New superintendent has high hopes for SWAR school district

Texarkana

HOPE, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Dr. Jonathan Crossley is now leading the Hope School District into the 2021-2022 school year. He is the former assistant superintendent for the Pine Bluff School District.

Crossley started his teaching career in Palestine, Ark. He later became principal and leadership fellow in the Little Rock School District in 2015, where he is credited with producing student achievement gains at Little Rock Baseline Elementary School. Crossley then became a consultant for the Office of Coordinated Support and Service in the Pine Bluff School District.

When it comes to COVID-19 and the upcoming school year, Crossley said a point person has been designated for each campus to make sure everyone stays informed. “We can’t mandate masks inside of our classrooms, we can encourage it, and we want to make sure that we are spacing appropriately even though we’re not going to be able to do the 6 feet of distancing. We want to make sure that students feel comfortable, that parents feel comfortable, and that we are communicating and over-communicating how we are keeping students safe,” he said.

Crossley said options are being discussed for a small number of students that have requested a virtual option for the upcoming school year. “We truly believe that if students are falling behind … the best place for them to be is going to be with us, with an individualized support plan, so that students can make up any lost ground.” 

The new superintendent said his vision for the district is an expansion of what’s already been laid out in multiple strategic plans to expand opportunities. “Imagine this. In 5 years, if every student walked across the stage at graduation from Hope High School with either a professional certification in skilled trade, a two-year associate’s degree, and ready for that next step. That vision can happen,” Crossley said.

Dr. Bobby Hart, who served as superintendent in the district for 9 years, recently joined Searcy Public Schools as superintendent.

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