ForwARd Arkansas moves forward with education research plans

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 456 views 

The Little Rock School District needs to form a school-community partnership model, and four students from the Clinton School of Public Service will aid in that effort.

The Arkansas State Board of Education, the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation have created, ForwARd Arkansas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to create partnerships of education, business, government and community leaders committed to improving public education in Arkansas.

ForwARd Arkansas announced Wednesday (Aug. 23) that students from the Clinton School class will conduct best-practices research on successful school-community partnership models from around the U.S. to help craft a structure for Little Rock schools to engage partners, and create long-term plans.

The project will focus on middle schools in the Little Rock School District – Cloverdale, Dunbar, Forest Heights STEM, Henderson, Mabelvale, Mann Magnet, Pinnacle View and Pulaski Heights – and what community partnerships will help them improve student achievement.

“We know that community partnerships are crucial to enriching students both academically and emotionally, and we are honored that the Clinton School chose us as one of its Practicum projects this year,” Susan Harriman, executive director of ForwARd Arkansas said. “Aligning our Practicum team’s work to assist the Little Rock School District seemed like a natural extension of our mission and a great way for us to support our local middle schools.”

Connor Donovan of Little Rock (University of Arkansas at Little Rock); Kirby Richardson of Rogers (University of Central Arkansas); Katie Barnes of Atchison, Kansas (MidAmerica Nazarene University); and Rachel Cole of Bloomington, Indiana (Smith College) are the students conducting the research. The project will culminate with a set of formalized school-community partnership recommendations in spring 2018.

“Community partnerships have been demonstrated time and time again as the backbone of a successful school district, and I’m looking forward to the recommendations developed by this year’s Practicum team for our middle schools to implement next school year,” Michael Poore, superintendent of the Little Rock School District said. “It’s my hope that this project results in a district plan that enriches our middle schools with the community support they need to improve, succeed and to impact their students with real and relevant projects.”