ADE Charter Panel Approves HSMS Application

Hot Springs Junior Academy
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Hot Springs School District presented its application to the Charter Authorizing Panel on Friday, October 21 for a Conversion Charter Middle School to be called Hot Springs Junior Academy. The team consisting of Dr. Mike Hernandez, Dr. Stephanie Nehus, Natasha Lenox, Becky Rosburg, Kelley Deardorff and Nancy Scott spoke to the panel about the many opportunities that will be provided to the students of the school. Questions from the panel focused on teacher licensure, waivers, and staff encouragement. The conversion charter was unanimously approved by the authorizing panel.

The conversion charter will be founded on career clusters. Twice a week, students will meet for 45 minutes to explore and choose areas in which they are interested. Examples include robotics, photography, publishing, cooking and coding, just to name a few. 

Students on an accelerated path also will participate in independent study.

Each "exploration" will have several potential careers "attached" to it. Members of the community and local industries will come into the school to lead sessions on what they do for a living. 

The school's schedule will be expanded to include a zero hour, a time during which students will meet with assigned mentors to assess their career interests, studies, projects and progress. 

Educators representing the Hot Springs Junior Academy said they will partner with APSRC as they embark on familiarizing themselves with the Summit Personalized Learning Platform, which was designed by Summit Public Schools in California and Facebook engineers. The platform will soon make its debut in Arkansas.

The panel's approval recommendation will now go to entire State Board for a vote. The district is very excited about the continued opportunities that the charter will allow. Much appreciation goes to all of the supporters of this endeavor and the tremendous amount of work required for the journey.

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