Mena School administrators are teaming up with our local Walmart for the annual “Tip the Tank,” a fundraising activity for the Arkansas Children’s Miracle Network. Pictured are Louise Durham Principal Curtis Black and Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith.
Please welcome STACY SALISBURY to the staff at Mena Public Schools ! Hello Bearcat Nation- I am so happy to be a part of Mena Schools as your dyslexia specialist and coordinator of the dyslexia program at Mena Schools. I am a CALT or Certified Academic Language Therapist. I received my CALT training from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, Texas at the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders in 2007. I have been a dyslexia therapist for several school districts in Texarkana,Texas serving grades K-12. I started my teaching career in 1982 (graduating from Texas A&M- Texarkana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education) and have been a classroom teacher for grades 1st-6th until becoming a dyslexia therapist. I retired from teaching in Texas in 2017. After only being retired a few months, I returned part-time as a dyslexia therapist for Texas High School in Texarkana. I truly enjoy helping students overcome their dyslexic challenges and achieving their highest academic success. My husband of 42 years, Dennis Salisbury, and I found your beautiful community about 4 years ago and bought property on Highway 8 West. We have been busy building our home here and finally Dennis has decided to retire! He has been a quality home builder in the Texarkana area building beautiful homes for over 30 years. I look forward to continuing my passion of helping dyslexic students and bringing my experience and knowledge of dyslexia to Mena Schools. I feel extremely blessed to be a part of Bearcat Nation!
Mena School Staff are wrapping up three days of professional development at the Arkansas School Counseling Association Conference in Hot Springs.
The history of Mena Public School Part 5: Friday, June 10, 1949 will always be remembered as a very special day for Central School. This was Louise Durham Day for all the pupils. Teachers and community came together to honor Miss Louise Durham who was retiring from the Mena Schools after fifty-seven years in education. All students in grades seven through twelve were housed in the high school building. The enrollment in these grades had increased in number until the high school building was not large enough to care for the students without overcrowding. Mena Junior High School was organized in 1951. A new gymnasium was approved by district patrons and construction on the project was completed in 1958. In 1960-61 a much needed school auditorium was added to the high school building. In 1968 students first occupied a new cafeteria. The 1968-19 term was a time of change at Stillwell. The first four grades were all moved to Louise Durham School. Only fifth and sixth grade children attended Stillwell. In 1973, the district asked for a five-dollar-per-thousand tax increase to build a new high school. Following the completion of the high school project, the Mena District underwent a reorganization as a middle school was created and kindergarten was added to Louise Durham Elementary. This reorganization began in 1976. The middle school housed 6-8, and the high school housed 9-12. The Stillwell school remained until 1983. In the fall of that year, grades three, four, and five were moved to a new elementary facility that was named after Miss Holly Harshman who had served the Mena District 45 years as a teacher and elementary principal. In 1986 a total of 10 new classrooms plus a band room and athletic facility was built by the district to help meet new state standards. Two years later a new 2200 seat stadium was constructed to replace Boyd Stadium which was plagued by inadequate seating, restrooms, and lighting. The Mena District went from 1973 to 1991 without asking its patrons for a millage increase. However, In September of 1991 district patrons were asked to vote a two mill increase in order to bring the district into compliance with Arkansas Law. The two mills were approved by the people. As of May. 2022, the Mena District has a present enrollment of 1696.. Louise Durham PreK-2 has 460, Holly Harshman has 368, Mena Middle School has 391, Mena High School has 463, Polk County Virtual Academy 14.
Please welcome REBECCA SPRAGUE to our team at Mena Public Schools !!! My name is Rebecca Sprague and I’m excited to be joining the Louise Durham Elementary teaching team as a special education teacher. I’ve taught in the general education kindergarten classroom, K-6 special education, and early intervention settings for the past 14 years. My family of five enjoys spending time outside camping, fishing, hunting, and baseball. I love to read, crochet, and spend time with my family. I grew up on a farm outside of Mena and I look forward to giving back to a school district that provided my K-12 foundation in education. I can’t wait to meet everyone and be a part of this thriving community of educators, learners, families, and supporters.
