Meet the Speaker: Edmond

Meet the Speaker: Edmond Davis

Meet the Speaker: Edmond

Edmond Davis is a 21st century assistant professor, research director and public speaker. Davis advocates for quality education, cultural competence and improved social & emotional IQ for adolescents and young adults (AYA), in particular Black males. Davis changed the dynamics of civil responsibility with law enforcement officers, and social emotional concerns with Black males with the ‘RESPOND-I-BILITY’ resource.

In 2003, Davis earned his Bachelor of Arts in History at Grambling State University (GSU). In 2003, Davis graduated with a Master of Arts in History from Louisiana Technical University (Cum Laude). For nearly 20 years, Davis has taught history and other social sciences courses at Arkansas Baptist College (ABC), University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas at Pulaski Tech and the University of Phoenix.

Davis is a public and motivational speaker on topics ranging from social justice, Black fratricides, the Tuskegee Airmen, women’s history, law enforcement history and more. Some of his writing have appeared in various media publications nationally.

In a civilian capacity, and with research presentations, Davis has supplemented the minds of military cadets via the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army.

As a speaker Davis has reached thousands from state events and at universities, colleges and high schools. He has been featured on Victory Radio 100.9 FM, KABF FM Radio 88.3, Joy net Radio LIBRADIO Network KLEK-LP Currently, Davis is featured on ‘THE FISH’ Christian Radio 93.3.

In 2007-2013, Davis served as the national vice-chairman of the History Committee for Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship Incorporated. In 2007, Davis became a historical contributor to the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. In 2009, Edmond was appointed Humanities Scholar for the Arkansas Black History Quiz Bowl. In 2014, Davis was selected as an honorary vice-commander of the 314TH Airlift Wing at the Little Rock Air Force Base.

In 2014, Davis and his wife Monica started Aviate Through Knowledge Incorporated’ (ATK, Inc.), a 501 c 3 tax-exempt nonprofit educational entity. ATK is responsible for the ‘Night of Prolific Leaders’ Series that honors community investors locally & nationally.

In 2015, Davis became a facilitator to the Arkansas Education Association (AEA) Professional Development Days. In 2016, Davis was voted as the vice-chair of the Arkansas Baptist College Faculty Senate. Davis authored “Pioneering African American Aviators Featuring the Tuskegee Airmen of Arkansas in 2012, and co-edited “The White Golden Bull” by Chet Grimsley in 2009. In 2018, Davis wrote the foreword to “A Better Me: Taking the Mask Off” by Dr. Shonda Brown-Woods and authored “21st Century African American History Makers: A Millennial Look 2000-2022,” which is slated to be released in late 2022.

In 2019, Davis played a role on the NBC Primetime TV miniseries “Bluff City Law” as a Shelby County Courthouse Deputy. (Click here for a clip.) In 2020, Davis became the director of the Derek Olivier Research Institute (DORI) for the Prevention of Gun Violence. In March 2021, Davis became host/producer of the newest HBCU radio show in the U.S. named “Keeping it Real with DORI” on ABC’s Buffalo Radio every Thursday at 6 p.m. (Click here.) This one-hour radio program is America’s first weekly internet radio broadcast designed to address Black male homicides as the basis for the show as the number 1 killer of Black males ages 1 to 44.

Davis enjoys spending time with his wife, Monica, and serving as deacon at Bountiful Blessings World Fellowship (BBWF) in Little Rock. They have one son named Kalon, who is a graduate of Arkansas Baptist College.

Click here to learn about the Succeed Scholarship!


Meet the Speaker: John

Meet the Speaker: John Kaminar

Meet the Speaker: John

MEET THE SPEAKER: John I. “Don” Kaminar is Arkansas’s compact commissioner for the Military Interstate Children’s Commission and chair of the Arkansas State Council. A member of the commission’s executive, he has previously chaired the rules committee and the training committee. At the 2018 Annual Business Meeting, he was elected to a one-year term as the commission’s national chair. HE was re-elected to two additional terms in 2019 and 2020.

