Sunday, September 24, 2017 • 11:30 PM

Our School: Today and Yesterday


Many changes have occurred in education, and Immaculate Conception School strives to be on the cutting edge. Our goal is to combine the tried and the true with new and innovative techniques. Immaculate Conception School is known throughout Forth Smith and the surrounding communities as a premiere educational institution. Immaculate Conception School embodies the philosophy that parents are the primary educators of their children.  Without the volunteerism and involvement of our parents, Immaculate Conception School could not achieve the excellence experienced by all children. 

Immaculate Conception School serves children in grades preK (18 months-old) hrough sixth grade. Immaculate Conception School, founded in 1930, is a parochial school and a ministry of Immaculate Conception Church.  Our school is located in downtown Fort Smith, AR.  We are proud of our history and tradition!

The elementary school is comprised of two classes at each grade level with an enrollment of 286 students.  A highly-qualified staff of accredited teachers present and facilitate an engaging curriculum for children. A second language (Spanish), fine arts and physical education are an important part of each student's education in addition to a strong core curriculum of Religion, language arts, math, science, and social studies. Our art and technology programs are top notch! Children are presented with a well-balanced curriculum; one that is both age appropriate and challenging.  

Each grade level has a paraprofessional that aids the teachers and students.  A master-degreed librarian and counselor are just two support staff available to assist students and parents.

The preschool program began in 2007 and consists of two three-year old classes and two four-year old classes with a maximum of 54 children. The building was purchased and completely renovated in the summer of 2007. The program has its own playground for outside activities. One only needs to walk through to see the quality program offered to families.

Immaculate Conception School desires to meet the academic needs of all children. Children with special needs, as determined by psychological and/or medical evaluations, will be accepted on a probationary basis to allow the school staff and parents sufficient time to determine whether Immaculate Conception School can make reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of the child before final acceptance.

A certified teacher with a Masters degree in Special Education-Mildly Handicapped staffs the Learning Lab. This program serves students, K-6, who qualify as learning disabled, and whose academic needs are best met in a pullout or inclusion program. The Learning Lab teacher also assists the classroom teachers in making modifications for learning disabled students in a regular classroom setting.

The computer lab has 28 workstations for use by students and teachers. Each homeroom has lab time scheduled during the week. Students receive instruction on the use of the computer and various software programs. Technology is integrated throughout the school curriculum.  Instruction and activities are under the direction of the technology coordinator and the classroom teacher.  CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) compliant web-filtering/blocking software protects Immaculate Conception students using the internet connection.

Each classroom contains 4-5 networked computers, a SMART board, and other technological tools.  Computers are used by teachers and students for Accelerated Reader, research, project productions, skill reinforcement, record keeping, etc. Computers are internet accessible.

The Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association (ANSAA) accredits Immaculate Conception School.  By meeting the standards of this association, Immaculate Conception School pledges itself to provide its students with the best possible learning environment. Immaculate Conception School's accreditation is valid from August 2006 through July 2013.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education named Immaculate Conception School a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School.  Immaculate Conception School is the first elementary school in Fort Smith, public or private, and the first Catholic school in Arkansas to receive this coveted award. Since 1982, nearly 7,500 schools have received this coveted award. The National Blue Ribbon School award is considered the highest honor an American school can achieve.To receive this award, sSchools must demonstrate a strong and sustained commitment to educational excellence for all students.


 School History

The country being in a "Great Depression" in 1929 did not stop Msgr. Patrick Horan from using all the resources he could muster to finance and build a new school. To assits him in this endeavor would be a building committee and Basham & Wheeler Architects. The location: the old Catholic hall on South 14th and B Streets. The cost of the new building: $160,000. 

Immaculate Conception School was dedicated on September 8th, 1930, by Bishop John Morris. The building housed grades 1 - 8 and was primarily staffed by the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy.    

 

St. Anne's High School closed in 1973.  At that time, Immaculate Conception Church decided to add a ninth grade to its program, ensuring parish families of a Catholic education until children entered the public school setting for the senior high grades of 10 - 12.

In 1986, the three Catholic parishes of Fort Smith: Christ the King, St. Boniface, and Immaculate Conception combined their resources to form Trinity Junior High for grades 7 - 9.  Immaculate Conception School served students in K - 6 until the 2007- 2008 school year when a preschool program was added to the program.  The preschool building is located at 300 Lexington and houses two 3- year old classes and two 4- year old classes. The preschool has its own playground for outside activities!