State recommends removing Blytheville schools from academic distress

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A great weight will be lifted from the community of Blytheville, especially for the school district, as they look forward to Feb. 9.

According to Blytheville Superintendent Richard Atwill, the high school has been deemed for academic distress for three years, and the district for two years.

However, Atwill said the Blytheville Public School District was excited when notified by the Arkansas Department of Education, ADE, a recommendation letter to not only remove the district, but also Blytheville High School from its current academic distress status.

“That recommendation will go to the state board of education," he said. "In the past, they’ve accepted the recommendation of the department of education, and that’s gone well, and we’re excited and waiting for that.”

However, the superintendent said there was a certain requirement that they had to meet to be removed from academic distress.

"It's based on a three-year average of literacy and math scores," he said. "The cutoff line is 49.5 percent of our students achieving on literacy and mathematics; and this year our three-year average got above the 49.5."

However, Atwill said Blytheville Middle School will remain on the list for academic distress.

"The student achievement growth is occurring," he said. "But, they haven't made the cut off yet of the 49.5 percent."

Atwill said the recommendation letter from ADE, is for Blytheville High School and New Tech school to come off academic distress.

"This isn't an endpoint; this is the beginning," he said. "It's kind of when you get above the edge of the rut, don't think that that's the horizon. You have to keep climbing and you have to keep working hard."

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