SREB and Arkansas


SREB and Arkansas

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

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

Readiness in New State Accountability Systems

SREB’s Benchmarking team distilled key elements of SREB’s states’ accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act into interactive profiles at


In January 2018 SREB published a set of reports on the redesign of state accountability systems. Profiles on each state describe how the state established expectations for increasing college and career readiness and also include the state’s long-term goals, school performance indicators, framework for differentiating school performance, and system of identification and support for struggling schools. 

Arkansas’s profile notes the state’s effort to raise expectations for college and career readiness through its school performance indicators.


SREB staff presented information on state efforts to redesign state accountability systems at SREB’s Annual Meeting in June 2017 and at the Legislative Advisory Council Meeting in November 2017. Eighteen stakeholders from Arkansas attended. >

Career and Technical Education 

State Leaders Forum 

Annual meeting for teams of legislators, policymakers, state board members, secondary and postsecondary education leaders, and workforce development agency representatives. Attendees explore policies and practices that help more young adults graduate prepare for postsecondary credentials and degrees and good jobs.

Arkansas attendees at SREB’s State Leaders Forum in December 2018: 10

A representative from the Arkansas Department of Career Education spoke at the forum.>

    Educator Effectiveness

    Advises state and district leaders as they develop strategies to support the professional growth of teachers and principals.

    Technical Assistance

    From 2015-2018, SREB supported the development and implementation of Arkansas’ educator effectiveness strategy by funding the Arkansas Quest training for principals and an online professional learning platform for teachers and leaders to demonstrate their instructional effectiveness.

    SREB staff met with state department staff in Little Rock in October 2018 to advise them on the development of the state’s educator evaluation system. SREB conducted focus groups with district administrators, principals and teachers.

    SREB produced a report in December 2018 for state department staff that shares site visit and focus group findings, as well as recommendations for improving the implementation of the state’s educator effectiveness strategy.

    Staff responded to a legislative request about tiered licensure in October 2018.


    The state department sent representatives to SREB’s Sixth Annual Educator Effectiveness Convening in April 2018. They participated in collaborative working sessions with peers from 12 SREB states. State department staff met to discuss shared problems of practice in four areas: equitable access to effective teaching, leadership development, professional learning, and teacher voice.

    reports and data

    SREB produced the following resources for Arkansas leaders over the past year:

    Improving Educator Feedback and Support: Lessons from Eight States, February 2019, which shares a summary of technical assistance provided to half of the SREB states from 2015-2018.

    School Is My Happy Place, May 2018, which showcases the innovative strategies used to develop a positive school culture at an elementary school in central Florida.

    Mentoring New Teachers: A Fresh Look, January 2018, which proposes three action areas for states, districts and schools to support the development of novice educators and their mentors. >

    Teacher Preparation

    SREB’s Teacher Preparation Commission met during 2016, 2017 and  2018 and published its final report and recommendations in late 2018.

    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 the Commission’s report, policymakers can draw on updated regional and individual state affordability profiles to understand how costs impact families at different income levels.

    Arkansas’ College Affordability Profile 2018 reports that, on average, families needed 26 percent of family income was needed in 2015-16 to cover educational costs for a full-time student at the state’s public four-year comprehensive or regional universities and 17 percent at public two-year colleges.

    SREB convened state higher education agency executive officers in December 2018 to explore how SREB can best serve postsecondary agencies, discuss issues facing the states and solicit comments on our draft strategic plan. The executive director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education participated.

    interstate Passport 

    A framework to accelerate and streamline transfer of lower-division courses among institutions in different states. 

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

    SREB featured the Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship during an October 2018 meeting of legislative and governors’ office staff and assisted Arkansas state leaders who requested information on postsecondary issues such as need-based financial aid programs.

    State Services

    Connects policymakers to 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, including the President, visited Arkansas to meet with legislators and staff in 2018.

    Throughout 2018-19, legislators, legislative staff and governor’s staff from Arkansas requested assistance on topics including SREB compact membership fees.


