February 2012
Partners in Education is a Win-Win for All

January was designated as the first ever PIE Appreciation Month and there was no shortage of exciting activities and events that took place throughout the District! As you can see in the article below, the appreciation expressed by the schools was both creative and widespread. Each school came up with many unique ways to show their gratitude with everything from receptions, cards and gifts, to newsletters and public presentations.  If you haven't already figured it out, Partners in Education is a win-win for all involved! 


And mark your calendars now - the 3rd Annual PIE Food Drive will be here before you know it. Keith Cummings (Gerber), benefit coordinator for the PIE Advisory Board, is gearing up for another fabulous year. Events like this only add to the already great work our Community Services Clearinghouse does for the children of this community.



  April 30-May 12


* Drop-off @ Arvest Tower Parking lot

  May 11 from 3 to 6 pm & May 12 from 9 to 11 am 


Continue doing what you're doing Partners - it DOES make a difference.

Thank you.



*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. 

PIE Food Drive

The third annual Partners in Education Food Drive benefitting the Community Services Clearinghouse's Meals for Kids Program is scheduled for April 30-May 12. (Note,this is a change from the date originally listed in the November PIE newsletter). Collected backpack items may be delivered to the Arvest Bank tower on Rogers Avenue on May 11 from 3 to 6 pm and on May 12 from 9 to 11 am.  
In 2011, the drive collected more than 6,000 pounds of food and raised more than $1,500 for the program. All items are used in conjunction with the summer backpack program.


Students from Howard Elementary, with their partner Keith Cummings (not pictured), Gerber, volunteered on a Saturday morning to help with the PIE Food Drive in 2011. 
Items to be collected include: 
  • Individual fruit cups
  • Individual serving cereals
  • Individual juice boxes
  • Slim Jims (meat sticks)
  • Pudding cups
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Raisins
  • Breakfast bars
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Vienna Sausages
  • Animal crackers
  • Beenie-Weenies (easy open cans)
  • Rice Krispy Treats
  • Jello Cups 


Volunteer Snapshot-Dick Taylor 

Dick Taylor volunteers by reading to classes at Cavanaugh Elementary. He says he "practices" by reading to his grandchildren, including his granddaughter Skyler.

Local volunteer and long-time Kiwanian Dick Taylor is committed to making a difference in the lives of area children. Through his service with the Fort Smith Commissary Kiwanis Club, Taylor has developed a deep-rooted partnership with Cavanaugh Elementary and extended his service to benefit other schools throughout the District as well.


Taylor has taken his 48 years experience in the printing industry and put it to good use helping students at Beard and Cavanaugh Elementary Schools establish a monthly newsletter. With his help, both schools have organized newspaper staffs and now publish a monthly newsletter that is sent home for students and parents to read. Taylor works closely with the students and advisors to assemble the newsletter and prepare it for print. The club has also worked with Pike Elementary on a school newsletter and is beginning to work more closely with Bonneville Elementary, too.


"The Cougargram that Dick edits and publishes in association with the Fort Smith Commissary Kiwanis Club has been instrumental in developing the writing skills of students and giving them first-hand exposure to print journalism," said Hank Needham, Cavanaugh Elementary School Principal.  "They are so excited to see their by-line in The Cougargram and see their stories published."


Working with the students on the newsletter helps transcend the age barrier says Taylor. "I'm like a kid again," he noted. "The fun I have working with the students registers with them." Along with the newsletters, Taylor also makes the time to read to students in the Kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms at Cavanaugh.


Taylor has been a member of Kiwanis International for 52 years. He originally joined in California in 1960 as part of the Hillcrest Kiwanis Club of San Diego. "In all my years in Kiwanis, I have enjoyed the fact that they center their work in the community on kids," said Taylor. He has proudly continued his work with students through his involvement at the elementary schools and with Southside High School's Key Club.

The Taylor Trio: Dick, his wife Polly and their dog, Toby.


Needham is very appreciative of the support Taylor provides to the students and staff at his school. "Dick Taylor has been an incredible resource for Cavanaugh School," said Needham.  "He has a tremendous servant's heart and finds great joy in being around our students and staff. "


When asked about why he volunteers so much of his time, Taylor references his childhood as his true motivation. "I remember being a young child, kind of lonely, lost, poor, often mistreated at home. I made a pact with God when I was about nine that I would serve and rise above our poverty if He could just continue to help me." True to his word, Taylor has committed himself to serving others and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.


