May 2017 Key Points Script

This video is available at

Innovation Video – Commissioner Key

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

This month, I would like to highlight our latest Innovation in Arkansas Education video that features Malvern High School. Malvern is changing the culture of education by embracing healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to offering healthy meal options, educators are increasing student achievement by incorporating physical activity into classes. Through this hands-on learning, Malvern has adopted a student-focused learning system and is helping transform Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education.

To learn more about Malvern’s innovative practices, check out the Innovation video on our website. You also can watch previous Innovation videos that highlight schools’ best practices.

Financial Literacy – Commissioner Key

Did you know that many adult money habits are set by the age of seven? A recent study by Cambridge University revealed this finding in a study entitled “Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children.” The study revealed that by age seven most children have grasped the ability to recognize the value of money, understand that money can be exchanged for goods and what it means to earn money. It is important for adults to not underestimate the effects their own money habits will have on children.

In Arkansas, we are working to help young learners develop strong foundations in economics and personal finance. We know that informed decision-making is a critical thinking skill that students can use throughout their school, personal and work lives. To assist, the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has created a curriculum called Kiddynomics. This five-lesson curriculum guide uses popular children’s literature to introduce key economic and personal finance concepts and address kindergarten readiness skills. Economics Arkansas is using this curriculum, as well as hands-on resources, to make the topic come to life in the pre-K environment.

To learn more, check with your local co-op for a summer offering called Itty Bitty Economics, or contact Economics Arkansas for more details.

Teacher of the Year Applications – Commissioner Key

I want to remind you that we are accepting applications for the 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. To apply, teachers must first be selected as their districts’ teacher of the year. The selection panel will review the applications and then select 16 regional finalists, one from each education service cooperative and one representing Pulaski County. The deadline to apply for Arkansas Teacher of the Year is June 30. To learn more, visit our Teacher of the Year webpage. Now to provide an update on R.I.S.E. Arkansas is Donna Ziller, an ADE special advisor.

R.I.S.E. Arkansas – Donna Ziller

I am really excited about the positive feedback that we’ve received about R.I.S.E. Arkansas reading initiative! Through the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence campaign, we are working with partners to build a culture of reading in Arkansas – a culture educators around the state have embraced. Three educators in particular are Ms. Melody Morgan from Norphlet Middle School in the Smackover-Norphlet School District, Ms. Cynthia Hodges from S.C. Tucker Elementary School in the Danville School District and Ms. Claire Eness from Frank Tillery Elementary School in the Rogers School District. Each is a winner of the R.I.S.E. Arkansas social media contest. Schools across Arkansas posted photos on social media showing how they were celebrating Read Across America Day, and Ms. Morgan, Ms. Hodges and Ms. Eness were selected for their engaging social media posts. As winners, each won $150 worth of books for their school. I encourage you to share how you are promoting a culture of reading in Arkansas. Post your photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #RISEArkansas.

Our role at the department also is to ensure that Arkansas teachers have access to quality professional development. Educators must have an understanding of the science of reading and an in-depth understanding of phonics and phonemic awareness to support beginning readers. Intermediate level teachers also need this knowledge to provide support to struggling readers and help independent readers decode multi-syllabic words and have a basis for understanding the English language. So far, more than 80 literacy specialists have received this type of training. This summer, these specialists will facilitate training through the R.I.S.E. Academy. Our goal is that approximately 1,000 educators from kindergarten through second grade will receive this very important training. ADE specialists, higher education representatives, and state and district literacy specialists will provide regional support networks for each cohort group throughout this year. Here with the student spotlight is Commissioner Key.

Student Spotlight – Commissioner Key

This month, I would like to spotlight two outstanding students who were selected as United States Senate Youth Program delegates from Arkansas. Each year 104 students from around the country are selected to participate. Christian Parker, a senior at Fort Smith Southside High School, and Shreya Majagi , a senior at Rogers High School, were selected to represent Arkansas. In addition to each receiving a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundations, they both received an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. for an “insiders” view of the nation’s capital. They had the opportunity to meet with the president, cabinet members, other elected officials and a Supreme Court Justice. While in Washington, both Mr. Parker and Ms. Majagi were selected as the two keynote speakers at the delegates’ formal farewell dinner. This is a huge honor, as Arkansas is the first state to have both delegates selected as keynote speaker.

Congratulations to Ms. Majagi and Mr. Parker!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *