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Arkansas schools open doors as LEARNS changes take place


Lewis to continue as Arkansas parks secretary

Shea Lewis will continue as secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Friday that Lewis will continue in the role after being named interim secretary in June. Lewis started with the department as a seasonal park interpreter in 1995. Lewis replaced Mike Mills who left the job earlier this year after just a few months.

AR Blue Cross and Blue Shield funding "calming rooms"

The Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is offering grants for Arkansas schools to help provide calming rooms for students. 

The Take Good Care Initiative is to help address mental health issues among adolescents and teenagers in Arkansas. Maxine Greenwood is the director of public and government affairs for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

She said one school from each of the state's 75 counties will receive a $2,500 grant to help fund the calming rooms for students. 

Arkansas schools start academic year amid LEARNS Act changes

Most schools across the state are starting the 2023-24 academic year today. The new school year includes changes because of the Arkansas LEARNS legislation passed by legislators earlier this year. Among those changes include a $14,000 increase in minimum teacher pay, the first-year implementation of vouchers available for students at more than 90 schools and a new test at the ending the year to measure academic progress, ATLAS.

Northeastern Oklahoma State University begins semester with new president

Most area colleges and universities are gearing up for the start of the fall semester next week.  Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah begins the semester today.  It’s the first year with a new president on campus. Rodney Hanley is the 20th presidentin school history and takes the job after Steve Turner announced his retirement earlier this year.

Razorback soccer returns Thursday

The Razorback soccer team will open the 2023 season Thursday night after wrapping up the exhibition season with a 6-0 winover Southern Illinois University Evansville Saturday night. The season opener against Arkansas State is scheduled for a 6 p.m. first kick Thursday night.

Razorback women's basketball ships home

The Arkansas Razorback women’s basketball team is arriving back in Fayetteville today after winning all three exhibition games on a European tour.  The team will now take a break before beginning practice for the official season in the fall.

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Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
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