March 2017 Key Points Script

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Hi, I’m Johnny Key. Thank you for joining me for the March edition of Key Points.

R.I.S.E. Arkansas – Commissioner Johnny Key & Donna Ziller

This month, I am extremely excited to talk about the R.I.S.E. Arkansas statewide reading initiative that was launched in late January. R.I.S.E. stands for Reading Initiative for Student Excellence. As you know, reading is essential to success in school, college and career, and our data show that we have a lot of work to do to help all students read on grade level.

With this campaign, we are building a culture of reading around the state, educating parents about the importance of reading and increasing access to books in the home. We also will increase the depth of knowledge for teachers in the areas of phonics and phonological awareness. This includes focusing on the science of reading, or how a student learns. I

In order for this initiative to be successful, it will take commitment and dedication from all of our partners. Here to tell you how you can get involved is Donna Ziller, an ADE special advisor.

Thanks, Commissioner Key. We are excited to announce that 700 educators are registered to attend ADE’s Second Annual Reading Conference: A Focus on Dyslexia and the Science of Reading in Hot Springs. The free conference will be held March 6th and 7th at the Hot Springs Convention Center. While registration is closed, we are working with AETN to live stream some of the sessions. Stay tuned, as we’ll provide more information on our website and social media.

In an effort to build a culture of reading, I want to encourage everyone to record a book talk, or short video that features you talking about your favorite book. Book talks should be less than two minutes and really highlight the main theme of the book and why the viewer should read it. We encourage you to post them to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #RISEArkansas. Learn more about book talks on our website. Finally, I would like you to visit our website to learn more about R.I.S.E. Arkansas. We have posted numerous resources for educators and parents. Please share these resources and help us build a culture of reading in Arkansas.

Now to tell you about the Arkansas Declaration of Learning application process is Cassandra Barnett, ADE’s library media specialist.

Declaration of Learning – Cassandra Barnett

The ADE is currently accepting applications for year three of the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program. Arkansas was selected in early 2015 as a pilot state for this national program. So far, 54 Arkansas teachers and school librarians have had the opportunity to work with historical artifacts and art in order to develop lessons that lead our students to connect these objects with civic engagement.

The program is a partnership with the ADE, the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Reception Rooms, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. Selected educators who teach grades seven through 12 social studies, English language arts and fine arts, as well as school librarians, will create and test a dynamic lesson using historic objects and art from the program’s partners. The lessons are designed to engage students in active learning and projects that teach the importance of stewardship and civic responsibilities.

In addition to creating and teaching the lesson, teachers and school librarians will receive three days of training in June at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Participants’ travel expenses will be covered through a stipend. Those selected must be willing to share their work with other educators throughout the country.

The application process opened Feb. 17 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 27, 2017. Applications can be found on ADE’s website. Here to provide an update on ADE’s Teach Again campaign is Ivy Pfeffer, assistant commissioner for the Office for Professional Educators.

Teach Again -I vy Pfeffer

We are excited to report that approximately 400 people have applied for teaching licenses through the Teach Again campaign. Through the campaign, ADE is offering a quicker route to license renewal for those who have left the profession. While the current rules require 60 hours of professional development, the ADE is waiving that requirement and allowing qualified individuals to complete 36 hours if they do so by March 31, 2017. Free online professional development is available through Arkansas IDEAS.

The campaign will conclude at the end of this month, but it’s not too late for you to take advantage of this opportunity. Learn how on our Teach Again page on our website.

Now to provide an update on the Every Student Succeeds Act is our State Board Member Ouida Newton.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)- Ouida Newton

As a member of the State Board of Education, I am excited about the development of an accountability system that best measures student success here in Arkansas. Input from all stakeholders is essential to developing the best plan for our state. Ongoing collaboration continues. Advisory Teams have been formed to work on specific sections of the plan. These teams are comprised of administrators, teachers, State Board members, business leaders, student advocates, and members of the Vision for Excellence in Education and Arkansas Accountability System Committee, of which I am a member as well.

Draft sections of the plan will be posted on the ADE website in April. ADE will notify stakeholders when drafts are available so feedback can be provided. A draft of the entire plan will be posted online in May. That draft will be available for 30 days, so ADE can collect additional feedback. Final submission of the plan to the U.S. Department of Education will occur in September this year, with the new accountability system becoming effective at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

We still have work to do and value your input. To learn how you can let your voice be heard, visit the ESSA webpage on the ADE website. Now to tell you about an outstanding Springdale student is Commissioner Key.

Student Spotlight – Commissioner Johnny Key

Thanks, Ouida. Finally, I would like to spotlight Mr. Sojas Wagle, a sophomore at Springdale Har-Ber High School. Last year Mr. Wagle finished third in the National Geographic Bee, where he received a $10,000 scholarship. He wasn’t finished, there, though. This past summer Mr. Wagle was invited to be a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and won $250,000. Because he believes in giving back to his community, Mr. Wagle donated $10,000 from his winnings to the Springdale School District and made donations to other organizations as well.

I congratulate this young man on his outstanding accomplishments. He is truly a great example for other students, and I know we’ll be seeing more great things from him in the future.

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