Photo: Cross County School District, Arkansas

  • The Arkansas Rural Educator Network (AREN) supports educators across the state with opportunities for professional learning and collaboration.
  • Cross County School District received a five year $4M federal Teacher and School Leader Incentive (TSL) program grant to improve classroom instruction. They have used this grant to build an innovative grow your own program to address the need for well-trained new teachers.

Increasing support for educators and students via The Arkansas Rural Educator Network

NIET partners with the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA) and the Walton Family Foundation to enhance support for students and teachers in rural parts of the state through the Arkansas Rural Educator Network (AREN). AREN was established to build instructional leadership, strengthen virtual instruction, and advance implementation of high-quality curriculum in rural schools during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The network of rural districts provides an opportunity for educators from across the state to collaborate and develop communities of practice, while receiving expert coaching from NIET. Altogether, 25 school districts in Arkansas – all of whom are located in rural and remote parts of the state – are now being served by this partnership as it enters its second year.

District innovation supported by NIET

Cross County School District received a federal Teacher and School Leader Incentive (TSL) program grant, enabling school and district leaders to create systems that support ongoing, continuous improvement for teachers. In partnership with NIET, the district aligned student achievement goals, teacher professional learning, principal leadership development, and educator evaluation. As a result of these connections, schools increased teacher and school leader effectiveness, in addition to student learning.