Kaminar served as a teacher and administrator in Arkansas schools for 15 years before joining the Arkansas Department of Education as a curriculum specialist. In his current role as military and veterans’ liaison, he assists with resolving education issues for military families and veterans. He also oversees the department’s emergency preparedness program.

Kaminar began his military service in 1983 upon graduation from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign languages and a commission as a second lieutenant of infantry in the Regular Army. After achieving qualification as a paratrooper and Ranger, he served an initial assignment in Germany, followed by six years with the 101st Airborne Division. He left the Regular Army in 1993 to become an educator, but continued to serve for the next 20 years in the Army Reserve. His reserve assignments included units in North Little Rock, Arkadelphia and Oklahoma City. He last served as state emergency preparedness liaison officer for Arkansas before retiring from the Army in 2013 with the rank of colonel.

During his 30 years in uniform, Kaminar has served with the international peacekeeping mission on the Egyptian-Israeli border and in combat in the Persian Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan. He has commanded units at company, battalion and brigade levels and had served on the general staffs of the 90th Regional Readiness Command, the 95th Division and the 101st Airborne Division. He holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Arkansas Exceptional Service Medal, as well as awards from Denmark, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and NATO.

The son, son-in-law and father of combat veterans, Kaminar resides in Maumelle with his wife, Toni.

Click here to learn about the Succeed Scholarship!


Meet the Speaker: Terri

Meet the Speaker: Terri Williams

Meet the Speaker: Terri

MEET THE SPEAKER: Terri Williams serves as the Child and Youth Education Services (CYES) School Liaison Program Manager with the 19th Force Support Squadron (19FSS) at Little Rock Air Force Base. She has served at the base since 2002 in the Child and Youth Programs supporting the military families as well as the surrounding community. Having personal experience understanding the military lifestyle, Williams has firsthand knowledge as she was a raised a military child turning military spouse and a mom, raising two very resilient military children while balancing the challenges each role brings.

Understanding the unique needs of the military child led Williams to earn her degree in Early Childhood Education focusing on providing care to military families and community support. After leaving active duty and arriving back in the Little Rock area, she embarked upon her career position with the LRAFB. Williams began serving the families by working with Child and Youth Programs within the Family Childcare office, the Child Development Center, and then the Youth Program, prior to her current position. Serving, educating and becoming a resource to military families has been her passion. In her current position, she fosters that passion by ensuring parents and scholars arrive at their new duty station with a smooth transition into their school district and their time here at Little Rock.

Williams has been focused on promoting partnerships within the base, local communities and families. Her work includes educating families on their resources, working with fostering the communities on military partnerships as well as the base on striving to provide the absolute best for families. While accomplishing these goals, Williams serves as the point of contact for numerous community and base events, along with organizations such as Operation Homefront. She has also been selected to serve on the Arkansas State Council of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. She also serves as resiliency instructor and a suicide/sexual assault prevention instructor for the base population. Williams also serves as an advisor for the Patient Family Partnership Council for the Medical Group at the base clinic. Due to her commitment to families, she has been selected as 19 FSS Civilian of the Quarter in 2013, 19 FSS Civilian of the Year in 2013 and Air Force A1 Civilian Program Manager of the Year – Installation Level in 2018.

Along with enjoying being back home and being close to her family, Williams enjoys her time outdoors either kayaking, spending time with grandkids at a park or just enjoying the beauty of Arkansas.

Click here to learn about the Succeed Scholarship!


67 legislators (almost half)

67 legislators are making the grade!

During the 2021 Arkansas legislative session, several bills focused on improving educational opportunities for students and increasing compensation for teachers. We graded legislators on how they voted on education-related legislation and are excited to announce that 67 legislators are making the grade!

See the grades in the document below!

