SREB and Arkansas

Overview

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.

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Policy

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.

SREB.org/Insights >

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.

SREB profiles summarize each state’s progress on the recommendations through fall 2016.

SREB.org/Readiness >

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.

PUBLICATIONS

In May 2017, SREB published Benchmarking State Implementation of College- and Career-Readiness Standards: Alignment of Instructional Materials, a regional report that describes implementation across the states, highlights strong state efforts and recommends actions for improvement — plus profiles that describe each state’s efforts in detail, highlight notable actions and offer recommendations for moving forward.

The report notes Arkansas’s strong efforts in using data to continuously improve state efforts.

Meetings 

Project staff presented information on state efforts to align instructional materials, and state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act at SREB’s annual Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in September 2017. A stakeholder from Arkansas attended.

SREB.org/Benchmarking >

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

    SREB.org/CTE >

    Educator Effectiveness

    Advising 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, conducts needs assessments and focus groups to help states plan and 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 implementation of a statewide educator effectiveness strategy. The strategy expands leadership coaching to 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 state department in December 2016 to support this strategy.

    SREB conducted an educator focus group in Arkansas in May 2017.

    In the last 12 months, SREB’s educator effectiveness team provided technical assistance, brokered expertise and policy and practice resources to Arkansas state legislators and their staff, state education agency staff, district administrators, principals and teachers.

    convenings

    A state team from Arkansas attended the SREB Teacher Evaluation meeting, Improving Educator Effectiveness: Lessons Learned, in November 2017. State teams included multiple stakeholders: state agency leaders, teacher association representatives, district superintendents, principals and classroom teachers.

    Department staff attended a regional community of practice meeting following the multi-stakeholder meeting.

    SREB staff presented information to attendees of the SREB Meeting of Legislative and Governors’ Staff in September 2017.

    The Arkansas Department of Education sent representatives to SREB’s fifth annual educator effectiveness convening in March 2017. They participated in working sessions with peers from nine other SREB states.

    Staff presented information on teacher preparation and teacher recruitment strategies at SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council winter meeting in December 2016.

    reports and data

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

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

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

    Student Surveys, A Fresh Look,  May 2017, covering practical implications for state, district and school leaders seeking to use emerging student survey tools.

    Information Request Series, beginning January 2017, with responses to  stakeholders questions. Topics covered include educator evaluation, teacher certification, and principal recruitment and retention incentives.

    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.

    SREB.org/EE >

    Teacher Preparation

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

    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 February 2017. In March, Whitten and Roebuck 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

    Affordability 

    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.

    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 2017.

    Throughout 2016-17, legislators, legislative staff and governors’ staff from Arkansas requested assistance on topics including open education resources, education data, education tax credits, computer science instruction and college completion.

    Meetings 

    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. Arkansas staff were among those from 10 SREB states at the 2017 meeting.

    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. Arkansas legislators were among those in attendance at the 2017 conference.

    SREB.org/StateServices >

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    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: 1
    Awards

    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.

    SREB.org/HSTW >

    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

    SREB.org/MMGW >​

    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. 

    Awards

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

    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, has 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.

    SREB.org/Ready >

    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 196 sites in 18 states.

    Active centers in Arkansas in 2016-7: 9

    SREB.org/TCTW >

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

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    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

    SREB.org/NetworkingConference >

    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: 2

    SREB.org/SummerConference >

    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 2017 annual Leadership Forum: 1

    SREB.org/LCLP >

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    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: 101

    ACM State Representative: Alana Boles, Program Director of Private Career and Out-of-State Education, Arkansas Department of Higher Education

    SREB.org/ACM >​

    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

    SREB.org/RCP >

    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,Program Director of Private Career and Out-of-State Education, Arkansas Department of Higher Education

    SREB.org/SARA >

    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

    SREB.org/FactBook >

    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

    SREB.org/Nursing >

    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

    SREB.org/DoctoralScholars >

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    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 one attendee to the 2017 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.

    Arkansas participated in the ETC Intrastate Networking Visit in March 2017, hosted at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Participants from the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Department of Higher Education, University of Central Arkansas, University of Arkansas System eVersity, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University System, Virtual Arkansas, University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas Tech University, AREON and Team Digital discussed how to improve collaboration across education systems in Arkansas to gain efficiency and K-20 alignment.

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

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

    SREB.org/EdTech >

    Technology Purchasing Savings

    Schools, universities and agencies in SREB states saved $3.3 million on over $33 million in technology purchases during 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 fiscal year 2017.

    SREB.org/CostSaving >