Students in Crawford County return to the classroom next week for the 2018-19 school year.

Classes resume Monday for Cedarville, Mountainburg and Mulberry/Pleasant View students and Wednesday for Alma and Van Buren students.

Courtney Cochran, the 2017 Arkansas teacher of the year, will be the new principal at Cedarville High School.

Cedarville also will offer an after-school program funded by a $150,000 Twenty-First Century grant secured by elementary school principal Rebecca Reed and Cindy Faldon, director of the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren.

The after-school program is available to students in grades kindergarten through eighth and provides educational and fun activities for students at no charge, according to Superintendent Dr. Kerry Schneider.

Dr. Debbie Atwell will be the new superintendent at Mountainburg when classes resume Monday.

“This is a sweet homecoming for me, coming back to my own high school, as well as my first teaching and principal roles,” Atwell said. “Much gratitude goes to Dennis Copeland for his service to our community for the past 10 years.”

Summer projects included the demolition of the former kindergarten building and finishing touches on the Harell P.E. and Field House facility and safe room, including parking lot, sidewalks, drainage and fencing improvements.

“We are implementing a new phonics program in grades K-2, new science curriculum and reviewing reading intervention software,” Atwell said. “We are collaborating to craft our district charter, our course to action to reach our destination.”

Mulberry/Pleasant View will extend its robotics team to Marvin Primary School this year after the StingerBots team was named the state rookie of the year winner in FIRST robotics competition last year, according to Dr. Lonnie Myers, superintendent. The team competed at nationals in Houston.

“The students in our district have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement and Pre-AP classes, as well as concurrent credit through University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, Western Arkansas Technical College and Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus,” Myers said.

He noted every senior at Mulberry High School is eligible to receive a scholarship to post-secondary education opportunities through the MPV Education Foundation.

The average scholarship or grant amount for each graduating senior in 2017 was $23,000, Myers said.

“Every senior in the 2017 graduating class who applied for the education foundation scholarship was granted monies for post-secondary education,” he said.

Alma Superintendent David Woolly said the safety and security of students and staff will be an important focus with the 2018-19 school term.

“Beginning this fall, there will be an Alma police officer assigned full-time as a school resource officer to each campus,” Woolly said. “Additionally, the video surveillance system has been significantly enhanced and several doorways have been modified for greater security.”

He said district staff also has been involved in a training program to ensure safety and security in the classroom.

Woolly also noted traffic around Alma High School will be congested during the first few weeks of school due to construction on Main Street.

“Drivers will need to allow extra time and take alternate routes,” he said.

Van Buren School District also will have SROs at every campus, thanks to a strong partnership with the Van Buren Police Department and Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, according to Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat.

On the elementary school level, VBSD will continue to increase learning opportunities in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Jeffcoat said.

“In addition to the many great courses already offered at the secondary level, the district will introduce a few new courses and opportunities for our students this year,” he said. “We are excited about the upcoming year and are continuing to look for ways to add meaningful and relevant educational opportunities for our students.”

River Valley Virtual Academy will begin 2018-19 with about 60 students, Jeffcoat said.

“Since the program is designed to be a flexible learning model with portability, many students enrolled are from all across Arkansas,” he said.

VBSD’s child nutrition department also is rolling out its new food truck, Big Dog’s Grill, to increase meal participation, particularly in grades 6-12.

“Additional expected revenue generated through the use of the food truck will allow our district to provide breakfast each day for all students at no cost,” Jeffcoat said.