Dragon Strong Community

Superintendent's Update - Nov 16 Annual Report to the Public

Annual Report to the Public

Dear Dragon Community,

Circumstances in the pandemic make the 2020-2021 school year especially challenging for all of us. But together, we can do this. This Annual Report to the Public is presented to update you on our work and our progress as a district to serve our students and our community. Your feedback and input are welcome.

Please read the report included below. You are also welcome to join us for the presentation of this report Monday, November 16 at 5:30 in the MHS library, or join a virtual meeting with the link below.

Please contact the school or district offices if we can be of assistance.


Dr. Debbie Atwell



MPS is experiencing positive gains in enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year.

October 1 Enrollments:

  • 17-18: 631
  • 18-19: 615
  • 19-20: 619
  • 20-21: 647

Eligible for Free/reduce meals: 74%

Classified Staff: 51

Certified Staff: 64

Total: 115

Master's Degree or Above: 26

National Board Certified: 4

School Board Members meeting/exceeding annual training requirements: 6

Mission, Vision, Values & Goals

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-ging 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 teachers 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 needs
  • 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.

Community Recycling

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.

Accreditation & School Rankings

Mountainburg Public Schools was fully accredited by the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the 2019-2020 school year. Report Card scores for the 19-20 school year remain at the previous year's levels due to the pandemic and cancellation of the state's spring testing.

Mountainburg Elementary School

16-17: D - 65.63

17-18: D - 68.36

18-19: C - 70.33

19-20: .....

Mountainburg Middle School

16-17: C - 72.16

17-18: C - 69.24

18-19: B - 70.2

19-20: .....

Mountainburg High School

16-17: D - 61.41

17-18: C - 62.8

18-19: D - 60.69

19-20: .....

School improvement teams are utilizing student performance data and working to improve student achievement in identified areas of literacy, math and STEM on the ACT Aspire testing in grades 3-10, and the ACT for grades11 and 12, as well as increase student opportunities for Community Service Learning and Computer Science at MHS.


Mountainburg Public Schools utilizes the Arkansas School Board Association model policies. Policies are reviewed and updated annually. Parents are encouraged to serve on each school's handbook committee for feedback and input in the Student Handbook policies.


Mountainburg High School (MHS) meets the Advanced Placement (AP) course requirements utilizing Virtual Arkansas and has 18 enrollments in a combination of the following AP courses: AP Biology, AP Calculus (AB), AP Language, AP Literature, AP Psychology. Other courses offered include: AP Art History, AP Calculus (BC), AP Computer Science, AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, AP Music Theory, AP Govt and Politics, AP US History, and AP World History.

MHS has 71 student enrollments in a number of courses through Virtual Arkansas including: French I, Visual Arts Appreciation, Sociology, Pre-Cal, American Sign Language, Worl History, Health & Wellness, US History, Computer Science Coding I, Environmental Science, Professional Communications, US History, Spanish III, German I, Spanish II, Psychology, Medical Terminology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Journalism, Experiencing Art, and Computer Science Coding Level 2.

MHS students has 15 student enrollments in the following concurrent credit courses through Arkansas Virtual as well: Composition I, Composition II, and College Algebra.

MHS has six student enrollments in programs at WATC at UAFS: Computer Science: Software Development/Engineering, Medical Professions, and Welding.

Gifted & Talented Services are provided in the following ways:

  • 3rd & 4th grade-7 students serviced through resource pull out classes
  • 5th & 6th grade- 12 students served through resource pull out classes
  • 7th & 8th grade- 13 students served through a differentiated curriculum in secondary content classes and monthly GT meetings
  • 9th-12th grade- 20 students served through a differentiated curriculum in secondary content classes and monthly GT meetings, Pre-AP, AP

Dyslexia services are currently provided to 56 students utilizing Connections OG in 3D, an Arkansas K-12 Dyslexia Intervention Approved Program.


Recent facilities project include:

Mountainburg Elementary School

  • Painted interior hallways
  • installed fitness walking trail on the playground
  • Replaced restroom flooring and stalls

Mountainburg Middle School

  • Painted interior hallways
  • Replaced classroom furniture (charter grant)
  • Updated classroom projection systems with large display televisions with wifi (charter grant)
  • Installed challenge course, 40-Yard Dash, 450 Thrive Station, and 900 Thrive Station (charter grant)
  • Renovated MMS office
  • Repaired seals between parking lot and walls
  • Installed additional and larger rain guttering to address leaking issues
  • Repairs to MS gym roof
  • Installed bottle filling stations

Mountainburg High School

  • Painted interior hallways (19-20)
  • Repaired and redesigned gym floor (JUA Grant)
  • Replaced broken door ob Agri building
  • Replaced classroom student desks and cafeteria tables with donated furniture in 19-20
  • Repairs to football field fencing and parking lot due to flooding
  • Repaired, resealed, and restriped parking lots at MHS and MHS
  • installed handrails on basketball and football bleachers
  • FACS lab kitchen, cabinets, and tables repainted and decorated
  • Repaired leak damage to floors in part of Old Main
  • Repaired storm damages to softball dugouts

Leading Dragon Strong

  • Honor our History through Values and Traditions
  • Build our present through Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Create our future through Creativity and Innovation

Dr. Debbie Atwell is serving her third year as superintendent. She and husband Roger are MHS graduates, life long residents of the community, and are owned by dogs Woodrow & Sadie.