 

TRA_LegislativeReportCard_10_29_2021Draft

Students with dyslexia learn

Students with dyslexia learn to dream bigger

As a first grader, Faith dreamed of growing up to be a babysitter. She loved caring for other kids and knew she would want to be around them as an adult. Now, as a fifth grader, Faith dreams of growing up to be a teacher. She still loves caring for kids, but now she has a more defined mission: helping kids learn how to read.

Faith and her two brothers all have dyslexia. So, even before she started school herself, Faith saw the struggle that Billy, who is a year older than she is, went through learning to read.

Students with dyslexia learning
At his private school, Billy is surrounded by students like himself. They do not bully or tease him for being different.

Billy had been in pre-K for two years before he started school, so Rebecca, his mom, was surprised when his kindergarten teacher reported that he was behind the other students and couldn’t keep up with them. The teacher believed it was due to ADHD, but the Conway Psychological Assessment Center said while he had some characteristics of ADHD, the main problem looked like possible dyslexia.

CPAC referred him back to the district school for dyslexia screening. The district told the family that they did not have anyone to do a dyslexia screening at the school, leaving the parents at a loss for what to do next.

“I was new to this and didn’t know what was going on,” Rebecca said. “My husband and I knew something had to give. He was so behind in reading and writing, and everything we were doing at home was not helping him.”

Rebecca connected with the Arkansas Dyslexia Support Group, which helped her find someone able to do the screening. The result made it evident that Billy is severely dyslexic and has a speech language delay.

The family was relieved that they found some answers, but it still took them from October to May to get him set up with an intervention at the school. He started intervention using the Phonics First reading program during the last two weeks of kindergarten.

They continued with the same intervention through second grade, but he was still not making any progress. By the time he was going into third grade, he was still reading at an early kindergarten level.

Billy’s parents knew something different needed to be done, but they did not agree that the schools’ push to identify him as mentally disabled or put him in a self-contained classroom was the answer. Dyslexia advocate Audie Alumbaugh helped get the correct IQ test for students with dyslexia, and Billy tested in the average-to-above-average area, ruling out the mental disability.

On top of his academic struggles, bullies targeted Billy due to his differences, going so far as to kick out some of his teeth.

Students with dyslexia learn
Now, Faith dreams of becoming a teacher so she can help kids learn to read!

By this time, Faith had also started school. Rebecca was quick to point out that she showed the same signs of speech delay and dyslexia that her brother had, but there was still a delay in getting her intervention. By the end of first grade, the school was recommending that she be held back.

Unsurprisingly, both Billy and Faith hated school. Rebecca said getting them up every morning and making them go to school was a struggle. She continued searching for help and found the Succeed Scholarship, a program that provides funding for students with learning disabilities to attend private schools.

They applied for the scholarship, and while they waited to hear if they would get it, they went through the admissions process at the Hannah School, which specializes in teaching students with dyslexia.

The process included a shadow day, where students would spend a half day on campus to see if it would be an appropriate fit. On the next day, Billy and Faith popped up out of bed on time for once and were ready to go in record time.

When the car pulled up in front of their normal district school, Billy burst into tears and refused to get out of the car. They had both thought they were going to the new school.

“They knew everyone there was like them,” Rebecca said. “Everyone there had the same issues. No one there would be picking on them or making fun of them for the way they talked. … Just knowing that they were other people out there that didn’t know to read helped.”

Billy and Faith had seen what life could be like in a learning environment dedicated to helping students just like themselves, so finishing the last four weeks at their district school was tough. Thankfully, they both received Succeed Scholarships, and were able to transfer to the new school the following year.

Now, Billy is in sixth grade and Faith is in fifth grade, and Rebecca said both are making tremendous progress with the DuBard Association Method and the Wilson Reading System that are used at the school to help students overcome dyslexia.

On the KTEA, the private school’s version of benchmark testing, Billy is testing on the same level and even above other students his age in some areas. Neither of them could read Bob Books, simple books with three-letter words and patterns, by the time they started at the private school, but now they are reading chapter books with improved fluency and comprehension.

Faith loves school and reading, especially the “Babysitters Club” and “Dork Diaries” books.

