Last week, The Reform Alliance, a nonprofit focused on improving education in Arkansas, connected with students, schools and parents across the state in celebration of National School Choice Week.

Board Chair Laurie Lee, Communications Director DeAnn Thomas, Managing Director Emmy Henley and Education Policy Advisor Shane Fletcher handed out meals and NSCW swag bags.

The Reform Alliance shared “Miss Virginia,” a film about a single mother’s fight to get her son a quality education, during a Netflix Watch Party on Tuesday, Jan. 26. A drive-in movie showing of the film had to be canceled due to weather conditions, but the nonprofit handed out swag bags and free meals in a drive-through style event at MP Outdoor Cinema in Little Rock on Saturday, Jan. 30. The drive-in movie showing is being rescheduled.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, The Reform Alliance hosted a Virtual Town Hall with education experts Cara Candal, Corey DeAngelis, Sarah McKenzie, Cheri Stevenson and Jherrithan Dukes. The event streamed live on Facebook, and the video has received 1,316 views and reached 2,884 people.

The nonprofit also partnered with the Arkansas State Teachers Association to host an essay competition for students. Holland Sweeney from Bridge to Hope Academy won the $500 prize for education-related expenses for students in grades 4-6. Nathan Woollen from Barton Junior High won the $500 prize for students in grades 7-9. Marybeth Arnold from Southside High School won the $500 prize for students in grades 10-12.

In addition, The Reform Alliance awarded a $500 prize to Taraji Kiyumbi from the House of Opportunity microschool and a $500 prize to teachers at Compass Academy for participating in the #SchoolChoiceWeek Dance Challenge.

During the week, staff members also brought National School Choice Week swag bags to students at eStem Junior High, eStem Elementary, Lisa Elementary, The Grace School, Prism Education Center, Compass Academy, Friendship Aspire Academy in Pine Bluff, Hannah School and Arkansas Christian Academy.

“We loved shining a spotlight on the education options available for K-12 students in Arkansas,” Managing Director Emmy Henley said. “We encourage everyone to continue to work together to ensure that every student has equal access to a quality education.”