Harding University College of Education Awarded More Than 800K to Help Support Arkansas Special Education and National Board Certified Educators

The Harding University College of Education was awarded two grants totaling over $800,000 to support training special education teachers in Arkansas and educators working to complete their national board certification. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to receive, not just these two grants, but each one we have been awarded over the years,” said Clara Carroll, associate dean and professor of education. “It gives Harding such great credibility and respect but it also helps so many educators in this state and supports the teaching capacity in Arkansas. Through the University’s participation in these grants we get to spread Harding’s mission, living our lives as Christ wants us to. It is a true privilege and allows us to do what God has called us to do and that is to serve others and to help others be the best they can be, not only in the eyes of Christ but also their professional world.”

The first grant awarded to the College of Education supports Arkansas educators, in collaboration with the Special Education Resources Teacher Academy, to address critical shortages in special education. The grant will allow licensed public school educators in grades K-12 the opportunity to earn an additional Special Education Resource endorsement and participate in job-embedded professional development while receiving graduate school credit hours — at no cost to them. Educators who have earned the endorsement will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to provide students who have a variety of diverse learning needs, with and without disabilities, the support necessary to meet grade-level expectations. One hundred Arkansas teachers are participating in this grant-funded program and are scheduled to complete the program in May 2022. Harding is one of three universities in the state of Arkansas participating in this grant. 

The second grant awarded helps prepare currently licensed Arkansas teachers to pursue and achieve National Board Certification obtained through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The grant specifically targets Arkansas educators in areas where 5% or fewer national board certified teachers are employed in the public schools by Educational Service Cooperative. Harding is the only university to have received the 2-year grant allowing 45 teachers to begin working toward their certification in September. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity these grants provide our college to support the teachers of Arkansas,” said Dr. Donny Lee, dean of the college. “Our aim is always to provide effective teachers in every classroom in the state, and I believe these grants will only contribute to that aim. I appreciate the work of Dr. Carroll and others in the college to make these programs successful.” 

Of the more than 3,000 national board certified teachers in Arkansas, one-third of those have gone through Harding’s program and are achieving at a higher rate than both national and state averages. Since 2002, the College of Education  has received more than two million dollars in grants to support national board certification and mentoring novice teachers and teacher leadership initiatives. 

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy, Arkansas. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it is the largest private university in the state. Harding’s student body represents students from across the U.S. and more than 50 nations and territories. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors; more than 15 preprofessional programs; more than 40 graduate and professional programs; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australasia, Peru, England, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit harding.edu.