Our mission is to ensure high levels of learning for all. The vision for MPS is to become a high performing professional learning community that works together in collaborative teams to honor our history through values and tradition, build our present through teamwork and collaboration, and create our future through creativity and innovation.
Our culture is the heart of our school system. It makes Mountainburg a special place to learn and work, and it gives us a unique advantage. Building and sustaining the MPS culture requires intentional effort from everyone in the district. Culture isn't a poster on the wall, it is what we believe, how we behave, and the experience we give and receive. It is the foundation on which our learning community is built. Our core beliefs are the standards for how we behave towards each other, our students, and our community. because culture shapes behavior and our behavior reinforces culture, it determines how effectively we implement our strategy. Our success depends on our ability to collaborate and execute in a constantly changing environment. Culture aligns everyone in the district around a common set of shared beliefs and behaviors that ultimately determine how we prepare our students for life. We know that as a small rural school we face many local challenges, such as high poverty, aging facilities, large remote distances for travel, and limited internet in our community.
MPS began to adopt the professional learning community model to examine our current reality and determine action steps to improve student learning in 18-19. Needs assessment and review of data revealed the following district priority areas:
MPS will operate as a high performing professional learning community
MPS will ensure student academic success with all students learning at or above grade level in literacy, math, and science MPS will ensure a safe, secure, and healthy environment for all
MPS will increase family, community, and business partnerships in productive partnerships to connect, engage, and support our learners MPS will ensure efficient and effective district and fiscal operations, maintain transportation, and plan for future needs.
Beginning in 18-19 and on-going today, many strategies have started and many actions are completed. Below is a summary, not a comprehensive list, of the actions we've accomplished.
Priority One: Operate as a high performing professional learning community
Schools have reorganized their master schedules, school improvement teams, and guiding coalitions to include teacher leaders who train, assist and assist principals as they review data, lead professional development, PLC meetings, and school improvement strategy. This year Guiding Coalitions are participating in monthly virtual coaching from PLC experts.
Each teacher participates in a professional learning team, either by grade level, content subject matter, or behavior team to identify essential standards, plan instruction, review data, and respond accordingly.
To build PLC understanding and capacity teams from schools have attended conferences and training, visited other PLC schools, and will apply for the DESE Professional Learning Community Cohort Project (4th year to apply).
MPS will utilize the High-Reliability School framework to ensure that key indicators of school success are present and at work in our school improvement processes.
MPS has restructured the facility and utilized categorical funds to provide more support for teacher learning with an instructional facilitator and a technology integration facilitator.
Priority Two: Ensure student academic success in literacy, math, and science
MPS began implementing the following research-based comprehensive curricula :
Fundations Phonics (K-3) 18-19
Wit and Wisdom Reading and Writing Curriculum (K-8) 20-21
Big Ideas Math (K-8) 19-20
Project Lead the Way Science (5-8) 20-21
MPS gives the NWEA MAP assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses, as well as to measure student growth three times a year and schedules regular intervention periods for remediation and enrichment.
MHS has applied for CTE Start-Up grants to update the current FACS program to offer the Culinary Food Sciences program. The grant will allow the school to upgrade the kitchen with a commercial foodservice kitchen and equipment, as well as offer a residential kitchen and introductory FACS courses. MHS also applied for a CTE start-up grant to offer Mobile Apps Development as a [program of study in the Business Education Department.
Priority Three: Ensure a safe, secure, and healthy environment for all
MPS has strengthed school security with the following measures:
Hired a School Resource Officer/Police Chief
Trained and implemented Commissioned School Security Officers on each campus
Installed security cameras on MES, MMS, and MHS campus
Installed buzzer and camera monitored door locking systems at MES, MMS. and MHS
Striped parking lots, crosswalks, and safety measures for high traffic areas
Implemented COVID health measures including masks, hand sanitization, temperature, and health screening, distancing when possible, desk shields, and contact tracing protocols following ADH guidance
Designated a District Health and Wellness Coordinator to organize school health teams and increase a culture of wellness across all campuses
Installed walking trails at MES
Installed walking trails at MMS (JUA Grant)
Installed a youth challenge course and fitness/exercise stations at MMS (Charter Grant)
Increased access to exercise and work out equipment for students, faculty/staff MHS (Donated through Business partnerships)
Added outdoor water bottle filling stations at MES and MMS (Armac Grant Funds)
Repaired and redesigned the MHS basketball court in Carl D Rogers gymnasium (JUA Grant)
Offer faculty health campaigns such as the American Heart Associations health challenges
Providing free Live Streaming basketball games to allow options for fans to follow basketball
Offered online ticket sales to offer maximized distancing in seating and contactless ticketing during football season
Priority Four: Increase family, community, and business partnerships
Increase Family Communications.
