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SMACKOVER — The Smackover-Norphlet School Board heard reports about the success of the district’s third annual Family STEM Night event and a grant awarded by Lanxess.

District curriculum director Jennifer Lee said about 650-700 attended the event, where local companies facilitate explorations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Among its highlights was a laser light show presented by Camden-housed security technology company Lockheed Martin.

Lee said, “Our estimate for last year is about 500. The first year we did it, we had less than 100. So in three year’s time, we’ve gone from less than 100 to definitely 650 to 700 … Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, we will have the fourth annual Family STEM Night. We would’ve done it the week before, but that’s election night.”

Aside from students having fun with fellow classmates, the event serves a recruitment tool for area industry and post-secondary institutions, she said.

“We had people to come up that evening with business cards and said ‘I want to be a part of this next year.’ So we’re really grateful to be bringing in a lot of these industries,” she said. “We are so thankful for the industries who are really trying to partner with us so that our kids get to see all of the jobs that are available out there, good jobs that are available here in south Arkansas … We hope events like this will give our kids and chance to network.”

Lee also announced that Lanxess awarded the district over $12,000 to fund STEM efforts at the elementary schools. According to a previous News-Times report, the funds will be used to purchase consumable materials that over 500 students will use in the classroom.

Board members approved the resignation of Freddie Miller and resolutions to hold annual elections in May, apply for waiver allowing an earlier first day of school, renew model policy service by the Arkansas School Boards Association and a policy that reflects the district’s personnel policy committee’s current practices. The board denied legal transfer requests for seven students to leave the district.

The Smackover-Norphlet School Board’s next meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18 in the central office boardroom.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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