Students with dyslexia learning
Grace has learned that having dyslexia is not a disability – it’s a different ability.

Like Faith, Gracie, another Succeed Scholarship student, has dreams of becoming a teacher, but a few years ago, that would never have seemed to be possible.

Gracie’s mom, Jullie, first noticed some signs of dyslexia, like Gracie not picking up on rhyming, during pre-K. Everyone told her it was just due to age, and it would correct itself over time. Gracie struggled in some areas in kindergarten, but it was again attributed to her age. The district school said the gap would close in time.

It didn’t. In first grade, Gracie started regressing, and the harder she tried — and failed — the lower her self-confidence dropped. Eventually, she shut down.

“Gracie left first grade a broken child, made to feel she should know how to do this work but could not,” Jullie said. “She was not getting the help she needed. We call this ‘the nightmare year.’”

The struggles continued into second and third grade, with Alumbaugh helping the family get the appropriate screening. Alumbaugh also helped the family win due process, which is like a courtroom trial between a family and school over a child’s educational rights. This win resulted in changes being made to the reading curriculum at the district school.

“The first four years of Gracie’s schooling were met with hesitation, frustration, defeat, delays and the feeling of helplessness not only for Gracie but for me as well,” Jullie said. “To watch my child being destroyed by a system that says, ‘No child left behind’ was gut wrenching. I will never ever regret fighting for my child’s right to a free appropriate public education. It is not only my child who wins, but every child with dyslexia disabilities who wins. With the correct teaching, curriculum and guidance, disabilities can become abilities.”

By fourth grade, it was clear that Gracie needed a change of environment, and her parents moved her to the same private school that Billy and Faith attend.

“[This] has been the best thing we could have done for our daughter,” Jullie said. “Gracie has worked so hard this past year, and it shows. Gracie is reading, gaining confidence, loves going to school, and her self-esteem is soaring. More importantly, Gracie is thriving.”

The Reform Alliance (TRA), the education nonprofit that administers the Succeed Scholarship on behalf of the state, has heard many stories of students like these getting left behind due to learning differences like dyslexia.

“We would love for all district schools to be equipped and able to help students overcome dyslexia, but sometimes students need a different learning environment or techniques that may not be available in their assigned district,” TRA Managing Director Emmy Henley said.

“That’s why the Succeed Scholarship is so important. It gives students the opportunity to dream bigger and achieve a greater future than anyone originally thought was possible.”

Resources for more info!

  • The Succeed Scholarship is program that provides funding for K-12 students with learning disabilities to attend private schools. It is also available for students in foster care and those from military families. For more information, click here.

  • Would you like to read more stories about students overcoming learning differences? Check out our Faces of Freedom posts!


Education conference will be held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1

Education conference will be held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 20, 2021) – The Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA), Bright Futures USA, The Reform Alliance (TRA) and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) are hosting an education conference at City Center in Little Rock on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Teachers, administrators, counselors and other education professionals are invited to register at https://sftl.me/conference/ for the Student Focused Teacher Led conference. Registration costs $100.

Education conference will be held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1Keynote speakers include author and educator Ruby Payne, former Razorback basketball player and coach Sidney Moncrief, education expert Tammy Pawlowski and podcaster Kevin Hunt. Molly Hudgens, school counselor and Congressional Medal of Honor Citizens Honor recipient; Chelsey Moore, coordinator of engagement at DESE; Scott Poland, co-director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University, and CJ Huff, co-founder of Bright Futures USA, will lead breakout sessions.

“The conference will equip educators to address some of the most pressing topics in education today, like social emotional learning, violence prevention and overcoming poverty barriers,” TRA Managing Director Emmy Henley said. “We believe every educator will leave with a clear picture of what it really means to be student focused.”

ABOUT BRIGHT FUTURES USA: Bright Futures USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communities together to focus on the success of children. This grassroots movement uses the Bright Futures framework to engage businesses, human service agencies, faith-based organizations, and parent groups within communities to meet the needs of children so every child can be successful, now and in the future.

