PCSSD "Scholars Academy" Approved by Federal Judge

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal judge Wednesday approved the creation of a scholars academy targeted at improving student achievement in Pulaski County schools.

Federal district judge D. Price Marshall says the academy plan presented by the Pulaski County Special School District and the group representing black students, "gives me hope" that it will achieve its stated goal of getting more students ready for college.

PCSSD superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess said he was pleased with the judge approving the plan.

"A lot of students who follow a post secondary course of going to college and getting a college degree and becoming a productive adult, and there's a lot of promise for that here," Guess says.

PCSSD will submit three $3.3 million payments to the Charles W. Donaldson Academy at UALR over the next three years.

The program uses intensive tutoring and guidance for students who score below a 20 on the ACT.

In limited trials during the summer, the program states 80% of students did not require remediation after completing the academy.

"Many students receive a bad grade or test score and believe that's who they are," Donaldson says. "When, in fact, they are perfectly capable if they just keep at it."

UALR and Philander Smith will administer the program for the next three years.

PCSSD is cutting $1.5 million annually in existing programs to help pay for it's portion of the academy.

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