A little more than two weeks after the brand new Conway High School opened its doors to about 2,000 students, some high schoolers remain without books for some classes, school officials said Thursday.
The school district has ordered about $18,000 in textbooks to meet demand after the number of students attending the high school increased, superintendent Greg Murry said. At the same time, not all students are getting regular textbooks for at least one course because the high school is “transitioning” to meet Common Core State Standards requirements, principal Joel Linn said.
The new textbooks, those meant to meet the increase in enrollment, should arrive in about a week, Murry said.
The high school — which was reorganized — is for grades 10 through 12 for the first time this school year. Linn estimated his school has up to 100 more students than the year before.
“I do know that it is typical in a growing district to purchase books for new students,” Murry said in email.
No parents have complained to Murry or Linn about the lack of books.
In an interview Thursday, Murry said some classes at the high school had “more students than anticipated.” That means more textbooks are needed to fill in the gap, school officials said.
But the increase in enrollment is only part of the reason not every student has a book. The school is choosing not to buy textbooks, in one case, as it moves to meet new state standards for World History, Linn said.
Previously, the school taught American History in the 10th grade and World History in the 11th grade, but American History will become an 11th-grade course, Linn said. Essentially, for this year, that means World History will be taught to students in two grades, he said.
“We don’t want [to buy] a large number of books that would only be used one year,” Linn said.
Next year, the school will have enough textbooks for the history class, Linn said.
Murry said buying textbooks is “significant investment” to the district, which budgeted about $308,000 for textbooks district-wide this year.
Students will have access of textbooks in the classroom and online, Linn said.
According to a school district survey last year, about 88 percent of high school students have access to a device like a smart phone, tablet or laptop to access the web, Murry said in email. Students without online access will have a textbook, Linn said.
“We’re making allowances so students have what they need,” Murry said.