SREB and Arkansas


SREB and Arkansas

An overview of SREB programs and services and how Arkansas participates in them.

November 2016

Appropriations from member states support core SREB services. SREB leverages the longstanding commitment of member states to attract external funding for additional programs and services that benefit member states. States may also choose to join targeted networks for additional fees.



Goals for Education | Monitoring State Policies

Monitoring and reporting to assist education leaders and policymakers as they shape public policy. SREB tracks trends and analyzes the progress of all 16 SREB states in each area in the Challenge to Lead 2020 Goals for Education and provides Legislative Reports that detail legislative and budget actions in each state.

SREB’s new Insights data tool allows leaders to explore actions across states, delve into a topic for a deeper understanding, or select a detailed state report. >

College and Career Readiness

Intensive work to help states implement essential components of SREB’s recommendations for statewide college and career readiness. These include assessing high school juniors to determine their progress toward the state’s readiness standards — and requiring those who are underprepared to transitional courses in 12th grade. >

Benchmarking Implementation of College- and Career-Readiness Standards 

Tracks and reports progress on implementation of college- and career-readiness standards and related reforms across 15 states. Based on this research, SREB staff support these states through reports, meetings and technical assistance.


In May 2016, SREB published Benchmarking State Implementation of College-and-Career-Readiness Standards: Professional Learning. Seventeen reports make up the set: a cross-state trends report that describes implementation across the states highlights strong state efforts and recommends actions for improvement in the SREB region; 15 state profiles, which each describe one state’s efforts in detail; and a Project Overview and Look-Fors document.

The reports note Arkansas’s strong efforts in establishing clear expectations for high-quality professional learning on state college- and career-readiness standards.


Project staff presented information and facilitated dialogue on implementation of state college- and career-readiness standards and related reforms at SREB’s annual Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in October 2016. A participant from Arkansas attended the meeting. >

Career and Technical Education 

State Leaders Forum 

Arkansas attendees at SREB’s State Leaders Forum on policies for high-quality career and technical education in November 2016: 4 >

    Computer Science

    The Commission on Computer Science and Information Technology’s 2016 report challenged states to expand access for all students to education in the fields of computer science, information technology and cybersecurity.

    Educator Effectiveness

    Advises state and district leaders as they develop strategies to support the professional growth of teachers and principals. SREB serves as technical advisor to state education agencies, conducts focus groups to help states evaluate implementation, spotlights inspiring stories of local practice and convenes stakeholders at regional meetings.

    Technical Assistance

    SREB partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education to support the implementation of a statewide educator effectiveness strategy. The strategy expands leadership coaching to more building administrators, creates opportunities for principals to learn with peers and calls for a professional learning platform for teachers and leaders to demonstrate their instructional effectiveness. SREB staff visited the department in June and December 2016 to support this strategy.

    In 2016, the SREB educator effectiveness team provided technical assistance, brokered expertise and provided policy and practice resources to Arkansas state legislators and their staff, state education agency staff, district administrators, principals and teachers.


    A state team from Arkansas attended the SREB Teacher Evaluation Meeting in May 2016. State teams included multiple stakeholders: state agency leaders, state teacher association representatives, district superintendents, principals and classroom teachers.

    A state team attended a follow-up, multi-stakeholder meeting, themed “Transforming Adult School Culture,” in November 2016.

    reports and data

    SREB produced several resources for Arkansas leaders in 2016, including:

    • State Actions to Advance Teacher Evaluation, with recommendations based on interviews, needs assessments in eight SREB states and focus groups in five SREB states
    • Effective Teaching Communities, based on a case study of three high-needs, high-performing schools in Delaware
    • Educator effectiveness bill tracker interactive tool, which tracks bills across eight areas and includes teacher preparation, evaluation and professional learning information
    • The bi-weekly educator effectiveness e-newsletter >

    Teacher Preparation

    SREB’s Teacher Preparation Commission meets during 2016, 2017 and 2018 to develop practical and effective statewide recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs. 

    Postsecondary Education

    SREB’s Commission on College Affordability in the South recommended policies and practices to keep college costs within reach of all students. In addition to a final report with recommendations released in October 2016, policymakers can draw on individual state affordability profiles to better understand how these costs impact different family income levels.

    State Services

    Connects policymakers with custom information, presentations and assistance on education issues as they arise. Leaders in member states are encouraged to contact SREB for data, analysis and advice.

    SREB staff visited Arkansas to meet with legislators and staff and attend committee meetings in 2016.

    Throughout 2015-16, legislators, legislative staff and governors’ staff from Arkansas requested assistance on topics, including higher education capital financing, special education services and vocational courses.


    SREB state services convenes legislative and governors’ staff from across the SREB region each fall to discuss topics that will likely be on agendas during upcoming legislative sessions. 

    SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council meets twice annually, once in the winter and again at the annual Legislative Work Conference. The conference is for legislators designated by their state leadership to attend. >


    Curriculum and School Improvement

    Advanced Career

    A new approach to career and technical education that combines college-readiness academics with hands-on, project-based assignments focused on modern careers. Advanced Career helps prepare students for as many options as possible after high school: a high-value job, college, community college or technical school. 

    Arkansas participation in AC programs, 2016-17:

    • Informatics: 1 school
    • Innovations in Science and Technology: 1 school
    • Integrated Production Technologies: 1 school
    • Teachers trained: 1 >

    Readiness Courses:
    Math Ready and Literacy Ready

    Courses specifically designed to help underprepared students succeed in the next phase of education. 

    Ready for college

    Courses to teach young adults the reading, writing and math skills they must have to succeed in college. Taught in an engaging way that leads students to learn and think independently, read for information and solve problems.

    In 2015-16, 45 Arkansas teachers from 38 schools participated in training for the courses.

    SREB compared ACT scores of about 550 students in Arkansas and Mississippi to their scores before they took the courses. At Little Rock Central High School, two-thirds of the 94 students with before- and after- ACT scores improved their math score; 61 percent improved their science score; and 69 percent improved their ACT composite score. The typical gains: two or more points in math, three or more points in science and two or more points on the composite. 


    In July 2016, SREB honored two Arkansas teachers with Outstanding Literacy Ready Teacher awards for their roles in helping Arkansas schools adopt Literacy Ready.

    • Jennifer Garner, Lakeside High School, played an integral role in the creation of Literacy Ready and its implementation across the nation, serving as a teacher, writer, mentor and master trainer.
    • Dana Smith, Fountain Lake Charter High School, as taught Literacy Ready since its pilot and served as trainer and mentor to help implement Literacy Ready in schools across the nation. 

    Arkansas was an early adopter of transitional courses thanks to state legislation. 

    Ready for high school

    New courses for the transition from middle grades to high school. Underprepared students take the classes in eighth or ninth grade.

    Arkansas is one of five states piloting Ready for High School Literacy and Ready for High School Math in the 2016-17 school year. Arkansas teachers also participated in developing, field testing and reviewing the new courses. >

    Technology Centers That Work

    Helps shared-time centers produce high-demand, high-wage graduates. SREB provides staff development, technical assistance, publications and assessment services. The network includes almost 200 sites in 18 states.

    Active centers in Arkansas in 2015-16: 8 >

    Counseling for Careers

    Awakens students to career goals and connects them to the high school and postsecondary programs of study to succeed in them. SREB offers workshops, materials and coaching for districts, schools and technology centers, which then involve teachers, counselors, administrators, parents and community partners.

    SREB conducted professional development sessions with 24 districts.


    Professional Development
    For Teachers, Principals and Counselors

    College- and Career-Readiness Networking Conference

    Conference to share effective instructional strategies of the Literacy and Mathematics Design Collaborative frameworks. 

    Arkansas attendees at the July 2016 conference: 14 >

    High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference

    Annual conference for thousands of school leaders, teachers and counselors from middle grades, high schools and technology centers across the country.

    Arkansas attendees at the July 2016 conference: 46 >

    Learning-Centered Leadership Program

    Works with district, state and university partners to prepare aspiring principals and school leadership teams to lead school reform to ensure that students are ready for college and careers. This program offers training, guidance and technical assistance.

    Arkansas attendees at the 2016 Annual Leadership Forum: 1 >

    Literacy and Math Professional Development

    In Arkansas, SREB is partnering with the state on a large-scale effort to help districts and schools adopt, spread and sustain effective literacy and math teaching strategies to meet their state’s college- and career-readiness standards.

    The Literacy Design Collaborative framework empowers language arts, science and social studies teachers to build meaningful assignments aligned to their state’s college- and career-readiness standards. Teachers take ownership of their professional growth, and students take ownership of their learning.  

    The Mathematics Design Collaborative teaching framework uses formative assessment lessons — part assessment, part instruction — to help teachers know whether their students understand material they have been taught. Teachers learn to adapt assignments and engage students so they understand the hows and whys of math.

    “FALs are quick, useful formative assessments and an excellent critique of student understanding.” — Jeanne Glover, math specialist at the Jonesboro Public Schools district

    Since the effort began in the 2015-16 school year, this SREB professional development has reached Arkansas educators in 13 schools in 10 districts.

    Arkansas teachers who have participated in training and coaching: 33

    Arkansas principals who have participated in training and coaching: 3

    “My students seemed confident in what they had learned, and one of them stood up and said, “Metacognition is thinking about your thinking. That is what we have been doing with adolescent brain research and Romeo and Juliet.” — Susan Haines, Fort Smith Public Schools, Arkansas >


    Postsecondary Education

    Academic Common Market

    A tuition-savings program for college students in SREB member states who want to pursue degrees not offered by in-state institutions. Students can enroll in out-of-state institutions that offer their degree program and pay the in-state tuition rates.

