The Cannon-Clary College of Education is partnering with Forward Arkansas to help equip educators in Arkansas’ kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms to transform learning for every student.
The University was one of eight higher education institutions in the state selected to receive a $100,000 planning grant as part of the Forward Arkansas’ Educator Preparation Program Design Collaborative. Selections were made during the fall semester after a competitive statewide process that looked for institutions with a strong commitment to increasing teacher diversity and creating a legacy of fundamental transformation.
“We see the Forward Arkansas Design Collaborative as a support system to transform us from our vision to a new reality for preparing and supporting highly qualified teachers in every classroom in Arkansas schools,” said Dr. Donny Lee, dean of the college. “This collaborative provides the ‘critical friend’ to walk alongside us as we work together to consider how and what to meaningfully change to move forward to make our vision a reality. We recognize we need help to do this, and this collaboration provides what we believe to be just the right help. The initial year-long planning phase is the perfect opportunity for us to unpack data, look ‘under the hood’ to see what is really going on, consider options to improve what we do and how we do it, and to move beyond where we are right now.”
In addition to the grant, the University will receive design and technical assistance from Forward Arkansas and its partners to develop transformation plans that are in line with the Arkansas Department of Education standards for educator preparation. In the future the University will have the opportunity to pursue additional multi-year funding to help implement their plans.
“As we have navigated the processes in this grant since last fall, we are learning more about ourselves, strengthening partnerships with local school districts and building a more robust model of teacher preparation that will prepare our students to make a real difference in the lives of those they teach in the coming years,” said Lee. “We have the opportunity to change the lives of children and their families, and this grant has provided even more capacity to do this.”