Area teachers face a busy summer of professional development as they prepare for the 2019-20 school year. Required by the Department of Education to obtain a minimum of 36 hours per summer of training, most teachers go far and beyond the requirements.

Most of the local professional development is supplied by the ADE through the Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative located at County Line Schools. Staff trained in literacy, early childhood, math, science, and technology provide day-long sessions geared to keep teachers caught up on the newest teaching techniques as well as in content fields. Multiple workshops are offered through the coop on-site as well as throughout the region.

Janet Huckabee Nature Center and the Arkansas Game and Fish recently joined with Dr. Curtis Varnell of the coop to provide a one-day visit canoeing the Mulberry River. Forty-two area teachers were able to visit archeological sites, work with a state biologist, and go through caves as they journeyed down the river.

On June 11, ninety-four social studies, arts, and science teachers gathered at King Opera House in Van Buren and enjoyed a presentation in history by Dr. DeBlack of ATU, Mr. Bill Higgins and Dr. Goldsmith of U/A Fort Smith. Mr. Wayne Van Buren, a former state geologist, presented an exceptional program on coal mining in Arkansas. Interspersed in the more formal meetings, Sweet Strings, a dulcimer group from Logan County performed. Mr. Patrick Millard of Waldron brought the house town with his Ray Stevens renditions, folk tales, and stories of growing up in Arkansas.

On June 27, many area teachers attended an outdoor workshop at Magazine Mountain. State Park staff will present a program on the Arkansas bear population followed by a history tour conducted by Dr. Varnell and outdoor classroom sessions presented by Dr. Bret Stone of U/A Fort Smith and Georgia Littleton of Booneville.

Teachers from Magazine, Booneville, Scranton, Paris, Mansfield, Ozark, and County Line attended both sessions and will be a part of the many additional workshops held this summer.