Superintendent Tony Thurman said it is coming time for Cabot School District to reciprocate an agreement that sent a group of students to Japan last year.

Assistant high school principal Michael Byrd said that last year a group of Cabot students went to Japan for a two-week visit.

The group was sponsored under Kizuna (Friendship) Project of the Laurasian Institution, The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan International Cooperation Center and the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission.

Byrd said that under the agreement for the trip, Cabot School District agreed to host a similar group of students from Japan.

The group will be here March 9–12, Byrd said. Nineteen students and a teacher will be spending three nights at Cabot; 17 families have agreed to be hosts, he said.

Visits to the Clinton Library, state Capitol, Petit Jean Park and other area sites have been planned, Byrd said. There will a day on campus with a Cabot High School student, the visiting student will also be making presentations to students and community members, he said.

There will be a catfish fry for local flavor, Byrd said. Overall, it is going to be a "whirlwind visit," he said.

In July 2012, Cabot High School Japanese language teacher Yaeko McNeil and fellow teacher Helen Goodman chaperoned Cabot students Grant Reed, Mark Kingan Jr., Wylie Holitik, Timothy DeNomie, Will Gambill, Waylon Moses, Caeron Asselin, Drew Yates, Sandra Cookro, Roderick, Kristin Scott, Anna Applegate, Kelsey Miller, Nikki West, Melissa Mosqueda, Amber Roderick, Melenda Ros, Jessica Long, Codee Park, Margaret Abegglen, Morgan Gurke, Jessica Lawley and Jordan Lakin.

Deputy superintendent Harold Jeffcoat said the security meetings and drills held in January were a success. "We got a lot of positive feedback from local law enforcement and emergency responders," he said.

Curriculum director Tammy Tucker reviewed the work in the district on the changeover to Common Core.

On Friday, the state Department of Education presented two interactive videos on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) Model Content Frameworks; PARCC is the assessment consortium of which Arkansas is a member, Tucker said. The assessments are to replace the currently used benchmarks and course assessments in 2015.

The model content framework is what schools use to apply the Common Core standards, for guidance on developing curriculum, Tucker said.

Most of the concepts in the presentation are already being applied at Cabot schools, she said. "It is affirming to know that our curriculum team has been on the right track all along," Tucker remarked.

Deputy superintendent Harold Jeffcoat said board members had been escorted on a tour of the new baseball/softball complex early on Tuesday. The complex was set for ‘debut’ on Monday, Feb. 18, but was postponed for weather, he said.

There remain some items to finish, but the complex is essentially complete, Jeffcoat said.

On other district construction, Jeffcoat said the Career and Technical building of the Freshman Academy is nearing completion with only some items of lighting and ventilation remaining to be done.

"There is a lot of progress being made," Jeffcoat said of the overall project.

The main Academy building will have the same "footprint" as the high school, and is divided into three areas, Jeffcoat said. Area 3 is well under way and the concrete has been poured for the library/media center in the central area, he said.

The electric transformer, which will power the main and career/tech building, has been placed, Jeffcoat said.