When he isn't volunteering, Taylor and his wife Polly enjoy traveling. The two have taken several cruises and they also attend the annual Navy Ship Reunions held throughout the country. They also enjoy spending time with their children and numerous grandchildren scattered abroad. 


Thank you, Dick Taylor, for all you do to support FSPS students and teachers!


Welcome Partners! 

Northside High School

Ramsey Junior High School
Fairview Elementary School
Northside High School
Schools Celebrate PIE Appreciation Month 
Representatives from Brown Hiller Clark, one of Chaffin's Partners in Education, admire the items included in their gift baskets at the PIE reception.
As a way to recognize the incredible support that Partners in Education provides to Fort Smith Public Schools, the PIE Advisory Board designated January as PIE Appreciation Month. Throughout the month, each school hosted special events and activities to honor their Partners.


Many schools invited their Partners to attend special presentations and receptions. Howard Elementary honored their volunteers and Partners at a Thank You Coffee in the media center. Ballman and several other schools, recognized Partners at special Thank You assemblies where they were presented with gifts and cards from students. Tilles students presented their Partners with candy baskets and handwritten notes. Sutton Elementary delivered cookies and student create art to each of their Partners. At Euper Lane, Partners were recognized during morning announcements and were featured in the Eagle Eye News. Each classroom at Cavanaugh "adopted" one of the school's 13 Partners and came up with unique ways to recognize each business and organization. 


Diane Isaacs, Principal at Barling Elementary understands the importance of the PIE program. She often turns to Partners when in need of items donated or in need of volunteers to help with a function. "The interest, encouragement, and support of our Partners in Education have been invaluable to our school and culture," said Isaacs. "Fort Smith Public Schools are indeed fortunate to have wonderful Partners who not only support education, but actively support our schools." Her school invited each of its Partners to appear on the morning show and discuss its involvement in the community. Barling also put together a Powerpoint presentation highlighting each Partner to play on the televisions in the main lobby.


On January 26, Chaffin Junior High hosted a special reception for their Partners in Education in the school library. Each Partner was presented with a basket of gifts including  personalized items from students. The school also purchased a book in each Partner's name to house in the Chaffin Media Center. The school also printed a special edition of the The Cougar Pawprint honoring the Chaffin PIE team.


In addition to personally thanking each Partner, many schools, including Fairview and Sunnymede, posted special thank you messages on their marquees for the community to see including. Several also said thank you on their school website and through personalized cards made by students. 



Pati Sharum from Nolan, Caddell  and Reynolds works with students on an assignment involving microscopes. 
New Partners in Action-Nolan, Caddell and Reynolds 


One of the most important gifts a Partner in Education can give to students is a little bit of its time. By volunteering to help read in a classroom, serve at an event or participate in a school activity, partners demonstrate to students that they are committed to helping students and their school succeed. 


On the first and third Thursday of each month, representatives from Nolan, Caddell and Reynolds visit their Partner in Education, Spradling Elementary School. The employees from NCR take an active role in helping students succeed academically. They work in fifth grade classrooms where they assist students with reading, math and science assignments.  


NCR also provides incentives for the students including bicycles for perfect attendance and goodies for special activities. The firm sponsored a pizza party for the class collecting the most items during the fall canned food drive. Teachers were also treated to pizza when they attended professional development workshops in early January following the winter break. 


In addition to helping in the classroom, NCR often donates supplies that students may keep at home. They have provided items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry detergent and even groceries for many students. During the holidays, NCR gave several families Thanksgiving baskets and sponsored Christmas for several more. 


"Nolan, Caddell and Reynolds has made a positive impact with Spradling's students and teachers. Their aim is to be involved and build relationships with students," said Principal Robyn Dawson. "Students know them personally and look forward to seeing them bimonthly in the classroom. They not only support us through resources but they share their hearts and minds, as well. We appreciate all they do for us!" 


Want to be more involved, but not sure where to start? Schools are always in need of volunteers, so contact your school's principal or PIE liaison for suggestions. You can also visit the FSPS Partners in Education webpage

2012 Spring and Summer Activities 


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


April 30-May 12, 2012 

PARTNERS in EDUCATION Food Drive for Clearinghouse Back Pack Program 
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

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

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! 
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 bransom@fortsmithschools.org

Mead quote
For more information about Partners in Education, contact Zena Featherston, Director of Communication and Community Partnerships, at 785-2501, ext. 1301 or by e-mail at zfeather@fortsmithschools.org

Fort Smith Public Schools / 3205 Jenny Lind / Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901 / 479-785-2501