Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents, Patrons, Educators, and Students:
The Van Buren School District is committed to providing an environment of educational excellence where every child will learn and succeed. We are a growing school district with an enrollment growth of approximately 100 students each year. We serve some 5,900 students in our six elementary schools, two middle schools, two junior high schools, one high school, and an alternative school.
Our students achieve both in the classroom and in various school activities. Our teachers are dedicated to helping children learn the skills and knowledge they need for a lifetime of success. They are a friendly, caring, professional staff that works as a team to meet the needs of every student. Our most recent state assessments show gains in every area of district measurement.
Van Buren teachers are dedicated to continuing improvement and studying the latest teaching and learning research in an effort to deliver the best possible education to our students. Many of our teachers, administrators, and supervisors have earned advanced degrees; and, through an education reimbursement program offered by the district, some 40 teachers are currently enrolled in graduate education studies to hone their classroom skills and advance themselves in the profession.
Our teachers continually distinguish themselves in the profession. Three principals are involved in the Master Principal Program. Our staff has had the Alternative Learning Environment Administrator of the Year, the Alternative Learning Environment Teacher of the Year, the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year, and several other distinguishing awards. Several of our athletic coaches are named as coaches in the Arkansas Activities Association All-Star program each year; others are honored by their coaching peers in other ways. We have 15 teachers who have earned certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards with several others involved in the process; and, we have one Milken Family Foundation Fellow.
Volunteerism is alive and well in Van Buren. Community members and parents volunteer thousands of hours each year in our schools. Every day, volunteers tutor students, organize parent centers, assist teachers and serve as mentors for our children. Affiliated with the state and national Parent Teacher Association, our local Parent Teacher Association is one of the strongest in Arkansas; our PTA Council has won Best in State more than once and our PTA is a leader in the state organization. The district is committed to high levels of community and parent involvement.
The Van Buren community expects the best in its school facilities, and our support staff ensures that our students have an ideal environment for learning with clean, healthy, well-maintained spaces. The district is near completion of a ten-year facilities program supported by a tax increase in 2003. Each of our schools has been expanded with significant work already accomplished at Van Buren High School and Butterfield Junior High School and more work planned at King Elementary School.
Students have available a rich and rigorous curriculum including challenging studies for students all along the academic continuum. We offer a full range of Advanced Placement and Pre-Advanced Placement studies in secondary and middle schools and many other activities designed to meet the individual needs of students. Fine arts programs are supported by a new Fine Arts Center located on the campus of Van Buren High School.
Students also have access to the finest in classroom technology. The district has approximately 1,800 school computer work stations and a computer-to-student ratio less than of 1:4. All schools have e-mail and direct access to high-speed internet connections. Our media centers also offer students a wealth of information for academic research.
Primarily through our district web site, we are committed to providing students, parents and staff as much online information as possible such as homework assignments, contact information, grades, board policies, lunch menus, event calendars, learning resources, and many other sources of information. This year the district is implementing both email and cellular text notification systems by subscription in order to keep our community better informed. In addition to electronic information sources, the district publishes The VIEW, our award-winning quarterly newsletter.
As you can see, the Van Buren School District offers a wide range of opportunity for students in our community. At this beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, we welcome you to the Van Buren School District where we are firmly committed to “Every Child – Whatever It Takes.”
Merle L. Dickerson, Ed.D.