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Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday Highlights 5.29.20

Important Dates
May is: 

Foster Care Month
Lupus Awareness Month
National Blood Pressure Month

Older Americans Month

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - Prospective Board Member Zoom Meeting
5:30 p.m.

LRSD's Top Employees, Including Teacher of the Year,
Awarded Cash Prizes During Virtual Celebration

The Little Rock School District named its top teacher and top classified employee for 2020 during a virtual celebration this week. Forest Heights STEM Academy specialist Amber Harbin was named Little Rock School District Teacher of the Year and Child Nutrition staff member Porchia Jordan was selected as Classified Employee of the Year.

This was the first year that classified employees were honored alongside teachers of the year at an annual event that is timed to coincide with the observance of National Teacher Appreciation week. The District would normally host a 600-person gala at the Statehouse Convention Center to recognize campus teachers of the year, from whom the overall Teacher of the Year is selected. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, LRSD opted for a virtual ceremony streamed live on the District's Facebook page, and broadcast on its cable channels (Comcast Channel 4 and U-verse 99).

Sixty-eight teachers were selected by their peers and after a vote at each campus, the finalists then applied for the top educator spot in the District. That teacher undergoes a rigorous application process before ultimately being selected by a panel of judges as the winner and recipient of the Dr. Marion G. Lacey Educator of the Year Award. The late Dr. Lacey, for whom the award is named, was a beloved educator and administrator in the LRSD and until her death, would attend the gala.

Lacey award-winner, Harbin, is a thirteen-year science educator who is pursuing her doctorate. She is a respected teacher-leader at Forest Heights and throughout the country for her expertise in the area of STEM education. As LRSD Teacher of the Year, Harbin will now have an opportunity to pursue the state title in two weeks. Harbin follows in the footsteps of 2019 LRSD Teacher of the Year, Jeff Whitlow, Don Roberts Elementary, who was a top four finalist at state, and Stacey McAdoo, Little Rock Central High School, who was selected 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.
Level winners included: Tari Anderson, Otter Creek - Elementary Teacher of the Year, Jackie Scott, Mann Magnet - Middle School Teacher of the Year, and Lynn Smith, Parkview Arts and Sciences Magnet - High School Teacher of the Year.
Among classified staff, Porchia Jordan earned the highest district distinction after being recognized as an employee who consistently went above and beyond the call of duty and who always "put kids first," according to her supervisor. Jordan was also described as an ideal employee.
Other classified staff members were honored in their particular areas of responsibility:
  • Kevin Murry - Custodian of the Year
  • Elisha Nelson - Safety and Security Officer of the Year
  • Donn Francart - Paraprofessional of the Year
  • Jennifer Fisk - Physical Therapist of the Year
  • Jodi Pullen - Occupational Therapist of the Year
  • Kamela Rowland - Speech Therapist of the Year
  • Lisa Holliday - Maintenance Employee of the Year
  • Tina Robinson - Transportation Employee of the Year
  • Neva Johnson - Secretarial and General Support Staff Employee of the Year
    First Student, Inc. employees were also recognized for their transportation support to LRSD students and families:
  • Tanya Bell - Employee of the Year
  • James Hayes - Bus Driver of the Year
Thanks to generous sponsors, all of the referenced employees received trophies and cash prizes, and will be featured in an ad in the high profile section of the statewide newspaper this Sunday. The Little Rock School District wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the business partners who made this tribute possible, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic caused a change in the original celebratory plans scheduled for May 11.
  • First Student, Inc.- Returning Presenting Sponsor
  • US Bank - Platinum Sponsor
  • Nabholz - Returning Gold Sponsor
  • VALIC - Returning Gold Sponsor
  • Little Rock Education Association - Silver Sponsor
  • LRSD will evaluate the possibility of a future reception honoring all 2020 teacher and classified winners, as health guidelines allow.
Congratulations, again, to all Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee winners.

Be sure to watch for the ad in this Sunday's Arkansas Democrat Gazette - High Profile section.  

LRSD Seeks to Fill Vacancy for Zone 6
Community Advisory Board Position

If you are interested in serving, please click on the link below to complete the application:

Plus -  It's Time to Make Plans for an
Elected Board
To Participate:  Watch Facebook Live, Comcast Channel 4 and U-verse 99, or

Don't Forget to Weigh In
First, please take a few minutes to complete the survey linked below.  We are making reentry plans for Fall 2020 and welcome your feedback on AMI and instructional delivery during COVID-19 school closures. As parents, your voice and experiences during this time are important to us.  You will also find a space to volunteer to participate in focus group discussions about the plan for fall instruction.  These meetings will be held virtually over the month of June and will help shape how school will look this fall. 

Here are links to the survey in English and Spanish:

Parent Online Learning Evaluation (English)

Parent Online Learning Evaluation (Spanish)

Teachers are also encouraged to participate in the survey.
We also appreciate your feedback: