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Students from Little Rock Southwest High School get together to talk about issues



Little Rock, Arkansas – Students at Little Rock Southwest High School are alerting the administration of their institution.

The high school has a failing grade and a significant staff turnover rate, making it one of the Little Rock School District’s priority schools.

Students are now advocating for change and taking the initiative.

As a member of the Renaissance Team, Tymia Watson, a student at Little Rock Southwest High School, collaborates with the district administration to help enhance the school.

“We are a good group of kids,” Watson said. “It’s just the inconsistency of the environment.”

Watson emailed the school board, asking for their assistance by attending a meeting, because pupils felt their concerns were not being addressed.

LRSD board members and the recently appointed head of Little Rock Southwest High School were questioned by several parents and students during the Tuesday night meeting.

“I just want to praise them for doing such a courageous thing and organizing it,” LRSD board member Vicki Hatter said. “Having it so structured.”

The school’s deteriorating academic standing and staff turnover are among the issues that the pupils are worried about.

“I’m a junior [and] I’ve had a different principal every year,” Little Rock Southwest student Liliana Worthen said.

George Maxey was appointed as the new principal of LRSD in January.

Maxey is from Florida and has over 20 years of experience as a teacher, according to the school district.

“We are going to adopt one thing at Southwest High School: Protect This House,” Maxey said. “We are here to protect our school. This is our school, this is our house, this is where we spend the majority of our time and we deserve to have this house.”

Triston Hardrick, a student at Little Rock Southwest, supports Maxey’s idea but is dubious in light of the school’s prior past.

“What he’s saying is very promising, but we’ve had so many principals and different leaders come in,” Hardrick said. “They’ve all said the same thing. We just haven’t seen any action.”

These pupils believe the district will take them seriously even after they graduate because they have aspirations they want to see fulfilled. Among them, according to Watson, are test scores, graduation rates, safety, and leadership stability in the institution.

Hatter also intends to create a subcommittee whose purpose is to examine the district’s priority schools. Her goal is to hold the LRSD administration and the academic standing of these schools more accountable.

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