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Educational Excellence

Greater Fort Smith Region public schools provide comprehensive services for students of all ages, races and social circumstances. Developmentally appropriate and challenging programs are the standard in district classrooms – kindergarten through 12th grade.

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The Gifted and Talented Programs as well as Honors and Advanced Placement courses are available in the district high schools. Art, music and physical education programs are integrated into elementary and secondary classrooms. Library and media services provide access to traditional libraries and the Internet. Counselors in schools offer all students the advantage of conflict resolution and esteem-building programs.

A variety of activities and sports are available to secondary students, while PTAs and community programs, such as Partners in Education, support the efforts of teachers.

The students in the Greater Fort Smith Region consistently score above their state and national counterparts on norm-referenced tests. Student scores on the American College Test and Stanford Achievement Test are examples of sound achievement. Northside and Southside high schools have both earned recognition as National Blue Ribbon Schools, while Greenwood Public Schools are touted as some of the finest in the state.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. They are the people, place and progress that bind the Greater Fort Smith Region together and bridge the gap to the future. Education is key in shaping our children and our community, which is why the Chamber has been involved with educational efforts in the region since its creation in the 1800s.

The Chamber’s Education Council has been developing programs for years to promote education in the Greater Fort Smith Region through students and teachers alike. By encouraging and honoring students and supporting and thanking teachers, the Chamber and its volunteers are helping to make a difference in the quality of education our region has to offer.

For almost 50 years, the Chamber’s annual Honor Students Banquet has recognized the educational achievements of graduating seniors in the National Honor Society from Fort Smith area high schools. The Chamber also sponsors the Arkansas Scholars program with the Fort Smith Public Schools that teaches students the skills and responsibilities they need to succeed in the real world by preparing students for a higher education and a successful career and future.

Each spring, the Chamber holds the Arkansas Scholars Luncheon for these students in the Glass Pavilion on the riverfront. The Chamber, the Education Council and other volunteers treat them to an old-fashioned hamburger cookout with all the trimmings. The Chamber presents each student with a gold medallion to wear at graduation that signifies their educational achievements over the past four years.

The Chamber takes pride in honoring these students who will become the Greater Fort Smith Region’s leaders and labor force for the future, but we also recognize that behind every great student is a great teacher. Fort Smith and the surrounding communities are lucky to have such dedicated individuals who devote their time and energy to educating our youth. Each year, the Chamber holds a Teacher Appreciation Breakfast to thank all area teachers from both public and private schools. The teachers are invited to one of two breakfasts held before the school year begins and are treated to coffee, juice and breakfast served with a huge thank you. The event, held in August, is one of our small ways of giving back to those who give so much to this community.

The Chamber is also heavily involved with Partners in Education and helps throw the annual luncheon that honors the business and industry partners that help the area’s schools with everything from financial stability to a volunteer work force. Education must be a community-led effort, and by continuing to encourage top-notch achievements by area youth, educators and professionals, the Chamber is helping to ensure the economic vitality of the Greater Fort Smith Region.

The Chamber believes in a strong partnership between business and education, and we’re dedicated to continuing our educational efforts and to providing the Greater Fort Smith Region with future leaders by bringing the two entities together. We’re more than just business – we’re community too.

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