    Staff from 8 SREB states attended the 2018 meeting of legislative and governors’ staff to discuss topics that will likely be on agendas during upcoming legislative sessions.

    Arkansas legislators were among those in attendance at the 2018 meetings of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council and Legislative Work Conference. >


    Curriculum and School Improvement

    Advanced Career

    Nine pathways that combine college-ready academics with hands-on, project-based assignments that spark students’ learning and interest in STEM careers. Each four-course AC pathway prepares students for advanced industry credentials and two- and four-year postsecondary credentials and degrees.

    Arkansas schools delivering AC curricula during 2018-19:

    • Innovations in Science and Technology: 1 school
    • Integrated Production Technologies: 1 school
    • Teachers trained to date: 2>

    Making Schools Work

    A school improvement process developed by SREB that engages K-12 educators and school leaders in identifying and studying problems of practice, implementing research-based solutions to those problems, and learning within a collaborative network of schools. Schools adopt Making Schools Work through designs for middle grades schools, high schools and technology centers.

    Arkansas is a member of the Making Schools Work network.

    Advisory Council Member: Charisse Childers, state CTE director, Arkansas Department of Career Education

    State Coordinator: Tim Johnston, CTE coordinator to the deputy director at Arkansas Career Education

    Schools, districts and states contract with SREB to implement Making Schools Work and receive targeted school improvement services such as professional development, instructional coaching and technical assistance.

    Eight Arkansas districts contracted with SREB for direct services in 2018-19.

    SREB will deliver nine days of on-site coaching and six days of on-site professional development in these districts.

    Five Arkansas technology centers contracted with SREB for direct services in 2018-19.>

    Readiness Courses

    Ready for High School Courses

    Courses that help eighth- and ninth-graders master the literacy and math skills they need to complete a college-ready academic core and pursue challenging career pathway programs in high school. Ready for High School Literacy and Ready for High School Math can be offered in the eighth or ninth grades.

    Number of Arkansas teachers who attended Ready for High School trainings in 2018-19:
    Ready for High School Math: 2

    Ready for College Courses

    Courses that help juniors and seniors master literacy and math skills before they transition from high school to postsecondary education and the workplace. In Literacy Ready, seniors develop and defend ideas from texts in diverse subject areas and write about those texts at a college level. Math Ready develops critical thinking and math reasoning skills and engages seniors in applying math to solve real-world problems.

    Number of Arkansas teachers who attended Ready for College trainings in 2018-19:
    Literacy Ready: 34
    Math Ready: 39

    Readiness Course Awards

    President’s Readiness Trailblazer
    Stacy Smith, Arkansas Department of Education

    Stacy Smith, assistant commissioner of learning services at the Arkansas Department of Education, won the President’s Readiness Trailblazer Award in July 2018.>


    Professional Development
    For Teachers, Principals and Counselors

    Making Schools Work Conference

    Annual conference, formerly known as the High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference, for K-12 teachers, counselors, principals, technology center directors and state and district education agency personnel.

    Arkansas attendees at the July 2018 conference: 27>

    College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference

    Conference that focuses on literacy and mathematics tools and strategies. Teams of educators and school leaders explore disciplinary literacy strategies and formative assessment lessons that engage students in math.

    Arkansas attendees at the July 2018 conference: 4>

    Learning-Centered Leadership Program

    Leadership preparation program that develops current or aspiring principals’ capacity to serve as effective instructional leaders who understand how to use data to locate and close gaps.

    Arkansas attendees at the 2018 Annual Leadership Forum: 2 >

    National Technology Centers That Work Leaders Forum

    Forum for state and local career and technical education leaders to discuss the role of full- and shared-time technology centers. Teams of center and school leaders, teachers and education and industry partners build action plans.

    Arkansas attendees at the 2019 National TCTW Leaders Forum: 1


    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 academic year 2019-20, 2,198 degree programs were available, 166 institutions participated, and 2,261 residents were certified for study through the Academic Common Market.

    For academic year 2019-20, 91 Arkansas residents were certified to attend degree programs at out-of-state institutions through the Academic Common Market.

