November 2011
Partners in Education Create Climate of Involvement 

As we near the midpoint of the school year and with the holiday season upon us, I'd like to take this time to just say thank you.  Thank you to all the individuals and business groups throughout the Fort Smith region that find it in their hearts to give a little extra, spend a little more time each day with the partnerships you've created through the years! 


As you, the businesses, take the time to share your time, talent and expertise, we can hope that these children are better prepared to enter a working world that is forever changing, forever growing, forever flourishing. Please know that your time with these partnerships does mean something. The bond you create means that young minds are forever changed by your interest in their daily school routine. What you are doing continues to create that climate of involvement and interaction that may stay with them as they become engaged young men and women of this community, as they become our leaders of tomorrow.



*Sherry Sims, Rheem Manufacturing, is the chairperson of the Partners in Education Advisory Board and for 12 years has served as the lead representative at the schools with which Rheem partners. She is an enthusiastic advocate for children and longtime volunteer in a variety of organizations which serve and nurture young people in the Fort Smith area. 

Partner Spotlight - Walrod's Hardware

Jerry Walrod understands how small things can make a big difference. Located at 2113 Midland Avenue, Walrod's Hardware has been a Partner in Education with Trusty Elementary since 1993.  For nearly 20 years, the store has supported Trusty by providing necessary supplies that help ensure students and teacher success. 


Throughout the year, Mr. Walrod donates nails, screws and even paint rollers to help teachers and custodians with school projects. He often sends packing tape for the staff to use when boxing up boxes for the shredder or storage. When the school hosts special activities, Mr. Walrod often contributes chips or other goodies. (Walrod's also generously donates supplies to use as door prizes for the Partners in Education Back to School event. The hardware and camping goods are always crowd favorites.) 


Principal Sarah Lavey recalls, in her first year as Trusty Principal, her first encounter with the school's longtime partner. "I went to see Mr. Walrod to introduce myself to him.  He asked me if I needed anything and I told him I could not find a flashlight and might have use of one one day," said Lavey. "He made me a tool box which contained a flashlight, pliers, nails, screws, hammer, screwdrivers, and duct tape. I still have the box today and my custodian uses it on a weekly basis." Walrod's keeps the Trusty supply closet replenished. 


Rick Foti, former Trusty Principal and current Executive Director of the Community Services Clearinghouse, also recalls Walrod's Hardware as an incredible supporter of the school.  "In my 14 years at Trusty, Mr. Walrod was a great and quiet Partner in Education with us," said Foti. "Many times, Jerry just dropped by to bring us something we could use from his store or that he had found in a yard sale. Other times we would need some small item from his store, and he never let us pay for anything. When we had an event where prizes were needed for parents, he always had clever donations, or his famous Four-in-One Screwdrivers." Foti added, "Our partnership with Walrod's was not built on large monetary or product donations, but rather on a shared love for our children and neighborhood, and a willingness to do whatever Jerry Walrod could do." 


Walrod's Hardware is an excellent example of how small, local businesses can have a tremendous impact in schools and communities. Mr. Walrod's commitment to Trusty Elementary is truly admirable and appreciated by all!

Logos and Web Addresses Needed 

In an effort to represent you well on the Fort Smith Public Schools District website, please e-mail your logo and website addresses (if applicable) to our office. As these are received, we will update them on the school and District pages. Send all logos in a .jpg, .pdf, .png., or.psd format. Please e-mail all updates to Brittany Ransom at

PIE Launches New Logo 


PIE logo

Notice anything different? If you said logo, well you are both observant and correct. After more than 20 years, Partners in Education has adopted a new logo to reflect its continued commitment to supporting our schools through community-based partnerships.


Designed by 2011 Northside graduate, Ngoc Ngyuen, the logo emphasizes the role that partners play in helping students reach their potential. Ngyuen was recognized as the 2011 WATC Graphic Design Student of the Year.


Welcome New Partners! 
with Orr Elementary

Charley's Subs
with Fairview Elementary


with Sutton Elementary
Morgan Nick Foundation
with Fort Smith Public Schools


with Orr Elementary

with Spradling Elementary

January is PIE Appreciation Month! 