    During calendar year 2016, approximately 2,100 degree programs were available, 151 institutions participated and nearly 3,300 new students were certified for study.

    Number of Arkansas students who participated in ACM during 2016: 110

    ACM State Representative: Alana Boles, Program Specialist Academic Affairs, Arkansas Department of Higher Education >​

    Regional Contract Program

    Gives students the opportunity to earn a professional health degree from participating institutions in other states through in-state tuition rates at public institutions or reduced tuition at private institutions. More than 600 students participate each year.

    Participating students from Arkansas: 174 >

    Electronic Campus

    Partners with colleges and universities to give students access to more than 40,000 online courses and 4,100 online degree programs. All 16 SREB states participate in the Electronic Campus.​

    Programs Arkansas institutions provide as of April 2017: 143

    Arkansas EC Representative and Member Agency: Alana Boles, Program Specialist Academic Affairs, Arkansas Department of Higher Education >

    State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement 

    A nationwide system to open more high-quality distance education offerings for students and ease regulatory burden on institutions. SREB member states may opt in to offer distance education activities in other SARA states. 

    Arkansas is an approved member of SARA.

    Arkansas SARA representative: Alana Boles, Academic Affairs program Specialist, Arkansas Department of Higher Education >

    Fact Book and Data Exchange

    Publishes one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of comparative data through a cooperative effort of state higher education agencies. Data are updated annually on topics ranging from degree and certificate completion to faculty salaries. 

    Arkansas leaders receive the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education, as well as Arkansas: Featured Facts from the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education and the annual SREB-State Data Exchange Indicators Report.

    Arkansas’s Participating Agency and SREB-State Data Exchange Coordinator: Marla Strecker, Arkansas Department of Higher Education >

    Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing

    Helps expand and strengthen schools of nursing to reduce the critical shortage of nurse educators needed to educate the nation’s registered nurses. The Council surveys institutions for nursing education trends and shares online graduate nursing courses.

    Four Arkansas institutions are members (listed here with their representatives to the Council):

    Arkansas Tech University: Rebecca Burris, Chair
    Harding University: Susan Kehl, Dean
    University of Arkansas, Fayetteville: Julie Hoff, Director
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Patricia Cowan, Dean >

    Doctoral Scholars Program

    Supports minority students to help them earn Ph.D.s, begin careers at colleges and universities, and diversify campus faculties. The SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program hosts the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the nation’s largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars, with more than 1,200 attendees.

    Scholars funded by Arkansas in 2016-17: 23
    2016 Institute attendees from Arkansas: 20

    Scholars Arkansas has supported since joining in 1993: 99

    Graduates since 1993: 64
    Graduates currently employed: 57
    Percent employed in education: 74

    Arkansas-supported Ph.D. students have attended these institutions since 1993:

    Arkansas State University
    Jackson State University
    Mississippi State University
    Oklahoma State University
    Southern Illinois University Carbondale
    Texas Christian University
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    University of Arkansas
    University of Arkansas at Little Rock
    University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    University of Central Arkansas
    University of Georgia
    University of Iowa
    University of Kentucky
    University of Maryland-Baltimore County
    University of Mississippi
    University of Missouri-Kansas City
    University of New Mexico
    University of New Orleans
    University of Northern Colorado
    University of South Carolina
    University of Tennessee Health Science Center
    Vanderbilt University
    Wichita State University >

    Passport Project

    A new learning outcomes-based framework to accelerate and streamline transfer of student course credits among institutions in different states. SREB has joined other regional compacts in the Passport Project.

    Arkansas is one of three SREB states reviewing learning outcomes for the Passport framework.


    Interstate Cooperatives

    Educational Technology Cooperative

    Membership group of state K-12 and higher education coordinating and governing boards that represent more than 800 colleges and universities and 3,100 school districts in SREB states. The ETC focuses member agencies and state policymakers on using technology wisely, helps states understand technology issues, and forms an action agenda for effectively using technology in education. 

    Arkansas representatives attended the spring and summer webinars. Arkansas sent two attendees to the 2016 ETC annual meeting, with a theme of Access and Affordability. Arkansas ETC representatives helped determine SREB’s 10 Critical Issues in Educational Technology and served on the working groups for revisions. Marla Strecker of the Arkansas Department of Education served as team leader for the 10 Critical Issues’ data working group.

    Arkansas ETC Representatives and Member Agencies: Marla Strecker, Senior Associate Director for Research and Technology, Arkansas Department of Higher Education

    Cathi Swan, State Coordinator of Digital (Blended and Online) Learning, Arkansas Department of Education >

    Technology Purchasing Savings

    Schools, universities and agencies in SREB states saved $1.7 million on $17 million in technology purchases during fiscal year 2016 through SREB’s participation in MHECtech discount agreements. Organizations in each of the 16 SREB states participated.

    Arkansas saved $33,549 on $339,195 in technology purchases in fiscal year 2016. >