    ACM State Representative: Alana Boles, Program Director of Private Career and Out-of-State Education, 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. Approximately 600 students participate each year.

    Participating Arkansas residents in 2019-20: 185

    Arkansas RCP Coordinator: Josue Ramirez, Program Specialist, Arkansas Division of Higher Education >

    State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement 

    A nationwide system to offer more high-quality distance education programs for students and ease the regulatory burden on institutions. SREB member states may opt in to offer distance education activities in other SARA states. By participating, colleges and universities in the SREB region save almost $30 million annually.

    Arkansas is an approved member of SARA.

    Colleges and universities in Arkansas saved $2.6 million for initial authorization and save $767,000 annually on renewals, according to estimates in a return-on-investment study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

    Arkansas SARA representative: Alana Boles, Program Director of Private, Career and Out-of-State Education, Arkansas Department of Higher Education >

    Fact Book and Data Exchange

    Fact Book

    The SREB Fact Book on Higher Education is a compilation of comparative data on topics including demographics; college enrollment, retention, progression and graduation; tuition and fees; student financial aid; state support for postsecondary education; and faculty salaries. The Fact Book is published bi-annually, but the data are updated annually and made available on the SREB website.​

    Arkansas leaders receive the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education and Arkansas: Featured Facts from the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education.

    SREB-State Data Exchange

    An annual collection of postsecondary education data that are submitted by representatives (i.e., Data Exchange coordinators) of postsecondary education system offices. The data collected include degrees conferred, student retention and progression, time to degree, student credit hours taken by high school students and by college students in courses using distance education technology, state funding for postsecondary education, and tuition and fees.

    SREB State Data Exchange tables are posted on the SREB website.

    Arkansas’s Participating Agency and SREB-State Data Exchange Coordinator: Beth Stewart, 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.

    As of November 2018, six Arkansas institutions are members, listed here with their representatives to the Council:

    Arkansas State University: Susan Hanrahan, Dean
    Arkansas Tech University: Rebecca Burris, Chair
    Harding University: Susan Kehl, Dean
    University of Arkansas, Fayetteville: Susan Kane Patton, Director
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Patricia Cowan, Dean
    University of Central Arkansas: Susan Gatto, Director >

    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 (DSP) hosts the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the nation’s largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars, with more than 1,100 attendees. The data below reflect Ph.D. Scholars who are funded by the state or by individual institutions.​

    Arkansas scholars since 1993:106
    Arkansas scholars funded in 2018-19: 7
    2018 Institute attendees from Arkansas: 29
    Graduates since 1993: 70
    Graduates currently employed: 61
    Percent employed in education: 72

    Arkansas Ph.D. students in the DSP have attended these institutions since 1993:

    University of Arkansas
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    Arkansas State University
    University of Mississippi
    Jackson State University
    University of Arkansas at Little Rock
    University of Central Arkansas
    Mississippi State University
    Oklahoma State University
    Southern Illinois University Carbondale
    Texas Christian University
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    University of Arizona
    University of Georgia
    University of Iowa
    University of Kentucky
    University of Maryland-Baltimore County
    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 >


    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 on 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 2018 ETC annual meeting on teaching and technology, Evan Patrick and Alana Boles. Arkansas ETC representatives helped determine SREB’s 10 Critical Issues in Educational Technology and served on the working groups for revisions. Evan Patrick is a member of the ETC executive committee. 

    Arkansas ETC Representatives and Member Agencies: 

    Evan Patrick, Digital Learning Support Specialist, Southeast Arkansas Educational Service Cooperative

    Jessie Walker, Senior Associate Director, Academic Affairs, Arkansas Department of Higher Education >

    Technology Purchasing Savings

    Schools, universities and agencies in SREB states saved $8.3 million on over $83 million in technology purchases during the fiscal year 2018 — more than double the FY2017 savings — through SREB’s participation in MHECtech discount agreements. Organizations in each of the 16 SREB states participated.

    Arkansas saved $518,041 on $5,237,972 in technology purchases in the fiscal year 2018. >