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

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 take transitional courses in 12th grade. >

Benchmarking Implementation of College- and Career-Readiness Standards 

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

In September 2017, SREB staff presented information on state efforts to redesign state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act at SREB’s annual Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff. One stakeholder from Arkansas attended.

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. An introduction to trends across states offers recommendations for making the new systems effective tools for continuous improvement.

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 

Arkansas attendees at SREB’s State Leaders Forum on policies for high-quality career and technical education in November 2017: 5 >

    Educator Effectiveness

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

    Technical Assistance

    SREB supported the development and implementation of Arkansas’ educator effectiveness strategy by funding the Arkansas Quest Principal trainings 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 December 2017 and October 2018 to advise them on the development of the state’s educator evaluation system. In both cases, SREB conducted focus groups with district administrators, principals and teachers.

    SREB will produce a report in Fall 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.


    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.

    SREB staff presented on innovative ways to expand student access to high-quality instruction to state lawmakers who attended SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council Winter Meeting in November 2017.

    A state team from Arkansas attended SREB’s teacher evaluation meeting, Improving Educator Effectiveness: Lessons Learned, in November 2017. Multiple stakeholder groups attended, including state agency leaders, teacher association representatives, district superintendents, principals and classroom teachers.

    Department staff attended a regional meeting with their state agency peers from other SREB states in November 2017 following SREB’s teacher evaluation meeting. State department staff in charge of educator development issues met to discuss shared problems of practice in four areas: equitable access to effective teaching, leadership development, professional learning, and teacher voice.

    SREB staff presented on teacher shortages at the SREB Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in September 2017.

    reports and data

    SREB produced the following resources for Arkansas leaders during the last 12 months:

    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.

    Evaluator Training: A Guide for States, September 2017, which spotlights seven components associated with effective training for observers of teachers.

    Feedback on Teaching: A Fresh Look, July 2017, which features strategies for district and school leaders to establish and sustain better feedback practices.

    Information Request Series, shares SREB responses to stakeholder questions on topics including educator evaluation, teacher certification, and principal recruitment and retention issues.

    Educator Effectiveness Bill Tracker interactive tool, updated weekly to allow constituents to track legislative bills across eight areas, including teacher preparation, evaluation and professional learning.

    A bi-weekly educator effectiveness e-newsletter. >

    Teacher Preparation

    SREB’s Teacher Preparation Commission met during 2016, 2017 and  2018 and will will publish its final recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs in late 2018.

    To share the Commission’s work and solicit input, SREB Commission members Johnnie Roebuck, Donnie Whitten and Teresa Inman, and SREB Board member Joyce Elliott, met with Arkansas deans of education in Little Rock in 2017. Whitten and Roebuck also met with education faculty members at Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University.

    The Commission published its first report, More than the Numbers: Teacher Preparation Data Systems State Policy and Recommendations, in September 2017. 

    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, and on a Promising State Policies and Practices report featuring cost reduction strategies.

    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 assisted Arkansas state leaders who requested information on postsecondary issues such as placement cut scores.

    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 visited Arkansas to meet with legislators and staff, and attend committee meetings in 2018.


    Arkansas staff were among those from 10 SREB states at the 2017 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 2017 meetings of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council and Legislative Work Conference. >


    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 for 2017-18:

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

    Donald Westerman of Fountain Lake Charter High School in Hot Springs was honored in July 2017 with an Outstanding Advanced Career Administrator award.

    High Schools That Work

    The nation’s largest school improvement program. HSTW strategies transform high schools into places where all students master complex academic and technical concepts. More than 1,150 schools in 30 states use the framework, its six design features and nine key practices, to raise student achievement and graduation rates.

    Arkansas is a member of the High Schools That Work state network: 14 schools were active in 2016-17. >

    Making Middle Grades Work

    Engages state, district and school leaders in partnerships with teachers, students, parents and the community to raise student achievement in the middle grades. In addition to workshops and school visits, SREB links schools to professional development resources they need. The network includes over 650 schools in 20 states.

    Arkansas schools active in 2016-17: 6 >​

    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. They are taught in an engaging way that leads students to learn and think independently, read for information and solve problems.

    Over 50 teachers were trained in SREB’s Readiness Courses in 2017, and over 100 high schools have implemented Literacy Ready and Math Ready to date. Selected schools in Arkansas are piloting the Ready for High School courses in the 2017-18 school year.

    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 2017, Phil Wesson of Sheridan High School was honored with the Outstanding Math Ready Teacher award.

    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 10 states that have participated in developing, field testing, training or piloting Ready for High School Literacy or Ready for High School Math. Selected schools in the state are piloting the courses in the 2017-18 school year. >

    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 218 sites in 16 states.

    Active centers in Arkansas in 2017-18: 9

    TCTW consultants provided regional workshops on Simulated Workplace for CTE centers. In an effort to support workplace learning practices, the TCTW network hosted two overview sessions to support teachers and administrators as a means to provide rigorous, relevant work-based learning in CTE classrooms. >

    Counseling for College and Careers

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

    SREB is providing ongoing professional development and coaching to Fountain Lake School District and the Harrison School District in 2017-18.


    Professional Development
    For Teachers, Principals and Counselors

    College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference

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

    Arkansas attendees at the July 2017 conference: 3 >

    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 2017 conference: 78 >

    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 April 2018 annual Leadership Forum: 1 >

    National Technology Centers That Work Leaders Forum

    Annual Forum for state department of education leaders, directors, principals, teacher-leaders and counselors representing high schools and technology centers across the country.

    Arkansas attendees in 2018: 5


    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 2017, 2,130 degree programs were available, 152 institutions participated and 3,355 new students were certified for study.

    In 2017, 74 Arkansas students participated in Academic Common Market, saving, on average, $14,520 each and a collective total of $1,059,953.20 in tuition.

    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. More than 600 students participate each year.

    Participating students from Arkansas in 2017: 174 >

    State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement 

    A nationwide system to open more high-quality distance education offerings for students and ease the 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, Program Director of Private, Career and Out-of-State Education, 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 postsecondary education agencies. Data are updated annually on topics including population demographics, college completion, tuition and fees, cost of attendance, state appropriations and 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 tables.

    Arkansas’s Participating Agency and SREB-State Data Exchange Coordinator: Sonia Hazelwood, 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 April 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, Interim 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 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 2017-18: 25
    2017 Institute attendees from Arkansas: 16

    Scholars Arkansas has supported since joining in 1993: 103

    Graduates since 1993: 65
    Graduates currently employed: 57
    Percent employed in education: 72

    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 >


    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 one attendee to the 2018 ETC annual meeting on teaching and technology. 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 $3.3 million on over $33 million in technology purchases during the fiscal year 2017 — double the FY2016 savings — through SREB’s participation in MHECtech discount agreements. Organizations in each of the 16 SREB states participated.

    Arkansas saved $13,656 on $75,537 in technology purchases in the fiscal year 2017. >