ABOUT THE ARKANSAS STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: As a state chapter of the Association of American Educators (AAE), the Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA) is a statewide non-union, professional educators’ organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation and educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.

ABOUT THE REFORM ALLIANCE: The Reform Alliance (TRA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring every K-12 student in Arkansas has equal access to a world-class education. The Reform Alliance is proud to manage the Succeed Scholarship at no cost to the State of Arkansas. Even small expenses like the cost of mailing checks to schools are paid for by a private foundation grant. Free educational resources and more information about The Reform Alliance are available at thereformalliance.org.

ABOUT THE DIVISION OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION: The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is a division of the Arkansas Department of Education which provides leadership, support and service to schools, districts and communities so every student graduates prepared for college, career, and community engagement.


LISA Academy introduces hybrid

LISA Academy introduces hybrid education option

LISA Academy Arkansas Hybrid School is more than just virtual learning. Students can also meet in person every other week for enrichment activities and interventions, and they can play sports and join various clubs from robotics and creative writing to community service and more.

It’s also more than just a temporary pandemic precaution. The faculty and staff are trained and prepared to meet both educational and social emotional needs year-round, with flexible schedules and both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

It’s also more than just another free public school option for families.

It’s an opportunity.

LISA Academy introduces hybrid
Tennille Winston teaches kindergarten and first grade at the hybrid school.

For the kindergarteners in Tennille Winston’s class, it’s an opportunity to grow and develop both academically and socially from the comfort and safety of their homes. This virtual environment can make it easier for shy students to learn how to interact with others.

Winston said she had already seen this in her class within the first two weeks of instruction when a student’s grandparents had contacted her excited about the progress she had seen in her once-shy granddaughter.

“I have seen her blossom, and she is talking more,” Winston said. “You would think that because it is a hybrid platform, you wouldn’t get to see those developments. It has been amazing to see her learn how to use her voice and be more assertive.”

For some, it’s an opportunity for families and communities to be more involved with education. Sherrill Williams, who teaches science for sixth, seventh and eighth grades, said she has seen a huge increase in the level of community and parental involvement in comparison with her prior experience in a traditional public school.

“Now, I see what engagement can look like,” Williams said. “Now, I am getting the training on how to be more diverse, how to collaborate more, how to have that advocacy for my scholars, their parents and my teammates.”

For some, the flexibility of the hybrid school is also an opportunity for students to learn to take responsibility for their education. Both Williams and Lauren Dotson, who teaches high school English classes, said students have been enthusiastic about interacting in live classes and regret having to miss class, but are grateful that they can easily catch up by watching the recorded sessions.

“Pretty much all the students I have talked with during goal-setting sessions mentioned they consider themselves college bound,” Dotson said. “Because this teaches responsibility, independence and prioritizing their time, all these kids are sort of ahead of the curve when it comes to looking toward college.”

The LISA Academy team created the hybrid school as a solution for families who appreciate the flexibility of virtual learning, but don’t want to give up the opportunities for social interaction.

Most of the digital curriculum is through Florida Virtual School, but some pieces that are unique to Arkansas are supplemented through Lincoln Learning Solutions and Virtual Arkansas. A dedicated team of LISA Academy Arkansas Hybrid School teachers lead live classes, as well as small group sessions and one-on-one meetings.

The teachers and administrators work from the learning center in Little Rock, which promotes more transparency than with working from home and encourages teamwork, according to Principal Aydogan Altun.

“This system is new, first time, and it’s new for me, as well,” Atun said. “As a principal, I’m helping staff members where I can, but in the meantime, they help each other a lot. They learn from each other.”

LISA Academy introduces hybrid
Sherrill Williams, science teacher, shows a classroom where students will meet for in-person enrichment.

The learning center building previously housed LISA Academy West Middle School, but it has been renovated and dedicated to the hybrid school. In addition to the teachers’ area, it includes classrooms and meeting rooms where central Arkansas students will meet for enrichment. (This in-person component is available this year, but it is not mandatory at this point due to concerns about COVID-19.)

