Quitman School

Tina Smith, the Arkansas Branch director for Solution Tree (center) on Monday gives Quitman Superintendent Dennis Truxler, Elementary Principal Julie Wallace and Assistant Superintendent Michael Stacks a plaque and a flag to recognize the district’s national Model PLC status.

QUITMAN — District administrators and state leaders on Monday celebrated Quitman Public Schools becoming the first ever nationally recognized Model PLC school district.

The Quitman Public School District was named a Model PLC School in mid-July through the Arkansas Department of Education and Solution Tree.

“The word has gotten out there that Quitman Public Schools is the place to be,” Arkansas Department of Education Director of Specialty Projects Missy Walley said, adding that the district’s school population has increased by 16 percent in the last five years.

Enrollment was at 621 in 2015 and is now at 743 for 2020.

The district has taken many steps and received multiple honors prior to being named a Model Professional Learning Community (PLC) district.

Of the awards the district received in 2019, Walley said it was a clear accomplishment the school was recognized for having the greatest overall growth on the ACT Aspire test among Arkansas schools.

The ADE special projects director also said Quitman educators have gone above and beyond to ensure all students receive a “high-level education.”

“Quitman school was and is the heart of the community,” Walley said of the district’s drive.

The attention given to special education was notable, too, she said.

“Special [Education] is no longer a sentence,” Walley said of the district’s efforts. “You’ve transitioned 20 students from IEPs to 504s, transitioned 12 students from direct … special services and you have seen an overall 10 percent reduction in the number of students receiving services.”

Quitman Superintendent Dennis Truxler thanked the group of educators who attended Monday’s celebration.

“I am honored and blessed for the special privilege to be your superintendent,” he said.

The district earned the Model PLC status because of its educators, Michael Stacks, the school’s assistant superintendent and high school principal, said.

Tina Smith, the Arkansas Branch director for Solution Tree, said the district’s honor “was no small feat.”

“I’m here to give you an award [that’s] not easy to get,” she said.

Before handing over a Model PLC flag to Truxler, Stacks and Elementary Principal Julie Wallace, the Solution Tree branch director called a group of students to the front of the Bulldog Complex, where Monday’s celebration was held. During the ceremony, the students worked to arrange gifts for incoming teachers and also set up lunch for the crowd. Smith thanked the group of students for working to help their educators prior to the start of the school year and asked them to spend time thanking their teachers.

As the celebration ended, Smith said she applauded the district’s leaders and educators for creating a learning environment focused on the students’ success.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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