Mena Counselors Delivered over 300 pounds of can tabs to the Arkansas School Counselors Summer Conference today. Tabs were donated this past school year to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Thank you to all who helped by donating!
The Mena Public Schools are happy to welcome JAMIE COPELIN to our staff at Louise Durham Elementary! Hello everyone, my name is Jamie Copelin and I am so excited to be joining Mena Public Schools. My husband and I are long time Mena residents and Bearcat fans! We have a son in college, twins in 4th grade, and a mini poodle fur baby that is very spoiled and likes to travel with us. I keep myself busy with a love of crafts, camping with the family, and whatever new adventure is on our calendar. I am very blessed to be living in a community where my children can grow and learn good values and character. I have spent many years working with children either in school or church and look forward to continuing that passion at Louise Durham Elementary.
The Mena Public Schools are pleased to welcome AVANLEA CHANEY to our staff for 2022/2023 ! Hi my name is Avanlea Chaney. I will be joining Louise Durham Elementary this upcoming school year as the new School Counselor. I grew up in Mena, AR and recently moved back after being in Conway, AR for five years. My husband, David and I bought our first home and are excited to be back! I graduated in 2019 from the University of Central Arkansas with my bachelor’s degree in family consumer science while also receiving an art minor. I continued my education at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville for my master’s degree in human environmental science, but recently transferred back to UCA to pursue my degree in school counseling. I have worked closely with children and families in my career through the Department of Children and Family Services, Families Inc. School Based Counseling Services, Youth Home, and the U of A Cooperative Extension Services in 4-H Youth and Development. I am passionate about helping children and families thrive by guiding the way towards a brighter future and am excited to see how I can make a difference in this new position.
The Mena Little Cats Basketball Camp came to a close on Friday at the Union Bank Center. There were smiles all around as awards were given for their hard work this week. GO BEARCATS!!!
The Mena Public Schools are excited to welcome MEGAN AUER to our staff! Hi! My name is Megan Auer. I will be teaching 2nd grade at Louise Durham this coming school year! I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Elemenatry Education from Northeastern State University and my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from William Woods University. I have taught for 14 years, teaching kindergarten, first grade and second grade. Chad and I have been married for 18 years. We have two sons and one daughter. In my free time I enjoying gardening, camping and family movie/game nights. I am thrilled to be apart of Mena Public Schools family!
Wednesday was the first day of the Little Cats Basketball Camp at the Union Bank Center. Coach Randy Peters & the Bearcats put camper thru their paces. Those left handed layups were a challenge.. GO BEARCATS!!!
The History of Mena Public Schools Part 4: During the school years of 1907-1920 many changes were taking place in the history of education in Arkansas. The Uniform Text Book Law and the Compulsory School Attendance Law were passed by the Arkansas Legislature. Also measures for the protection of the health of small children were passed and the public drinking cup was banned. Compulsory vaccinations against smallpox was instituted. Another great step forward was the coming of the Free Textbook Law. Some of the money raising projects carried out to provide for the needs of the school included teas and plays. With the funds thus obtained many things were bought. Among these were a large Victrola for music appreciation, a suitable and large library for the children, a number of appropriate pictures by master artists, a large school bell, and a first aid cabinet. The community’s educational needs had increased so greatly that in 1922 the Central and High School buildings were added on to and a manual training building was erected. Furthermore, in the 1932-33 school year a model college for the home economics department was provided. Mr. J. E. Bishop, Superintendent of Mena Schools, said he had a faculty of twenty teachers as good as the best in the state. In 1926 the rating of the schools was raised from a “B” to an “A”. In 1927 the high school became a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. This was as high a rating as any school in Arkansas could achieve at the time. In 1934 school census showed 1,103 pupils attending the Mena Schools. All the pupils walked to school in those days. For many years about one fourth of the children brought their lunches to school in a sack or lunch pail. The rest of the pupils walked home for lunch. When the Junior High School was started they built a cafeteria for all the schools in Mena. Central pupils were transported by buses down there to eat every day. The transportation of Mena students by bus increased as consolidation proceeded in the county. Each time one of the outlying schools closed and sent its students to Mena, a new bus had to be added to the school’s growing fleet. By now each classroom had its own library in the room. In 1940 the Mena High School and its contents were destroyed by fire. Shortly thereafter a new high school was constructed on the corner of Mena Street and Church Avenue. In the spring of 1940, plans were made for a lighted athletic field. In the fall Mena defeated Hartford 27 to 12 in the first game to be played on the newly lighted field. The new high school was used for the first time in April 1943. On May 20, 1943, thirty-one seniors graduated.The Boyd Stadium was constructed on the athletic field in 1946. In 1947 a $40,000 bond issue for a new Southside School to be built in Stilwell Park was secured. This new building was scheduled for completion in the fall of 1948. The years 1950-1951 were busy building years for the district. A new home economics cottage was built, a band building was erected, remodeling took place for grades 6-8, and buildings acquired from the Fair Association were remodeled for vocational agriculture classes and shops. Check back for part 5 next Wednesday!