January is 
Partner in Education Appreciation Month! 
Schools are invited to celebrate the great work of their Partners in Education with fun activities throughout the month. PIE Month is a great way to thank and connect with the businesses and organizations which do so much for them throughout the school year. 

Invite representatives to eat lunch with students and teachers. Send student thank you cards and letters to partners. Tailor recognition activities to best suit your individual partners.
Connecting the Classroom to the Community


Multiple Roles, Multiple Ways

Jerry Walrod is, in common parlance, "da bomb!" From the moment I began my peripheral work with Partners in Education many years ago, I noted his creativity and generosity toward Trusty and the District. (and) Secretly, I have always wanted to win one of those door prizes he donates to the PIE Conference festivities. This year he brought a terrific set of "manual hedge trimmers" aka "loppers" with the dozens of things that I helped him unload at Ramsey prior to the conference. He is among the hundreds of individuals who make incredible contributions to the Partners in Education program and the school volunteer program in general. 

You know that at this time in the District's history, 70%+ of FSPS students face the grim realities of poverty. So thankfully and in addition to the fun stuff, Walrod and others like him provide resources that would not otherwise be available to students. These gifts arrive in the form of interest and attention to detail as well as useful items. Nolan, Cadell & Reynolds, one of PIE's newest partners with Spradling Elementary School, has delivered student wellness items including soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes for children, and is also contributing flashlights for students who have no electricity at home. They know that all students need a little light to shine on their homework.

I join Sherry Sims in offering my gratitude to you as Partners in Education, PTA members, Fort Smith Public Schools Foundation directors and donors, Chamber of Commerce volunteers, staff and the variety of school volunteers throughout the District. Many of you accept multiple roles representing diverse groups of volunteers who are interested in making public education in Fort Smith the best that it can be. Your involvement provides needed resources, but your involvement also presents the opportunity for relationships to develop and to grow throughout the community. Essentially, your involvement reflects a critical component of our democracy as you help to build the capacity of each of the 14,000+ students who attend Fort Smith Public Schools.


Thank you for all that you do!   -Zena


*Zena Featherston Marshall is the Fort Smith Public School District Director of Communication and Community Partnerships. She has worked with District students, teachers, administrators, School Board members and school volunteers for more than 18 years.



2012 Spring & Summer Activities:

January 2012

Partner Appreciation Month

April 2, 2012    

Chamber of Commerce Honors Banquet

     * recognizes graduating seniors who are members of the National Honor Society

April 16-20, 2012 

National Volunteer Week

April 25,2012 

Arkansas Scholars Luncheon

     * recognizes seniors who have met the Arkansas Scholar criteria in Grades 9-12

April 27-28, 2012 

Arkansas PTA Convention, Holiday Inn City Center, Fort Smith, AR

May 1, 2012 

FSPS Foundation Grant Applications due.

     * Instructional Mini Grant

     * Graduate Study Award  

May 7-11, 2012 

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 17, 2012 

FSPS Foundation Grants & Awards Luncheon

May 18, 2012

PARTNERS in EDUCATION Food Drive for Clearinghouse Back Pack Program

Ride 4 Their Lives Cycling Event organized by the Morgan Nick Foundation

     * Begins at Carnall Elementary School           

     * Finishes at Orr Elementary School  

May 24, 2012 

Northside High School Graduation, 7:30 p.m.

May 25, 2012 

Southside High School Graduation, 7:30 p.m.

May 31, 2012


(June 5, winter-weather alternate date)

August 2, 2012

Events and Opportunities
  • The First Tee of Fort Smith is sponsoring a Poinsettia fundraiser this holiday season. Read this flyer for more information. 
  • The Southside High School Office Education Cooperative (OEC) program currently has two students who are seeking employment. If you are looking for a hard-working, dependable part-time employee, and would like to partner with the Southside OEC, please contact Heather Baumgartner at or 648-8201 x 236.
Help PIE spread the word!   

Partners in Education and FSPS want you to help us get the word out about the great work going on in our schools and community. Just click the "Forward email" link, located in the bottom left corner, to share this newsletter with others! 
Mead quote
Fort Smith Public Schools / 3205 Jenny Lind / Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901 / 479-785-2501