Big Changes Bring Opportunity in Arkansas

March 20, 2024

Big Changes Bring  Opportunity in Arkansas

With the passage of the LEARNS Act, Arkansas made historic changes to K-12 education, including new requirements for third-grade literacy and increased teacher compensation. NIET is supporting district leaders to respond to these changes and opportunities through executive coaching that builds on the support they receive from the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA).

NIET’s support provides superintendents with two additional years of coaching that build on the initial year of coaching provided to new superintendents by AAEA. This year, the Arkansas Department of Education selected NIET and our teacher leadership training as an approved pathway for Arkansas teachers to earn the Lead Professional Educator Designation. Arkansas’s Professional Educator Designations provide career opportunities and financial incentives to teachers while also building instructional leadership capacity.

NIET’s training and support for teachers seeking the Lead Professional Educator Designation empower participants to grow as teacher leaders, leverage instructional expertise, make data-driven decisions, and foster collaborative partnerships. Teachers attend and engage in four core teacher leadership-focused trainings and receive on-site support from an NIET specialist. Earning the Lead Professional Educator Designation prepares teachers to lead and support their colleagues from the classroom through training and on-site coaching that builds instructional expertise. 

Supporting rural communities 

Schools in rural communities face many challenges in retaining effective teachers, including the need for educators to serve multiple roles, lower teacher salaries, and fewer resources to address the needs of their students. NIET’s partnership with AAEA and the Walton Family Foundation supports students and teachers in rural parts of the state through the Arkansas Rural Educator Network (AREN). AREN builds instructional leadership and strengthens the implementation of high-quality curricula in rural schools. The network provides an opportunity for educators in rural districts across the state to collaborate and develop communities of practice while receiving expert coaching from NIET. Twenty-three school districts in Arkansas — all of which are located in rural and remote parts of the state — are served by this partnership.

About the 2023 NIET Annual Report

The 2023 NIET Annual Report highlights key milestones and achievements over the past year as we have supported partners around the country in building the capacity of educators and unleashing the power of teacher leadership. Read about NIET’s partnerships across the country and how these partnerships are leading to significant impacts on student achievement in the full report here.