Preparations for 2022/2023 are well underway & Mena librarians met today to discuss and share practices related to the library. Pictured are Holli Plunkett-MHS, Tiffany Williams-LDE, Staci Brooks-MMS & Paula Cox-HHE.
Final day of Coding Camp at Louise Durham Elementary. The kids had a Blast!
The summer of learning continues for teachers at Louise Durham Elementary. Several attended a conference conference at DeQueen called “Personal Climate & Culture” featuring teacher/comedian Gerry Brooks. https://www.youtube.com/c/GerryBrooks
The History of Mena Public Schools Part 3: In September 1907, Louise Durham became principal of Southside School. The school population had continued to increase and Mrs. Mershon’s primary enrollment of 113 was exceeded by Miss Durham’s room enrollment of 125. Some years later, when Mrs. Mershon and Miss Durham were reflecting back on their years of heavy enrollment they asked, “How did we ever manage it?” One replied in the familiar saying of a Polk County pioneer, “If en we hatter… we hatter.” Fortunately the pupils seemed most eager to learn and there were very few distractions to interfere with the school life. The home, the school, and the church were the three institutions that most influenced a child’s life. Besides a place of learning, the school was also a place for satisfying their cravings for social life and recreation. The Southside School had a baseball team of which it was justly proud. The team sometimes played inter-school games with the fifth and sixth grades of Central School, the Lutheran School, and St. Joseph’s Academy. Usually the Southside team was the winning team. County school fairs were popular from 1907 until 1920. By 1908 there were 1200 school children in the three wards and it became necessary to plan for a separate building for high school students. In 1908 Mena graduated four students, all female. In 1909 the first unit of the high school building had been erected. It was built on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Eleventh Street at a cost of $12,000. The superintendent was W. T. Adams. It was during this school year that the school paper, “The High School Yell” made its first appearance. Dorothy Shaver was editor-in-chief. The “Yell” was published for a number of years and often contained articles and poems of real merit and special interest to the student body. The class of 1909 was also all young ladies. The ten graduating members of the class received their diplomas at the Opera House. An admission of .25 cents was charged to attend the graduation exercises in order to help pay for class expenses. The first football game was played in 1912. In the game the Bearcats played DeQueen. DeQueen won by a score of 20-6. There were only thirteen boys on the Mena squad. Additionally, only two boys had ever even seen a game. One eyewitness said, “The small squad made up for lack of knowledge by rough play.” The high school did not have electric lights until the class of 1914 had lights installed as their graduation gift back to the school. Check out Part 4 next Wednesday.
It was a fun jam-packed afternoon at the Economics from Hero to Hero day camp at Louise Durham Elementary! We acted out our own community, became specialists in an assembly line, played lots of games, and had a very special guest, Mayor Seth Smith!!!
Keep the Mena Public Schools at your fingertips. Download the MPS APP.
Day 1 of Creative Camp and our HEROES got to design and make their own keychains!
The Whitt & Watkins Basketball Academy began on Thursday at the Union Bank Center. The morning session is for 1st-8th grades & the afternoon session is for 9th-12th grades. It continues on Friday & Saturday. GO BEARCATS !!!