared to the same period in previous years. It’s up by $120,000 compared to 2021 and up by more than $500,000 compared to March 2020, Laffoon said

“We’re doing well financially, and we hope to continue that, especially with all the building projects we have going on,” Laffoon said, referring to expansions underground at the elementary schools and the junior high.

The board approved some changes to the salary schedule for the next school year. The position of transportation supervisor was eliminated from the classified salary schedule. Transportation Supervisor Jim Hendricks is retiring at the end of the year.

A new position, director of safety and transportation, was added to the administrator salary index. Earl Dean Campbell of Lonoke was hired to fill this position as part of the personnel list.

The board also agreed to a recommendation to pay staff a $75 daily rate for professional staff development that is required outside of their contract.

In other action, the board approved recommendations to purchase laptops for staff and students.

The district will purchase 225 13-inch MacBook Air laptops and 65 mini laptops for $263,356 from Apple for teachers. These will replace the current inventory and give a cushion of 13 extra laptops, said Jarod Morrison, director of maintenance and technology.

The board also approved Morrison’s recommendation to purchase 660 Chromebooks for $227,700, pending the approval of a grant from the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Each month, the board usually approves new board policies as recommended by the Arkansas School Board Association.

For April, these updates include a new policy for licensed and classified personnel for code of conduct. The change says the new policy is intended to address issues received over the years of employee misconduct that may not be specifically addressed by other policies.

This new policy includes a definition of sexual harassment that means conduct on the basis of sex that may not reach the definition of sexual harassment under Policy 3.26 but is nevertheless inappropriate within the education setting. According to the policy, examples of sexual harassment are sexual grooming; writing graffiti of a sexual nature; telling sexual or crude gestures; intimacy by words, actions or name calling; or teasing or name-calling related to sexual characteristics or gender.

The policy says that any employees whose actions are found to be in violation of the policy may be recommended for discipline up to and including termination of their contract.

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