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.

Student Video Contest: Arkansas’s Education for a New Generation

April 8, 2014

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is hosting a student video contest entitled Arkansas’s Education for a New Generation. The ADE is encouraging all public school students to showcase creativity and enthusiasm for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and how the CCSS are enriching their education.

Submissions will be accepted from April 7 through May 7. Each school may submit one video.

The winning video will be announced on May 27, and the school submitting the winning entry will receive a technology prize package worth approximately $5,000.00.

Contest entry form, rules, promotional posters, and additional information can be found by visiting

Please direct all questions regarding the Arkansas’s Education for a New Generation video contest to Dr. Tracy Tucker at [email protected], or Anthony Owen at [email protected], or phone 501-682-7442.

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Career Fair Promoted on Channel 4

April 4, 2014

Channel 4′s Matt Mosler talks with ADE’s Misty Harp April 4 about the Educator Career Fair. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 5 at the Clear Channel Metroplex.

For more information, go to

Channel 4 #1 - Apr. 4, 2014

Dollarway Students Participated in the Nonviolence Youth Summit

April 3, 2014

Dollarway students were invited to participate in the Nonviolence Youth Summit sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Arkansas. The summit was held April 1-2 in Harrison.

The event allowed students from all over the state to work toward understanding and improving race relations.

Thirty-five students from Robert F. Morehead Middle School, along with Principal Yolanda Prim and several parent and staff chaperons, represented Dollarway at the event.

Dollarway also will participate in a “Stop the Violence” youth summit May 16, 2014, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin, will be the keynote speaker.

Teacher at eStem Named National Finalist

April 3, 2014

Dennis Pevey, a teacher at eStem Public Charter School in Little Rock, was named a national finalist in the Shell Science Lab Challenge.

The competition recognizes teachers in grades 6-12 for using innovative teaching in science labs. Pevey will receive a science lab makeover valued at $8,500 for the school.

For more information, go to

Gov. Beebe Honors 4 Schools in Searcy

April 3, 2014

Gov. Mike Beebe recognized four schools in the Searcy School District today. The schools were selected as high performing schools through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program, which recognizes the top 20 percent of schools based on academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates.

A total of 206 schools statewide were selected, with each receiving funding. Additional events will be held around the state.

Searcy #2 - April 3, 2014

Career Fair Promoted on Channel 11

April 3, 2014

Misty Harp provided information about the 2014 Educator Career Fair on Channel 11 this morning. Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree but want to pursue a teaching career can get information about nontraditional routes to licensure at the event. To learn more about the free fair, go to

Channel 11 #2

ADE to Host Educator Career Fair April 5

April 2, 2014

Current teachers and career changers interested in obtaining a license will have the opportunity to network and learn more about educational opportunities at an upcoming career fair sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Education.

ADE will host the 2014 Educator Career Fair from 9 a.m. to noon April 5 at the Clear Channel Metroplex, at 10800 Colonel Glenn Road in Little Rock.

The expo targets educators looking for new employment opportunities, teachers who want to return to the classroom, and individuals who are interested in becoming teachers. Those who do not have a teaching degree but have a bachelor’s degree will receive information about non-traditional routes to licensure.

“Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers available,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “Teachers not only shape the intellect of our next generation, by doing so, they help ensure a better tomorrow for all Arkansans.”

The event will give existing teachers the opportunity to learn about National Board Certification, how to add areas of licensure to their current Arkansas license, and steps to renew an expired Arkansas license. Those who do not have a teaching license will be able to learn about available financial assistance programs.

In addition, school district representatives will be on-hand to talk about teacher vacancies, and those who need background checks for licensure renewal can begin the process.

To learn more, go to To register for the free event, go to

206 Public Schools Honored With Reward Funds

April 2, 2014

Being a high performing school not only draws recognition and honor, it also can result in additional funding for educational programs.

In the 2013-2014 school year, 206 public schools were recognized as high performing schools through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program. The program recognizes the top 20 percent of schools based on academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates.

To help honor the schools that received funding, Gov. Mike Beebe will participate in a kick-off recognition event at 10:30 a.m. April 3 in the cafeteria at Southwest Middle School, 1000 W. Beebe Capps Expressway, in Searcy.

Four of the six schools in the Searcy School District were identified as top 20 percent schools, with two of those in the top 10 percent. The four received a total of $165,722.27 and will be recognized at the event.

“Academic achievement and growth not only mean students are getting a quality education, they resulted in additional funds for high performing schools,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “The funds will allow schools to provide additional resources and tools to help students become ready for college and careers.”

Act 1429 of 2013 revised the program, and Act 703 of 2013 appropriated funding. A total of $7 million from the governor’s allocation of the General Improvement Fund was designated for the program this school year. The Legislature supported Beebe’s recommendation to fund the program with $7 million from General Revenue in school year 2014-2015.

Schools in the top 20 percent this year received $45.35 per student. Schools that were in the top 10 percent received $90.70 per student.

Schools receiving recognition funds established a committee to determine the best use of the funds. The committee included the principal, a teacher elected by the faculty, and a parent representative selected by the local Parent Teacher Association or another parental involvement group.

Schools can use the funds for faculty and staff bonuses, educational equipment and materials, or personnel to assist with improving or maintaining student performance.

Additional recognition events will be planned on the local level. For a complete list of schools and amounts they received, go to