MPS is working to expand its communications efforts with the following strategies:
School offices work to update and maintain accurate parent contacts and utilize notification systems to communicate with parents MPS designated a communications coordinator
MPS utilizes weekly digital newsletters which a means of communications platforms including email, text, social media, and the Dragonslink app MPS is developing a communications survey to gather data and input into communication needs MPS is in the process of evaluating existing communications platforms and is looking for solutions to support more mobile communications
Appoint FACE (Family and Community Engagement) coordinators for each school and expand parent involvement in the fACE committees
Increase internet connectivity
MPS conducted recent internet access surveys to determine family connectivity resources and need MPS has obtained mobile Verizon and T-Mobile hot spots MPS has provided drive-by Wifi Access from school parking lots for school devices
Boys & Girls Club
20-21 is the second year to offer an after school program by partnering with the Diamond Hills Boys & Girls Club, with 45 students registered and an average daily attendance of 25. The Club offers snacks, meals, games, tutoring, leadership and enrichment programs.
Mountainburg Family Medical Clinic
MPS has a partnership with the clinic which allows students to be seen for medical care when other medical appointments might not be available to the student that day.
MPS has a partnership with the City of Mountainburg to offer and promote community recycle bins for paper, plastic, and cardboard. Cardboard is picked up by Abilities Unlimited to benefit and raise funds for their program.
Grab & Go Packs
MPS Foodservice provided over 600 Grab and Go PAcks weekly from the school shut down in March through May.
Farm to Family Food Program
MPS coordinated and distributed over 13,000 boxes of dairy. produce, and protein to families in the Mountainburg and surrounding areas since May.
Priority Five: Ensure efficient and effective district and fiscal operations Operating costs are a challenge to small, rural schools. as we are funded based on enrollment and local property tax millage.
The average property assessment value across the state generates $214,000 of revenue per mill. Our district's average property assessment value of approx $40,000, meaning that while our tax rates are comparable with other districts, the revenue generated is much less. We simply don't have commercial business taxes or high property values. Much of our land is tied up with national forest, state park, or local water supply. We did end the 19-20 school year with a positive balance in the operating fund and were able to transfer $150,000 to the building fund.
MPS has applied for funding through the Master Facilities Partnership Program and is currently in the process of needs assessment and long-range planning for facilities. We are taking action to maintain our current facilities, which vary in age from 1935 to 2018. Here are some of the more recent projects:
MPS upgraded LED lighting across the district in 2019-2020 utilizing OG&E rebates for 90% of the project costs, improving lighting quality, and reducing utility usage.
MPS has reduced waste costs by nearly $20K per year by monitoring waste and implementing recycling MPS reduce the number of bus routes by one in 19-20 MPS has received $1.387,000 in grants over the past three years from various granting agencies to support academics, health and wellness, and literacy
MPS meets the minimum teacher salary schedule under the Education Compensation Reform program with the following raises to the teacher salary schedule:
18-19 $400 to base and $898 to MA and advanced degrees
19-20 $1000 to base
20-21 $1100 to base
21-22 $1100 to base
MPS received $273,000 from trust funds through the educator compensation funding program to offset 40% of the costs of the raises, and is supportive of the proposed Teacher Enhanced Salary Funds to be acted on this spring by legislation. MPS has utilized and restructured existing faculty positions to provide support for areas of need, and carefully evaluates each position before replacing or rehiring.
Raises have been previously given to meet the minimum wage increases for classified positions and will be given to meet the next increase from $10.00 to $11 that takes effect on January 1, 2021.