Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 13, 2009) ¾ The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has received $720,000 for disbursement as part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Education to improve P-16 education partnerships. ADHE will establish policies for distribution of the funds to higher education institutions which will partner with local education agencies to improve subject matter competence and instructional skills of prospective and current Arkansas elementary and secondary school teachers.

ADHE will also oversee the grant and serve as an advocate for professional development and training of teachers in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, foreign languages and the arts.

“The goal of this state grant program is to raise student achievement in core academic subjects through improved teaching,” said Dr. Jim Purcell, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. “ Elementary and secondary partnerships are crucial to higher education, as it is imperative that more Arkansas students be prepared for college, as well as complete their degrees. Higher-level mathematics skills are of interest to the Board as is improving science content, which is of utmost importance to economic growth in Arkansas.”

Designed to increase the number of highly qualified teachers, particularly in mathematics and science, the projects strengthen content and instructional skills and integrate the use of technology for teachers’ instructional practices to raise student achievement.

The grant program focuses on districts and schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families, especially those in rural areas, or that have many non-licensed teachers. Funding for the projects is provided under Title II, Part A of the omnibus federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. For over 20 years, the Coordinating Board has conducted grant competitions and supported initiatives to improve curriculum knowledge and instructional competence for Arkansas teachers.

Dr. Purcell issued requests for proposals in September to presidents and chancellors of all public and independent colleges and universities that have approved teacher preparation programs to fund sub-grant projects in the area of teacher professional development.