Another learning center, located on the LISA Academy Springdale campus, is available for hybrid school students in northwest Arkansas. Over the next six years, the hybrid school hopes to open learning centers for more students throughout the state, according to Dr. Fatih Bogrek, the superintendent.

“We cannot open a school everywhere in Arkansas, but we can go to each part of the state and open learning centers in libraries, schools, churches,” he said. “We can have in-person education in Fort Smith, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, Jonesboro. In that way, we can recruit students from every part of the state.”

As of the end of August, about 120 students had enrolled in the hybrid school, and each student was given a 15” Chromebook preloaded with apps, like a PDF editor. The school is also providing Wi-Fi hot spots for students struggling with connectivity and is currently in the process of purchasing writing pads for all the students.

Before the end of the first quarter, the learning center in Little Rock will also house a STEM Maker Space that will be open to students from the hybrid school, other LISA Academy schools and even other area public schools (by appointment). The Maker Space is equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, green screens, computers, a tool cart and other items for students to build projects, practice coding and do STEM activities.

Williams and Dotson said they are looking forward to the completion of the Maker Space and are excited about the wonderful opportunities available to students in the new hybrid school.

“I really like this model because it is thought-forward,” Williams said. “What we really are thinking about is that next generation — how do we keep our kids competitive in the future? I just see that in this model.”

The hybrid school was just approved in March for a total capacity of 1,050 students, so space is available for more students to enroll. More information is available at https://lisahybrid.lisaacademy.org/ or by phone at (501) 451-4200.

Families who are looking for additional education options can also contact The Reform Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every Arkansas student gets a world-class education, at https://thereformalliance.org/ or by calling (501) 244-9028.

The Reform Alliance (TRA) can help families explore different learning environments to find an option that would best meet their needs. Some of the options include traditional public schools, public charter schools (like LISA Academy Arkansas Hybrid School), private schools, microschools/learning pods and homeschooling.

“Every child learns differently, and it’s important to find the environment that is best suited for each child,” said Emmy Henley, TRA’s managing director. “We are excited about the LISA Academy Arkansas Hybrid School because it opens up more opportunities for Arkansas families.”


The Reform Alliance (TRA) commended

The Reform Alliance applauds court decision reversing school choice transfer exemptions

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Aug. 26 2021) – The Reform Alliance (TRA) commended the decision from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that makes school choice transfers possible in four south Arkansas Districts that were previously exempted.

It opens the door for families in the Hope, Camden Fairview, Lafayette County and Junction City school districts to be able to choose a different school district, subject to school capacity and to the 3% percent limit on the number of students who may transfer out of a district in a given year.

“Finding the right school environment can mean a world of difference to a student,” TRA’s Managing Director Emmy Henley said. “We are glad that more Arkansas families will have the freedom to choose the educational environment that best meets their needs without it being limited by their income or zip code.”

The case is United States of America v. Junction City School District, No. 19-1340, and the opinion is available here. More information is available here.

ABOUT THE REFORM ALLIANCE: The Reform Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring every K-12 student in Arkansas has equal access to a world-class education. The Reform Alliance is proud to manage the Succeed Scholarship at no cost to the State of Arkansas. Even small expenses like the cost of mailing checks to schools are paid for by a private foundation grant. Free educational resources and more information about The Reform Alliance are available at thereformalliance.org.

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Succeed Scholarship Parents: More than 95% of parents are satisfied with the academic progress.

2021 Succeed Scholarship Parent Survey

Succeed Scholarship Program

Annual Parent Survey 2020-2021

Parents have POWER! At The Reform Alliance, we recognize this, so we value parent feedback. Annually, we survey all parents who have children participating in the Succeed Scholarship Program.

100% of parents believe the Succeed Scholarship Program should continue to be available.

