ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : COM-08-018

Date Created : 08/27/2007


Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals
Elementary Principals
Middle School Principals
High School Principals

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Optional
Section:   Accountability - Dr. Charity Smith, Assistant Commissioner
Little Rock Central High 1957-2007 Commemoration of 50 Years

Regulatory Authority:
Act 917 of 2007

Contact Person:
Dr. Charity Fleming Smith

Phone Number:


Little Rock Central High 1957-2007 Commemoration of 50 Years

“On September 23, 1957, Little Rock's Central High School became a symbol of integration in America's schools, as mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954.” Nine African-American teenagers entered the school in an attempt to seize better educational opportunities. On September 25, 2007, our nation will celebrate this national event with live news coverage of all activities planned. State, national, and international media will cover this national educational commemoration. The Little Rock Nine: Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Dr. Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls Lanier, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed-Wair, and Melba Pattillo Beals, will speak during this event. Also scheduled to speak are former President William Jefferson Clinton, President George Bush, Governor Mike Beebe, and distinguished state officials and educational leaders.

To ensure that every high school senior in Arkansas has the opportunity to participate in the historic Little Rock Central High 1957-2007 Commemoration of 50 Years of Integration Celebration, the Arkansas General Assembly has set aside funding to support student participation through the Educational Sub-Committee of the 50th Anniversary Commission for Little Rock Central High and the Arkansas Department of Education. The purpose of student participation is to help encourage students to “boldly seize available educational opportunities” and to provide scholarship opportunities to support post-secondary education for student winners.

In the 2007 legislative session, Senator Irma Hunter Brown and Representative Wilhelmina Lewellen of Little Rock sponsored Act 917 of 2007 of the 86th General Assembly to appropriate funds to make statewide student participation in the 50th Central High School Anniversary possible. All three hundred and eleven high schools are encouraged to participate in the Little Rock Central High 1957-2007 Commemoration, and become a part of history, by participating in the Literacy Composition and Art Collage Contest.

The theme of the contest is “Seizing Educational Opportunities: Character and Courage.” Each high school will select the superlative entrant for each category (Literacy Composition and Art Collage). Each high school will have two (2) finalists. Each finalist from across the state will compete with other high school students for grand prize scholarships. Art work composed by student finalists will be judged by the Arkansas Arts Council and literary compositions composed by student finalists will be judged by the Arkansas Literacy Council and Literacy Specialists at the Arkansas Department of Education.

Vantage Learning, Inc. is donating to each high school library a thirty-day opportunity for students to enhance writing skills, and literacy skills through the use of the writing enhancement software, Correct English Desk Top Editor. CorrectEnglish™ is writing enhancement software that checks grammar, style, development, and word choices to provide students with comprehensive writing help and feedback. It can be used either as a plug-in to Microsoft® Word or as an independent word processor, putting all the writing tools and tips at student fingertips. The really innovative part of this program is that the writer can click on a style button that will offer suggestions on how to make the writing better within the five domains of writing. Any changes made in CorrectEnglish™, are automatically made in either Word or Outlook depending on what the writer is using. Michael Mills, Vice President of Vantage Learning, Inc. will contact the high school principal or librarian by E-mail about the installation process and web-based training procedures for librarians scheduled at 10:00 a.m on August 30, 2007.

All student finalists will be honored at the awards celebration held at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda, on September 25, 2007, at 8:00 a.m. and participate in a garden luncheon in the Garden Room of the Clinton Library at 12:30 p.m. Student finalists will tour the Clinton Library, receive free passes to attend the Emancipation Proclamation Exhibit held at the Clinton Library, and meet invited special guests. Student finalists will also be eligible to win educational hardware and software. Winners and finalists will be notified via phone call and/or mail by September 20, 2007. All entries must be received by Friday, September 14, 2007, at 12:00 noon. Please note that all artwork and essays will be returned to students. Entries should be mailed to the following address:

Dr. Charity Fleming Smith, Assistant Commissioner
Division of Public School Academic Accountability
# 4 Capitol Mall Room 111B
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201

Scholarships will be awarded for first, second, and third place winners in each category. First-place winners will receive a $1500 scholarship; second-place winners will receive a $1000 scholarship and third-place winners will receive a $500 scholarship. The winning artwork and essays will be placed on display at the Arkansas State Capitol, the Central High Museum, and made available to the Little Rock Nine Foundation.

A continental breakfast and other snacks will be provided for student winners and sponsors from each high school. Breakfast will begin promptly at 7:00 a.m.

In order to assist with transportation costs, student transportation will be reimbursed at twenty-two cents per mile. Transportation reimbursement will be made to sponsors or local school districts using the forms attached to this Commissioner’s Memorandum. Completed reimbursement requests should be turned in to the Department of Education Office of Accountability.

Due to limited parking spaces, and because of the large number of out-of-state and international guests expected, high school student winners will be transported by CoachUSA bus from Dickey-Stephens Park located at 400 W. Broadway Avenue, North Little Rock to all events. Sponsors transporting students attending the event may begin parking at the Dickey-Stephens Park parking lot at 6:30 a.m. on September 25, 2007. Busses will depart for the commemorative activities every fifteen minutes beginning at 6:45 a.m. The Department of Education staff and the Little Rock Central High Commission staff will direct students to the appropriate busses.

Student finalists will represent some of the best student writers and artists in the state. The students will witness Arkansas History firsthand; therefore, students should bring materials for note taking or sketch pads for artwork. Students should dress professionally for the occasion and avoid jeans, pullovers, shorts or any other inappropriate attire. For identification purposes, students shall wear respective school t-shirt and slacks to this auspicious event.

All schools are encouraged to participate! This is a once-in-a lifetime historical educational celebration. More information is included in the attached poster.


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