M.O.S.T. (Making Our Schools Thrive) held the monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 25th at the Newport Economic Development Commission. According to the group Facebook page, M.O.S.T. consists of community members who believe in the Newport School District and are working towards improving education, communication, morale, safety and discipline. Every month the group meet two days before the regular monthly meeting of the Newport School Board.

            The meeting began at 5:30 pm. John Chadwell began the meeting by thanking all in attendance. The room was full as in the norm and additional people entered throughout the first few minutes. Those in attendance were given a handout of the current Procedure for Grievances for the Newport School District. The proper procedure includes teacher, administrator, Superintendent and then school board, in that order. Contact numbers include Newport Elementary 870-523-1351, Newport High School 870-523-1321, and Superintendent 870-523-1311. Depending on the zone, contact numbers of school board members include; Bryson Elston 870-217-3608 (Zone 1), Dennis Haigwood 870-217-2424 (Zone 2), Kathy Green 870-523-8813 (Zone 3), Jeff Rutledge 870-217-1875 (Zone 4), Loftin Kent 870-503-3103 (Zone 5), Leroy Mansko 870-217-2269 (At Large Zone 6), and Eddie Cooley 870-664-0051 (At Large Zone 7).

            M.O.S.T. implemented an “Adopt a Teacher” program at the last meeting. Each teacher within the district has a community member there for any needs that may arise. The group is in contact with the building administrators, Terri Kane and Amy Thaxton, to schedule “Meet and Greets” for the faculty and those community members.

            Tara Salinas volunteered to be a liaison between parents who file for school choice out of the district, as well as a those who currently live in Newport, but send their children to other districts. The group has a Facebook page and everyone was encouraged to follow and recommend it to others. Currently, a number of surveys are available to the public so that the group may have statistical data on several issues concerning the parents, community and educators.

            The regular scheduled school board meeting is schedule for tonight, September 27th at 6 pm. The community is urged to attend. M.O.S.T is on the agenda in order to follow-up on last month’s requests including an additional SRO Officer, a person to contact parents who are considering school choice, and a Career Coach from ASU. In additional to the requests from the last meeting, John Chadwell will present to the board the data from the surveys. One piece of data includes that over 400 school age children that live within Newport School District do not attend Newport Schools; 70 percent of those, according to those surveyed, attend Jackson County Schools.

In addition, the group has additional requests for the board. M.O.S.T wants to encourage everyone to attend. The September Regular School Board Meeting was moved from the original meeting time by the board and conflicts with the Newport Greypup Football home game. The meeting begins at 6 pm. Make plans to attend before heading to the game!