The annual parent survey is an important tool used to measure the success of this program.  In fact, parent satisfaction with the Succeed Scholarship is incredibly high.  In 2021, 100% of parents responded that the SSP should continue to be available to future students.


98.5% of parents are satisfied with the academic progress of their students!

Parent satisfaction with academic progress made by their students through the Succeed Scholarship is incredibly high.  In 2021, 98.5% of parents  said they were “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with the academic progress of their students at the private school funded through the Succeed Scholarship.

In comparison, 18.6% of parents said they were “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with the academic progress of their students while they were in public school.


Parents are seeing improvement ...

98.4% of parents said they “strongly agree” or “agree” they have seen an improvement in their child’s social development since they started attending a private school using the Succeed Scholarship.

96.8% of parents said they “strongly agree” or “agree” that they have seen improvement in their children’s grades since they started attending a private school using the Succeed Scholarship.


Parents: SSP schools are better at addressing learning disability

When considering how the school addressed their child’s disability, 98.8% of parents were “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with how their SSP school addressed their child’s disability compared to only 19.1% who felt like the child’s disability was properly addressed at their designated public school.


Most parents on the program choose SSP to find a school that specializes in their children's learning disabilities.

Parents reported a wide variety of reasons for choosing to participate in the Succeed Scholarship program, but the most widely reported reasoning was they were looking for a school that specializes in learning disabilities.

Want to know more?

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Student Focused Teacher Led

Student Focused Teacher Led conference will be held in Little Rock Sept. 30 and Oct. 1

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 19, 2021) – The Student Focused Teacher Led conference in Little Rock Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 will feature some of the nation’s leading educators and researchers.

The opening keynote speaker, Ruby Payne, educator and author best known for the book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” will speak about “Emotional Poverty in All Demographics.” Payne holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies.

In other sessions, NBA legend Sidney Moncrief, will about “Taking Ownership of Creating a Better World,” and education expert Tammy Pawlowski, who holds a doctorate in Early Childhood Education, will talk about “Myths and Misconceptions: Why Poverty Matters and Why Schools and Teachers Can Matter More.”

“We want to empower educators with research-based practices and industry-proven resources,” said Arkansas State Teachers Association Executive Director Michele Linch, who holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. “Then, they can take these tools back to their classrooms and lead at their schools.”

The Arkansas State Teachers Association, Bright Futures USA, The Reform Alliance and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education are hosting the conference.

Early registration until August 31 comes with a discounted rate of $50, a complimentary Student Focused Teacher Led T-shirt and a copy of Payne’s book “”Emotional Poverty in All Demographics: How to Reduce Anger, Anxiety and Violence in the Classroom.” Beginning Sept. 1, registration will cost $100. Registration is available at https://sftl.me/conference/.

“Over the past couple decades, the paradigm in education has shifted toward making sure instruction, relationships and classroom interactions are all centered around what is best for students,” said Emmy Henley, managing director of The Reform Alliance. “We invite all educators to attend the conference to learn more about what it means to be student focused like this.”

ABOUT BRIGHT FUTURES USA: Bright Futures USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communities together to focus on the success of children. This grassroots movement uses the Bright Futures framework to engage businesses, human service agencies, faith-based organizations, and parent groups within communities to meet the needs of children so every child can be successful, now and in the future.

ABOUT THE ARKANSAS STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: As a state chapter of the Association of American Educators (AAE), the Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA) is a statewide non-union, professional educators’ organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation and educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.

ABOUT THE REFORM ALLIANCE: The Reform Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring every K-12 student in Arkansas has equal access to a world-class education. The Reform Alliance is proud to manage the Succeed Scholarship at no cost to the State of Arkansas. Even small expenses like the cost of mailing checks to schools are paid for by a private foundation grant. Free educational resources and more information about The Reform Alliance are available at thereformalliance.org.

ABOUT THE DIVISION OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION: The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is a division of the Arkansas Department of Education which provides leadership, support and service to schools, districts and communities so every student graduates prepared for college, career, and community engagement.