Opportunity Available for Teachers to Develop Digital Courses for iTunes U

April 23, 2014

Did you know that Arkansas is one of many not-for-profit educational institutions making instructional content available for free through iTunes U? 

Managed by the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas on iTunes U features lessons and complete courses from educators, students and the Department of Education. Plus, you can search the entire iTunes store to see how experts across the globe approach a topic.

One way ADE builds its library is by working with teachers to design multimedia lessons specifically for iTunes U.

Contract Information

Arkansas on iTunes U is once again seeking educators to transform instructional units into iTunes U courses, video collections and digital texts that target content standards and use media to engage learners.

ADE invites educators to complete the application and submit a work sample. Contracts will be awarded to selected applicants by June 20. All contracted materials will be due by August 15.

To learn more, go to http://arkansasitunesu.com.

McKinney-Vento Conference Set for April 28-30

April 23, 2014

The 2014 Southern Region Spring Conference for the McKinney-Vento program will be held April 28-30 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock.

The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school.

To learn more about the program, go to http://bit.ly/1mzEHjr. To find out more about the conference, call (501) ­683-­3439.

Coalition Against Texting While Driving Holds Open House

April 23, 2014

The Arkansas Coalition Against Texting While Driving held an open house today at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

The coalition’s goal is to spread awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.

At the event, Arkansas First Lady Ginger Beebe read a proclamation issued by Gov. Mike Beebe declaring April Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

According to an AT&T survey, 49 percent of commuters self-reported texting while driving, and 43 percent of teens self-reported as well.

Go to www.ardrivesafe.org to learn more.

Texting Coalition

Bruick-Jones Named Assistant Commissioner of Learning Services

April 18, 2014

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Deborah Bruick-Jones as the assistant commissioner of Learning Services.

Bruick-Jones will assume her new position July 1. She will replace Dr. Megan Witonski, who will leave July 1 to take a position in northwest Arkansas.

“Ms. Bruick-Jones has extensive experience not only as an educator, but as an administrator as well,” Kimbrell said. “Her background with curriculum and instruction will be a great addition to the ADE team.”

An educator for 20 years, Bruick-Jones is currently the assistant superintendent for the Bryant School District, a position she has held for seven years. She specializes in curriculum and instructional design and implementation. Bruick-Jones has a background in district strategic planning, budgeting and implementation of Response to Intervention programs, intervention models, data analysis and school improvement.

Bruick-Jones received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She later received a Master of Arts in Secondary Administration from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway and a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Prior to being appointed assistant superintendent, Bruick-Jones served as the principal at Bryant High School, director of secondary education at the Pulaski County Special School District, and principal at Robinson Middle School and Jacksonville Middle School.

She is a member of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, serves on the board of directors for the Arkansas Association of Curriculum and Instruction Administrators, and served on the Arkansas Guiding Coalition Common Core Committee.

AP Instructional Planning Report Webinar Set for Aug. 5

April 16, 2014

Join College Board and ADE for a free webinar to learn more about how to use the AP Instructional Planning Report to guide instructional planning. The session will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Aug. 5.

Participants will understand the components of the AP Instructional Planning Report and how it can be used to address curriculum and instruction needs; analyze their own AP Instructional Planning Report data for areas of strength and weakness; and begin to develop a plan to address identified areas and improve student achievement.

To register, go to http://bit.ly/1l4IMPb.

MDC Trainings to Begin in May

April 16, 2014

Mathematics Design Collaborative sessions that will focus on coaching components will be held around the state beginning in May.

The sessions are available for instructional facilitators and school leaders who support teachers in MDC model implementation.

MDC focuses on building a student’s understanding of math concepts by working through problems rather than memorizing formulas and completing workbook problems.

The sessions, which are sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Education, Educational Renewal Zone offices and local Educational Service Cooperatives, will be held through the six ERZ locations. One additional session will be held in central Arkansas in July.

Other Session Dates and Locations:

University of Arkansas at Monticello – May 20

Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia – May 21

Henderson State University in Arkadelphia – May 22

University of Arkansas at Fort Smith – June 3

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville – June 4

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro – June 6

For more information, contact the local ERZ office or the ADE ERZ office at (501) 683-5780.

Dr. Kimbrell Recently Spoke to Students at eStem High

April 16, 2014

ADE Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell spoke to the Noble Impact class at eStem High Public Charter School recently. The class works on community outreach and entrepreneurial programs.

eStem Visit

Charter Authorizing Panel Met April 16

April 16, 2014

The Charter Authorizing Panel approved Cabot School District’s request for an amendment to add an additional campus to the existing charter. The building is located on the Cabot High School campus.

The panel also reviewed the 2014 open-enrollment public charter school application.

Two Public Schools to Receive School Improvement Funds

April 14, 2014

LITTLE ROCK — Two priority schools will receive approximately $6 million in federal School Improvement Grant funds.

Wonder Jr. High School in the West Memphis School District will receive $3,721,470 over three years, and Forrest City Junior High School in the Forrest City School District will receive $2,400,000 over two years.

“The federal funds will allow these schools to implement new programs that will improve the overall education and learning environment for students,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “When students have more hands-on resources and assistance, the end result is improved academic performance.”

The grants, which are awarded to schools through a competitive application process, must be used to implement school improvement models required by the federal government. This includes improving the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extended learning time and other strategies.

Initiatives proposed by the two schools include before and after school instructional planning; additional support staff, such as social workers; interventions to help reduce out-of-school suspensions and dropouts; the hiring of firms that specialize in school improvement; partnering with higher education to highlight careers in science and mathematics; technology initiatives; and Saturday morning tutoring programs.

To date, Arkansas has received approximately $57 million since the SIG program was redesigned in 2009.

State Board Met April 10, 2014

April 10, 2014

The State Board of Education met at 10 a.m. April 10, 2014.

The board action included the following:

  • voted to remove the Western Yell County School District from fiscal distress.
  • denied the North Little Rock School District’s inclement weather waiver request.
  • approved the Augusta School District’s petition to close the Cotton Plant Elementary campus.
  • voted to consolidate the Stephens School District with the Camden Fairview, Nevada and Magnolia School Districts. The consolidation is effective July 1, 2014.
  • voted to remove the school board at the Lee County School District.
  • approved Ouachita School District’s request to reduce the number of board of directors from seven to five.
  • approved the endorsement of ADE to progress with the planning and development of a framework for science standards around Next Generation Science Standards.
  • voted to not review the Charter Authorizing Panel’s approval of amendment requests for Arkansas Virtual Academy, Benton County School of the Arts, Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy, Premier High School of Little Rock and Quest Middle School of Pine Bluff.
  • voted to review the Charter Authorizing Panel’s decision regarding Quest Middle School of West Little Rock’s amendment request for a new location.
  • approved the New Praxis Physical Education and Health Test and New Praxis Music Licensure Test.
  • approved emergency adoption, with revisions, of the department’s Rules Governing the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment and Accountability Program and the Academic Distress Program.