School Counts! Meeting For Businesses Held

The School Counts! Business Sign-On Committee hosted a meeting on Thursday, February 28, at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton’s Fine Arts Gallery and Auditorium to share the goals of the School Counts! initiative with local business representatives.  The initiative promotes the value of education as part of a comprehensive workforce development plan to make higher education available to every student in Conway County.  Providing students with the opportunity to continue their education beyond high school will result in a better prepared workforce that will make Conway County more attractive to companies looking to expand or move into our area.

State Representative Johnny Hoyt visits with Sandy
 Davies and Ted Williams at the recent 
School Counts!
initiative meeting.
Patty Shipp, a member of the School Counts! Steering Committee, presented an overview of the program and explained the importance of local businesses, organizations, and individuals to the initiative.  Shipp said, “The School Counts!initiative provides a unique opportunity for the elementary and secondary schools in Conway County, our local community college, and local businesses, organizations, and individuals within the community to work together to improve the educational and skills level of the youth within Conway County and make our communities more attractive to businesses looking to locate here or expand their current operations.  Support of School Counts! by our business partners is crucial to the success of the initiative.”

Dr. B. Alan Sugg, president of
 the University of Arkansas System, expresses his approval of the 
Dr. B. Alan Sugg, president of the University of Arkansas System, attended the meeting.  Dr. Sugg expressed appreciation to the business partners for their support of the initiative and the opportunities available to the community through UACCM. Sugg said, “I am proud to have the Morrilton campus as part of our University of Arkansas System. This School Counts! initiative is a revolutionary idea in education and has the potential to dramatically alter the area’s economic development in a positive way.” 

In order for students to be designated a School Counts! completer, they must demonstrate quality in their academic work in grades nine through twelve by not making any transcript grade lower than a “C”, achieving a 95% attendance record each year of high school, completing high school in four consecutive years, and taking more than the minimum number of credits required by the state for graduation.  These criteria correlate with the skills needed in today’s workforce of quality (“not having to repeat work”), attendance (“showing up for work”), persistence (“finishing what they start”), and goal setting (“going the extra mile.”)
Kent and Jennifer Johnson visit with Aaron Spivey, Co-
Chair of the 
School Counts! Business Sign-On
 Committee and Darren Jones, UACCM Vice Chancellor
 of Student Services.
Members of the School Counts! Business Sign-On Committee include Co-chairs Aaron Spivey and Miles Lacy, Christy Hockaday, Raye Pearce, Allen Lipsmeyer, and Jolie Busby. Businesses, organizations, or individuals interested in signing on as a partner in the initiative may contact Aaron Spivey at or (501) 977-2029.  Groups interested in a presentation on the School Counts! initiative may call Patty Shipp at (501) 354-4780 or Thomas Flowers at (501) 977-2020.


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